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Brinksmanship

Hey, jenni_snake?  You there?

So what's the common talk in Kyiv?  Is one of them going to blink before Sunday?  And will it be Putin or Yushchenko?

I'm starting to get curious as to whether any of the EU nations who are going to be affected if Russia turns off the spigot are quietly putting pressure on them behind the scenes to find a solution.  I haven't seen a hint of it in either the Financial Times or New York Times.  Any thoughts?

If anyone else is following this story, feel free to chime in.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
dominiquelechic
Dec. 30th, 2005 12:52 pm (UTC)
I don't think Vlad will turn off the spigot. He won't dare. Or if it has to happen, it won't be for very long, and even then I doubt it. It's not so much Ukraine he'd be frightened of, but its allies. A Ukraine without gas is not in his interests at all. Far better for him to have Ukraine in his debt by offering them a loan (which they seem to be quite rightly refusing). They'll pay it. They have to - too much gas that comes to the EU flows through Ukrainian pipelines. If Ukraine can't manage it, they'll get help from the EU.
jenni_snake
Dec. 30th, 2005 01:28 pm (UTC)
View from Ground Zero
Well, Ukraine has promised to steal gas... and says it can do so legally.

I've got my electric burner out just in case (they can't turn off the electricity, I live right next to the hydroelectric dam!).

Oh, I was down at St. Sophia's Square on Boxing Day and came across a pile of posters with various slogans like "Gas Transit Tariffs to the People!" and "We're Not Paying For Your NATO!" - funny thing, they were all professionally printed up. I'm going to paste them to the walls. :-D

If Ukraine can't manage it, they'll get help from the EU.

Hmm... you think this is why Gazprom hired Gerd? *ducks*

ETA: Um, okay here is the latest news. I could have sworn those roadsigns coming into this country said 'Ukraine' and not 'Belarus'...

Also, I don't think the EU gives a f*ck as long as they get their gas.

*goes off to grumble and dig out wool sweaters*
aswanargent
Dec. 31st, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
Angie should offer to mediate.

Putin, who seems as dense about things in RL as Vlad does in WA, has boxed himself in. Any concession on his part now is going to be taken as a sign of weakness, and don't you think the Chechens are watching closely to see what happens.

I think Yushchenko's suggestion that the price increase be phased in gradually was eminently reasonable. He's willing to have Ukraine pay, just doesn't want to be hit with such a huge increase all at once. What's wrong with that?

As long as we don't end up with troops massing on the borders ....
jenni_snake
Jan. 1st, 2006 09:37 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
Angie I think is too concerned about keeping the gas flowing to Berlin to be impartial...

I don't think Chechnya's in any position to give a damn. It should be Europe who should be shaking in their boots about giving the wrong signals. I don't know if I'd call Vlad dense so much as exceptionally crafty. I can't BELIEVE how silent Europe has been, and yet they have been. But then again, what are they going to say? ... And the Cold War goes on...

Yuschenko's offer was reasonable, so was Russia's credit offer (which Tavi predicted) - both were rejected. This ain't about gas. At ALL. Was joking about it with my aunt and cousin last night, whether we'd have gas in the morning (we did, of course) and they told me Ukraine had been given a three month extension to figure out how to pay. ... Ukrainian parliamentary elections are in March. The math becomes clearer...

Troops... ever heard of the Transdniester? *worries a bit*
aswanargent
Jan. 1st, 2006 11:20 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
It's all Gerd's doing to get back at the German electorate. I knew he went too quietly, lol.

Seriously, though, I was thinking exactly the same thing you are coming downtown on the bus this morning. I don't think Vlad ever expected or intended Ukraine to accept the new terms. And if Yushchenko/Yuschenko (which is it, btw? You leave that first "h" out, but the Western papers all put it in) had acquiesced, I'm willing to bet that there would have been some new unacceptable condition imposed. It's totally about politics and Vlad wanting to undo last year's Orange Revolution and bring Ukraine back into the Russian fold.
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
It is Yushchenko - I leave out the first 'h' because I am bad and lazy. :-S And it's much easier in Ukrainian because, believe it or not, 'shch' is one letter: 'ù'. His name is much easier to write in Ukrainian: Þùåíêî. Really!

I was reading a book that I will have to sign out again from the library called something like National Identity and Foreign Policy and it takes the historical cases of Ukraine, Poland and Russia. I only started reading the Ukrainian one and didn't finish, but it was fascinating. There was a group of Ukrainians who advocated a pan-Slavic state, and only cared to have recognition of Ukrainian national identity within it. They were quite happy with the Soviets. Until, probably, a group of students in Kyiv were protesting and Lenin sent in the Red Army to slaughter them. That sort of thing will kind of polarise sentiment. It also doesn't help that Russia looks down on Ukraine as culturally and lingustically backward. I don't know how recent that is. Need to do more research.
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
Dang, stupid characters and coding. Here is Yushchenko in Cyrillic: Ющенко.
aswanargent
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:30 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
Here is Yushchenko in Cyrillic: Ющенко.

Okay, that's at least recognizable. Hmmm, I don't know how you'll see this, but when I copy/pasted that sentence of yours into my reply, it smooshed up the first two letters. Must be something about the font.
aswanargent
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:32 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
Curiouser and curiouser. Now in LJ the letters are unsmooshed.
aswanargent
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:26 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
His name is much easier to write in Ukrainian: Þùåíêî. Really!

Oh, yeah, right. [/sarcasm]

The book sounds very interesting. When you check it out again, send me the details (author, title, date of publication, etc.). Maybe it's been translated into English. If so, I'd like to read it.
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
Re: View from Ground Zero
It's actually in English. Le voila.

(And it is! Look, it's only got six letters!)
jenni_snake
Dec. 30th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
But the situation is going to make a really interesting New Year's Eve speech... especially since we'll be watching the one from Moscow... "Dear Comrades, I'd like to wish you a very happy 1936!"
aswanargent
Dec. 30th, 2005 01:38 pm (UTC)
No time to talk until later this afternoon, which means you'll be gone. :-(

However, I'll be here in the office tomorrow, Sunday, and probably Monday as well, and online, so catch up then, okay?

Did you like my Part III-A suggestion, btw, lol?
jenni_snake
Dec. 31st, 2005 07:22 am (UTC)
Maybe Monday... will be partying sans-gas until then, lol.

Going to catch up on posts... and I LOVED the III-a suggestions!
aswanargent
Dec. 30th, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC)
Like I just told Jen, I've no time to talk until much later this afternoon. :-(

I'll be in the office *sigh* and online all weekend, though.

If you're going to be online after midnight again like the last two days, we may be able to continue the WA thread then. I'm trying to think how to respond. Of course I think he's wrong, but how to say so without putting him into a temper?
aswanargent
Dec. 31st, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yushchenko seems willing to bend here, and to me his asking that the price increase be phased in over a two-year period instead of all at once seems perfectly reasonable. Putin, though, is refusing to budge an inch, and I'm afraid he's painted himself into a corner. If he makes any kind of compromise now, don't you think Chechnya, which I'm sure is following this with great interest, will perceive it as a sign of Russian weakness?

Maybe they need to get Angie to mediate; after all, she managed to get the EU budget sorted out.
jenni_snake
Jan. 1st, 2006 10:12 am (UTC)
Not so much about bending...
as about bending over?

Here I am sitting on the internet listening to news and getting conflicting reports... apparently the pressure really has gone down... that is, the gas pressure, not the political pressure! Was just told last night by my aunt that Ukraine had been given a three month extension, and now that the taps are slowly being closed. We had gas all day. Will keep you updated with the view from the ground...

*is having deja vu* Did you post this same comment to my journal? Anyway, will reply again...

Like I said, Chechnya is in no position to care. Russia turned off the gas on Belarus two years ago - no qualms.

Angie is interested so far as pressure in the pipelines is dropping, so not a good third party mediator. I don't know if the EU will step up pressure on Russia to stop it, but then again, what are they going to say - stop being mean to Ukraine and give them their gas? They'll just be hit back with a 'why the heck should we, they're Europe now, let them pay the prices you pay...' Unless we get Europe standing up and saying that's unfair... but are they going to say that? How does one resolve it? It's just kids in the playground who are offended because old friends have found new ones. The slap on the wrist should go to Russia for not living with the fact that Ukraine would rather play with Europe... in which case, the gas is a wholly reasonable demand. I always knew that Ukraine would be a major EU/Russia battleground, like you said, though, let's just hope it doesn't unvolve troops... :-S But then there's always the Black Sea fleet. The economic back-and-forth is somewhat more interesting.

*rests brain* I am inwardly laughing at the whole thing because... well, what else can one do?
aswanargent
Jan. 1st, 2006 11:46 am (UTC)
Re: Not so much about bending...
It's entirely possible that I made a similar comment there.

The point I was making about Chechnya was that Russia blinking first would probably be perceived by the Chechens as a sign of weakness, and would encourage the separatists (or if Vlad is listening "terrorists") there.

I'm finding the whole thing fascinating (from the comfort of my nice, warm, all-electric apartment).

Obviously, Vlad doesn't care about his public image at the moment. This should make the next G8 meeting a little awkward, don't you think?

Oh, and just so you know, you're replying to a comment I made to Tavi.
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 07:11 am (UTC)
Re: Not so much about bending...
Lol - I wonder what the G8 will be like... people are already calling on the G7 to kick Russia out. Perhaps he's just seeing how far he can push things, and he'll stand up and announce that Russia really is taking over the world at the G8. Lol.

Has Vlad ever really cared about his public image?

I think I intentionally replied to the comment you made to Tavi so that she's be notified of it, too. :-D

I sort of see what you mean about the Chechyn situation, but I think they have a list five metres long of instances they could point out as Russian weakness... But I suppose we shouldn't forget that there's a very important pipeline running through northern Chechnya... or so I hear...
aswanargent
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:48 am (UTC)
Re: Not so much about bending...
Perhaps he's just seeing how far he can push things, and he'll stand up and announce that Russia really is taking over the world at the G8.

Do you know the animated cartoon "Pinky and the Brain"? It was on television a couple of years ago, and was clever in the same way that "Rocky and Bullwinkle" was. Brain was a laboratory rat with a supersized brain and an ego to match ... *whispers* Dominique's; every episode saw him plotting a new way to take over the world. Pinky was his sweet, doofus friend/follower (the Bullwinkle character). What you're proposing for Vlad is exactly something that Brain would do, lol. Oh, did I mention that Brain also has a lot of Napoleon in him? Something about his size, I think, lol.
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:55 am (UTC)
Re: Not so much about bending...
Ah yes, the Pinky and the Brain... I always love the line 'one is a genius, the other's insane'... which one, exactly? Lol.

Moose and squirrel. *giggles*
aswanargent
Jan. 2nd, 2006 11:25 am (UTC)
Re: Not so much about bending...
I told you I got Vlad a Christmas present, right? It's sitting there with yours, waiting to be shipped off to you in Canada once you're there. Anyway (I tell you this because it's not what I bought him in the end), my first instinct was to send Vlad the DVD box set of Season 1 of Rocky. I thought watching Boris and Natasha might bring back fond memories of his own KGB days. :-D
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 11:46 am (UTC)
Re: Not so much about bending...
lol
jenni_snake
Jan. 1st, 2006 10:23 am (UTC)
Wanted to put this article where you could both see it. It's a few weeks old, but still relevant. Kind of reveals evil!Gerd, doesn't it? Which is so weird, because, come on, he's just so cuuuuuute! (Perhaps it's just desperate!Gerd which, ahem, would lend itself to some fantastic *coughbackstorycough*.

Oh, and here's Andrei telling the truth that is sort of obvious, and quite useless, because well, a) you'd be daft not to know the real reasons for turning off the taps and b) you'd be a genius if you knew what to do with it!

Like I say, who needs television drama when you've got politics?
aswanargent
Jan. 1st, 2006 11:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for the articles! I hadn't seen the Washington Post one, but there was much the same sort of criticism of Gerd's move in other papers. I'd clipped some out to transcribe, but of course I never seem to have the time for that.

Andrei's resignation was a front-page Financial Times story, but he's been out of Vlad's good graces for quite a while, hasn't he?
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 07:04 am (UTC)
he's been out of Vlad's good graces for quite a while, hasn't he?

That's hard to say... I remember even last December he was being all critical of the government, and they still held onto him. For a whole year. Why get rid of him now? Who knows. Just fed up with him? Who can tell, really. What exactly is he doing now? I can't seem to spell his name correctly, so I can't find any articles because he's fallen off the radar screen because of the gas thing. *sighs*
aswanargent
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
I'll bring the article tomorrow and transcribe it, or at least tell you how the FT spells his name.
jenni_snake
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:38 am (UTC)
I actually found it in an old new item I hadn't read in my inbox. Illaranov. I was putting in an extra 'i'. Apparantly he quit a long time ago and the Kremlin has just finally 'released' him. At least, that's according to Illaranov himself.

Speaking of curiouser and curiouser, eh?
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )