2010 April 23 Friday
Russia Bribes Ukraine With Cheap Natural Gas
$40 billion for Ukraine. 30% off. From Russia with love.
“It looks like a peace treaty after a war,” said Mikhail Korchemkin, director of East European Gas Analysis in Malvern, Pennsylvania. “This deal will be valid as long as Ukraine behaves. If they do something the Kremlin doesn’t like, the discount will be canceled.”
Russia gets to keep the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea longer. One wonders what else Ukraine has agreed to do or not to do. Russia does not want Ukraine to fall under EU and NATO influence.
This agreement won't last because eventually Russian natural gas production will go into decline and the Russians will need money more than influence.
By Randall Parker at 2010 April 23 10:18 PM
A little off point but does anyone know why Russia agreed to let Ukraine keep the Crimea in the first place after the break-up of the Soviet Union?
I know that a large chunk of the eastern portion of the Ukraine is Russian speaking so splitting off the Crimea from the rest of the Ukraine may have been complicated and it may also have raised issues as to other soviet republic boundaries and the boundaries of regions within Russia proper (i.e. ethnic minority separatists in the caucuses). BUT the Crimea seems like a prime place to give up - it's Russian speaking, it's strategic in terms of the navy and it has a great climate compared to the rest of Russia.
Why does the Crimea belong to Ukraine? I know that it is geographically contiguous to Ukraine, but historically and culturally it has been an integral part of the greater Russian empire for over 200 years. It was the Russian military under the rule of the Tsar who wrested the Crimea from the Tatars. The population of the Crimea is majority Russian. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, by all rights, Crimea should have been absorbed by Russia. It is best for Ukraine to cede Crimea to Russia now, because without fail there will be a future war over this matter. Can't you imagine some knucklehead US administration someday trying to establish a US Military base in Crimea? We already have military bases in several of the -stan republics. Dumb.
Russians are a convenient punching bag for American neo-cons. They love to blame Russian for any problem in Eurasia.
I see that MarkyMark already made my point. If he and I can see this evident problem, why don't others?
"This agreement won't last because eventually Russian natural gas production will go into decline"
There are many reasons why an agreement like that might last or might not last -whatever that means-, but that is a political issue, not a geological one.
I thought the same thing. Didn't Catherine capture it from the Ottoman Empire? Geographic contiguity shouldn't play that big a role. The US owns Alaska after all.
A US base some day: I do not expect that. The US has already hit its imperial high point. Withdrawals will be the order of the day as US economic problems worsen. We aren't going to be able to afford so many outposts.