His name is Dmytro Firtash, or Dmitry, as he calls himself in Russian. He holds a 45% stake in RosUkrEnergo, the controversial middleman company that has supplied Ukraine since 2006 but has no place in the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas deal.
He used to be the most publicity-shy oligarch in Ukraine. Until last Friday night.
It was then that he graced the airwaves on Inter’s “Svoboda,” apparently sensing RosUkrEnergo’s changing fortunes and yet exuding confidence and engaging in bossy behavior. (Interestingly, the show featured a "moment of truth" that somewhat confirmed rumors that Firtash controls Inter.)
At any rate, Firtash's debut on Ukrainian television made him the only oligarch to date to participate in a live talk show. Click here to watch the entire show.
Dmytro Firtash: The RosUkrEnergo Company is a normal company just like all other companies. It’s a company of stockholders. It’s registered in Switzerland. In this company, there are two stockholders: one stockholder, with a 50% stake, is Gazprom and the other stockholder is me. It’s a company that has a well balanced contractual base, that’s first of all. What does this contractual base include? It includes the purchase of Turkmen gas, 42 billion [cubic meters]; 8 billion cubic meters of Uzbek gas; and the rest is Kazakh gas. Plus, we can buy up to 17 billion [cubic meters] of Russian gas. That gives us a total of 62 billion [cubic meters] of Middle Asian gas and a reserve of 17 billion [cubic meters] that we buy from Gazprom. Now we’ll talk about where we sell it. Actually, for RosUkrEnergo, Ukraine is just one episode, and it may be not the most successful one. Why? Because RosUkrEnergo sells gas let’s see where: Romania, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia and England.
I came to Gazprom and said, “Guys, let’s sit down and do the right scheme. Let’s make everyone happy.” We calculated the volumes and figured how much gas Ukraine would take. We calculated that Ukraine would take in the neighborhood of 52 billion cubic meters of gas. Maybe up to 55, in case the winter is [too] cold. In doing so, we calculated how much gas needs to be exported to make money. I made…I managed to make money for myself and I managed to create a scheme with which I subsidized Ukraine. During the three years of RosUkrEnergo’s operation — 2005, 2006, 2006 and 2008 inclusively — RosUkrEnergo has made a subsidy of some 5 billion dollars. And that’s because the contract was right, because we, gentlemen, all together had fun, and footing the bill for this wedding, for this banquet, for this booze party, was Europe! Show me somebody else who has made such subsidies per year. Even if you consider me and Gazprom separately, I still put at least $2 billion of my own money on that table. Now tell me which one of you has done the same? Show me! And then I’ll tell you how much we love the Motherland. We all say “we love the Motherland, we love the Motherland.” Gentlemen, let’s do something. Let’s not love, but, rather, let’s do something. Are you with me on that or not?
Sure. Let’s do some questioning. Why? Because that’s a very eloquent yet highly evasive piece of rhetoric. It raises more questions than answers.
He says, “Actually, for RosUkrEnergo, Ukraine is just one episode, and it may be not the most successful one.” Really? Would there be any such thing as RosUkrEnergo without Ukraine, in the first place?
Couldn’t Gazprom do it all on its own? Doesn’t Gazprom buy Middle Asian gas in its own right? Why the middleman? (Vice Premier Oleksandr Turchynov raised these questions during the show but received no response.)
Is it true that when RosUkrEnergo became Ukraine’s supplier in early 2006, they didn’t even have a website?
Would a company registered in Zug, the world-famous Swiss tax haven, be allowed such preferential access to the gas pipeline and storage facilities in, say, France or Germany?
Compared to these countries, how much did RosUkrEnergo pay for transit and storage while using Ukraine’s state-owned gas pipeline and storage facilities?
Finally, is there a relationship between RosUkrEnergo and the Party of Regions?
With Firtash thumping his chest and trying to steal the show, he and Vice Premier Turchynov came to blows in a heated spat.
At one point, reacting to Firtash’s increasing assertiveness, Turchynov shot back, 135:20 into the show:
Vice Premier Oleskandr Turchynov: Mr. Firtash, I beg your pardon, may I…you know, we all have gotten a sense of how Gazprom works for us and I want to correct your speech a little bit. You’re saying you were invited here. You’re the one who invited us here, because you’re actually the one who owns this channel, that’s first of all. We’re participating in your show, that’s second of all.
Firtash did not contest the channel ownership charge, letting it sink in.
He had knocked Turchynov out early on, 23:52 into the show.
Firtash: Now let me respond to what you said regarding my bio. Let me finish. As I understand, you’re referring to Mogilevich? Do I understand correctly what you wanted? What is there to be shy about? Gentlemen, let’s get a better grasp of what we’re talking about. It’s your one and only trump card! You’re the one who spun this subject. Now let me answer this question for you very clearly. Let’s see who the chief of the SBU was in 2005. Wasn’t it you, sir? You were the chief of the SBU! I have a question: Had I been connected with Mogilevich and had I had a relationship with him — a direct one — then the man who runs the SBU (I’m not the one who runs it, you’re the one who runs it!), who does work in the SBU (right?), but then somehow, in a manner that defies comprehension, all the files get lost, all the criminal cases get lost. And what happens? Everything’s burned! I have one question: Had I been involved in this (and your Prime Minister [Tymoshenko] keeps accusing me of this all the time), had there been something on me out there, wait a minute, you would have probably worked this issue out, you would have submitted these files. Which means I have a different impression, my dear comrade: There are files on you out there and you have something to do with this [destruction of evidence] directly. You did not want to respond and you’re lying, just like you’ve been doing it all your life.
I watched the show live and found the tit-for-tat very thought-provoking.
Video uploaded from: http://censor.net.ua/go/offer/ResourceID/110606.html
Original video source: http://www.intersvoboda.com/uk/video