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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kuchma Propagandist Sniffs Out Tymoshenko’s Gas Stance

A source I trust insists that, at the opening of the talks in Moscow, Tymoshenko offered the Russians, to put it nicely, an extra-gas solution to the gas problem: Namely, the soft-pedalling — through her effort and through her forces in our parliament — of Ukraine’s entry into NATO, plus access to the management of the Ukrainian gas transit system, in exchange for Naftogaz’s access to Russian fields. The bottom line: Securing a low gas price from Russia throughout Tymoshenko’s premiership. My source insists that this bargaining position, while well anticipated by the Russians, was still quite a bit of surprise for them, and that after Tymoshenko entered into her position, Miller had a word with the Kremlin.

— Vyacheslav Pikhovshek, host of the Epicenter editorial program at Channel 1+1

Vyacheslav Pikhovshek has a reputation for being the mouthpiece of Kuchma — Big Brother style. A career that took a dive during the Orange Revolution seems to have bounced back

His low credibility notwithstanding, it’s interesting to hear him talk. In Ukraine, the public’s right to know cannot be served without reading between the lines and sifting through half-truths. In the eyes of the public, PM Tymoshenko comes across as hawkish on RosUkrEnergo and diametrically opposed to a dovish President Yushchenko. The question is: How much does the public really know?

Based on the best public information available, the general impression is that Tymoshenko’s voyage to Moscow did not result in any breakthroughs. Despite not being warmly received, she reportedly engaged Gazprom in six hours of talks that also included representatives of RosUkrEnergo and UkrGazEnergo.

It’s still unclear when and to what extent the current matryoshka system will be redesigned in favor of a more transparent one.

The system Ukraine has today — an octopus of cash and gas flows — hinders energy efficiency, destroys the public good, and operates as an incubator for overnight fortunes.

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hans said...

Hard to understand what Naftogaz would do with access to Russian gas fields, when there's not enough capital for them to invest in potential Ukrainian reserves... but would not be surprised if some sort of deals (or deals in principle) that aren't readily visible were felt out during the trip.

Reputation aside, that guy's voice, movements, and cadence make him seem much like a creepball.

Taras said...

Welcome to my blog, Hans!

I really don’t know. All I know is that talk of a fields-for-pipelines equity swap between Gazprom and Naftogaz has been around for years. However, proponents of this transaction in the Blue camp must have been disheartened by the fate of the Sakhalin Project. As for the Orange camp, no one has openly supported the idea.

Which brings us to the big question: How much, if any, of Pikhovshek’s muckraking is true?