Split in a society that even went through families. The decline in the economy. Splash of radicalism down to frank flaunting Nazi symbols. Flows of refugees to neighboring countries. The fighting in their own land against their own countrymen. And in the end - thousands of dead people, including civilians.
Only a year - and from that country close to us with which we were friends, we traded where we went to rest and visit our relatives, only memories remained. We in Russia experience these events as our own pain. We even help those who accept this help with a grin, continuing to live under the slogan “Ukraine is not Russia”. I sincerely regret that representatives of the Ukrainian elite have not yet been able to offer or implement another strategic development program for the country. As chairman of the government, I see it every day in numbers that confirm: the most difficult thing for our neighbors, unfortunately, is still to come.
Whatever attacks may sound in our address, we have no right to resist provocations. We have no right to forget: on the other side of the border, people close to us in spirit, culture, mentality live people whose fate will never be indifferent to us.
What determines the special nature of relations between Russia and Ukraine
We really have a lot in common. After all, our relationship has its roots in centuries. Unfortunately, in order to push the two peoples together, objective facts are now being denied in Ukraine. Including - the commonality of our cultures, faith, millennial stories. They speculate on the past, imposing ideological constructs that have nothing to do with historical reality. This is understandable: the closeness that has developed between Russians and Ukrainians is unique and has tremendous power. It was decisive in relations between our states and after Ukraine gained independence, in any case, no less than the economy. And for millions of people from Russia and Ukraine, whose fates, families, family ties were always closely intertwined, it certainly was more important than other factors.
After all, every Russian person is very close and clear Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian folk songs, which we perceive as our own, relatives. Ukrainian land rich in talents has given the world artists, musicians, poets, writers whose creative heritage is our common heritage. An example is the life and work of Repin, Kuindzhi, Yaroshenko, Bulgakov, Babel. Having lived part of life in Ukraine, they retained the warmest feelings for her and expressed them in their paintings, as well as in novels and stories. And how Ukrainian motifs in the works of Pushkin, Tolstoy, Kuprin, Chekhov, Blok, Pasternak, Mandelstam decorated the Russian literature. How can you determine which component is more - Ukrainian or Russian - in Gogol's immortal books!
This culture belongs to both nations. Initially tolerant, open - it always made us together, was a source of agreement between us. We were brought up in us by the same values and ideals, the principles of relations between people, the norms of behavior in society and in family life. All that is impossible to destroy overnight. Even when we began to live in different states, we read some books, loved some artists, watched some films. They spoke the same language, which almost a third of the citizens of Ukraine consider as their own and who understand everything in Ukraine. And it seemed to us that in spiritual, cultural communication between us there are no and there will never be borders.
How was created the Ukrainian industry
We were united not only by common historical and spiritual roots. But the close interconnectedness and interdependence of economies, production and technological chains that have evolved over decades.
It was within the united state with Russia, as early as the 19th century, that Ukraine emerged as the largest industrial region, and the Donets Basin - as one of the main mining and metallurgical centers. Being a part of the USSR, Ukraine not only strengthened its power, but, being an agrarian republic, it also received a developed industry. The largest hydroelectric station in Europe, Dneproges, was built in Ukraine by the whole country. The same shock, under the slogan "Everything for Donbass!", Was the reconstruction of the coal region. The giants of mechanical engineering and metallurgy (Kharkov tractor and turbine, Krivoy Rog metallurgical plants, Zaporizhstal, Azovstal, etc.), transport infrastructure, including a network of seaports, powerful agricultural and military industrial complexes were created. Unique production and scientific-technical centers appeared, including Yuzhmash, Yuzhnoye Design Office, and the Paton center.
As a result, Ukraine has become one of the most developed union republics. The bulk of its industry, agriculture and trade was financed from the budget of the Soviet Union. Through the efforts of many people and enterprises from various republics, the Druzhba oil pipeline was laid, five nuclear power plants and seven hydroelectric power stations were built, which now are the basis not only of Ukrainian energy, but also of the entire national economy. Also, thanks to the scientific and technological potential created in Soviet times, Ukraine still has basic aerospace technologies, competitive products in certain segments of the aircraft industry. Indeed, almost a third of all the enterprises and design bureaus of the rocket and aviation branches is now located in Ukraine.
How Russia supported the Ukrainian economy
After the collapse of the USSR, all of this (including the gas transmission system) was inherited by Ukraine. In addition, Russia took over all the debts of the USSR. And Ukraine entered its new history, not burdened with any debt payments. That is why in 1991, the starting conditions for its development were among the best in the post-Soviet space. Due to this, the economy of independent Ukraine remained “afloat”. And until recently, Ukraine enjoyed the results achieved in the past. She continued to rely on cooperation with Russia. Used our resources.
In the most difficult period for Russia itself, in June 1993, our country allocated a loan to Ukraine - about 250 billion rubles. The special support of Russia allowed the successful development of many sectors of the Ukrainian economy, including the aviation and space industries. As a result, the first national space program of Ukraine was created. The level of technological ties, including nuclear energy, between our countries was higher than that of many European countries within the EU. Deliveries to Russia contributed to the successful development of the eastern regions of Ukraine.
An important role for the Ukrainian economy, and above all its basic industries, was played by Russian investments in engineering, metallurgy and metalworking, aircraft manufacturing, shipbuilding, and refining. A serious factor that strengthened the banking sector, also became Russian investment. Moreover, the most significant of them were made in the context of the global financial crisis of 2008 – 2009, when credit institutions of Ukraine experienced the greatest stress due to the massive loan defaults and depositors' raid.
Only for Ukraine were created exclusively preferential conditions in the energy sector - such an energy exclusive. For a long time (up to 2006), the cost of gas for it was extremely low - 40 – 50 dollars per 1 thousand cubic meters. The volumes of the supplied raw materials exceeded those that Gazprom sold to Germany and Italy combined. Thus, our country, in fact, for decades supported the Ukrainian economy.
Since there was no separate transit contract, we paid for it directly with gas from the pipe. At the same time, Kiev took away more gas than Russia owed Ukraine for transit. From this constantly growing Ukrainian debt to Gazprom. If we limited supplies, the Ukrainian side began to unauthorized select, and to be more precise, steal gas intended for European consumers.
Of course, Russia tried to reach an agreement with Ukraine on civilized principles of cooperation. Including during the negotiations of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yushchenko in 2005, when the Russian side proposed to abandon barter schemes and switch to cash settlements, to separate the issues of supply and transit. However, Kiev behaved extremely unconstructive, demanded special conditions for themselves. I wanted to establish a European price level for transit, while maintaining the preferential price for Russian gas. The Ukrainian side rejected almost all of our offers (including the provision of a loan in the amount of 3,6 billion to repay the debt). But even in such conditions, Russia continued to make compromises.
I note that Ukraine has become the last republic of the former USSR, with which Gazprom switched to market relations in the gas sector. In 2009, for the first time in the history of relations with this country, a long-term contractual base was created that fully complies with many years of international practice in the gas business. On January 19, 2009, after negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Yulia Tymoshenko, Gazprom and Naftogaz signed new long-term contracts. The gas price and transit rate began to be calculated according to generally accepted European formulas. But even after that, Ukraine continued to violate its payment obligations, illegally taking gas. In 2010, President Viktor Yanukovych and I signed a new package of agreements - the Kharkov ones, according to which Ukraine extended the stay of the Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol for 25 years, and Russia reduced the cost of 1 thousand cubic meters. m for $ 100
Constant interruptions in payments only accumulated Kiev debt. By the autumn of 2013, it had already reached 2,7 billion dollars. But even then the Russian side had provided Ukraine with substantial support. Since January 1 2014, Naftogaz was supposed to pay 268,5 dollars for 1 thousand cubic meters. m, that is, to receive gas at a significant discount. This would allow Ukraine to save about 7 billion dollars annually. In addition, the Russian government provided Kiev with a loan for 3 billion dollars, which, among other things, was to be used to pay off gas debts. But no one was going to pay. Therefore, in April 2014, we were forced to cancel the “December” discount. And go - strictly in accordance with the current contract - at a price of about 485 dollars for 1 thousand cubic meters. m, which did not suit Ukraine. And later (from June), Gazprom transferred Naftogaz to prepay supplies. The debt of Ukraine at that time was 4,5 billion dollars.
At the same time, the Russian side never used the economic factor to resolve any political issues. Thus, questions about the signing by Ukraine of the Charter of the CIS, the establishment of the Russian-Ukrainian state border or the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea were decided on the basis of international law.
It is clear that any step on the part of Russia, if desired, can be interpreted exclusively in a negative way - “expansion”, “dependence”, which some now do. Ignoring the fact that we are talking about jobs, wages of Ukrainian citizens, taxes in the Ukrainian budget. But the truth is that the economy of independent Ukraine was created largely thanks to the support of Russia. And the sum of Russian investments, concessional loans, and supplies on concessional terms has far exceeded one hundred billion dollars. Only due to low gas prices, Ukraine saved more than 82,7 billion dollars. Not a single republic of the former Soviet Union received such support. We did not just help the Ukrainian economy, but, one might say, actually contained it. It is unlikely that from any other country besides Russia, Kiev could receive such gifts for decades. But, unfortunately, this economic reality was not adequately perceived by the Ukrainian leadership.
What led Ukraine to the edge of the abyss
The outgoing year will go down in the history of Ukraine as one of the most difficult and tragic. President Yanukovych negotiated for association with the EU, promising the country a “European choice”, while trying to continue the game with Russia. In the end, after an economic analysis of all the risks and possible consequences, and realizing that there are no guarantees of serious and quick injections from the West, he slowed down the process of association with the EU. As a result, 22 February in Kiev, there was a violent seizure of power.
Further actions of the leadership of Ukraine, including the military, led the country to the economic abyss over which it stands now.
I will not go into detail in the social and economic statistics. Moreover, many countries of the world, and not only Ukraine, are experiencing difficulties today. Including Russia. However, in any case, this is not an absolute drop in GDP on 7 – 9% (estimated by the IMF and the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine), not a 20-percent annual inflation rate, not a decrease in almost 40% of foreign exchange reserves, and no appreciation of utility payments by 1.5-2 times, no closure or actual bankruptcy of large enterprises. And the problem of external debt, which does not hang over the country, is unclear how to pay and which at the end of this year will exceed the volume of GDP. Apparently, our neighbors have to go through the "second 90-e." And, unfortunately, the problem of default, and, more generally, the everlasting threat of the socio-economic collapse of Ukraine, is not the invention of "Kremlin" or any other political technologists. By the way, a significant part of the debt package is in the hands of Russia. Only recently, Russia has invested about 33 billion dollars in Ukraine. It is the capital of banks, loans and the money of Gazprom.
The Ukrainian elite reassures themselves and the population by saying that “everything will be fine”. And it will be good thanks to the “European choice”, the Association Agreement with the EU and the achievement of “independence” from Russia.
Who dictates the rules of Ukraine
Many of the problems of Ukraine began at the very moment when the Kiev leadership — with the obvious suggestion of Western partners — began to talk about the need to reduce the notorious dependence on Russia. Then politics prevailed over the economy. Large projects, including economic ones, began to be viewed through the prism of a possible change in the balance of political forces in the world. After 2009, through the format of the "Eastern Partnership", Ukraine and a number of other countries, in fact, imposed the idea of reducing cooperation with our country.
In economic terms, the approach of Europeans was altogether reminiscent of "dictation." Ukraine is simply dictated, and in detail, everything that it must do in almost all areas of life. And this is not about a small European country with a population of several million people, but about one of the largest states on the continent.
This position is clearly reflected in the Association Agreement with the EU. It requires - without joining the EU - to bring national legislation into full compliance with EU standards in the framework of a “deep and comprehensive free trade zone”. And further take into account the current changes in EU legislation. In essence, the absolute priority of European norms and directives is established over national legislation, and at the same time over national interests. Only one example - the obligation to adopt a law on restitution may lead to complete confusion in property matters. Moreover, not only citizens of Ukraine, but also the majority of citizens of Russia, Poland and other countries whose property belonged to the ancestors before 1940, can claim the right to property.
From the point of view of economic cooperation, the attitude of the EU towards Ukraine is more like neocolonialism. Under the guise of “fair European-like” competition, one-sided advantages were pushed for European and Ukrainian companies closely associated with them. Ukraine needs the European Union primarily as a source of certain types of raw materials. And, of course, as a market for European companies. Let's look at the structure of Ukraine’s foreign trade with the EU: the overwhelming part of imports comes from end-use goods (food, medicines, cars, electronics, household appliances, etc.), while commodities dominate exports.
A significant part of Ukrainian enterprises in their own market will not withstand competition with European goods, which will flood it with the introduction of a free trade regime, since under the terms of the Agreement, Ukraine almost completely cancels import duties. And what happens in this case with the Ukrainian manufacturers - no one seems to have miscalculated. No one can say what prospects, in turn, will open in exchange for Ukrainian enterprises in the highly competitive European market. The amount of preferences that Europeans will provide to Ukraine is estimated at 400 million euros per year. But this could hardly compensate for even a few percent of future losses. A consequence of tariff liberalization, which will cover up to 98% of goods from Europe, will be the gradual ousting of European products by competitors from the Ukrainian market. And the second wave of the European trade "tsunami" will bring all this volume to the markets of the countries of the Customs Union, which will worsen the business conditions within the CU. Of course, we will not simply observe this process, but take retaliatory measures, the result of which will be a drastic decline in the export of Ukrainian goods to Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. In this case, the loss of Kiev can be up to 15 billion dollars.
If we talk about the agrarian sector of Ukraine, which accounts for 17% of GDP and 27% of national exports, its prospects are also not very bright. And this is in a country that has always been the breadbasket and was famous for the best yields. And now, Ukrainian agricultural producers, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a deliberately losing position. Including - because of the subsidies that are allocated to European farmers, about which Ukrainian can only dream of. And this is despite the unique quality of agricultural land and the recognized high qualifications of the Ukrainian peasantry.
According to experts, in the framework of the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukraine receives a discriminatory quota system that does not comply with the principles of the free trade zone. For example, the annual import quota for wheat is set at 950 thousand tons with an increase over 5 years to 1 million tons. Thus, without export duties, Ukraine will be able to import into the European Union only 50% of the supplied wheat. The rest of the volume will be taxed at the rate of 95 euro per ton, which will increase the price of Ukrainian grain for the consumer at least one and a half times.
Separate efforts and enormous costs will require a transition to European technical standards and norms, according to which industry and agriculture will have to work within a few years. In some industries, such a replacement will need to be carried out even faster. For example, mechanical engineering will have to fully switch to EU standards in two years. The path that the industrialized countries of Europe (Germany, France, Holland, etc.) went through in 5 – 6 decades, Ukraine must overcome in 5 – 10 years. To assess how realistic this is, it suffices to recall that a considerable part of Ukrainian enterprises are equipped with Soviet-era equipment and use the technology of the same years.
Perhaps the cost estimates for these transformations, which were called the Yanukovich government, from 160 to 500 billion euros over 10 years, are too high. But in any case, this is associated with very large allocations. It would be naive to wait for compensation of these costs from the European Union.
Why Ukraine is not expected in the EU
It is characteristic that the further, the more modest are the statements of the West about the amounts allocated to Ukraine. The US guarantees (I’m stressing the guarantees, not the money itself) for 1 billion dollars were described as if it were a question of a new Marshall Plan. But when Ukraine needed 1,45 billion euros to prepay Russian gas - either as a loan or in some other form, the Europeans responded by saying: yes, we need help, but we are not ready to give money. And Kiev had to declare: we will pay from our foreign exchange reserves. Although these reserves are also largely dependent on external assistance.
In fact, no one is eager to give Ukraine money, even for urgent needs. Europe, at the very least, can allocate a loan to cover a debt that is about to be in default. The economy of Europe itself hardly gets out of the crisis. And Brussels will not help Ukraine in the same way as it helped during the 2008 crisis of the year regarding Greece, Spain, Ireland and others. And this step demanded lengthy negotiations from the European Union. Not all “European brothers” were willing to give their taxpayers money as an aid to another country. But then it was about EU members, and now only about a country that no one is going to accept into the European Union.
Speaking about the “European choice” and the possibility of a soon, within a few years, the country's accession to the EU, the leaders of Ukraine in something, perhaps, repeat the mistake of Yanukovych. With only one difference. Yanukovych, realizing his mistake, found the strength to try to suspend this process. And the current Ukrainian leadership does not focus the attention of its people on the “little things”. It does not say that Ukraine has all the standard obligations of a candidate for the EU, but the status of the candidate itself is not. In Ukraine, there was neither a public discussion of the association document, nor an honest analysis of all its pros and cons - for the economy as a whole, for individual enterprises and industries, for various groups of the population. For a long time there was not even a translation of the text into the Ukrainian language.
The Association Agreement with the EU does not contain not only obligations, but also references to the prospects for Ukraine’s membership in the EU. Nor is it a question of possible representation in the European Parliament and other governing bodies. Not to mention the possible provision of citizens of Ukraine equal rights with EU citizens, medical and social services according to European standards, as well as a visa-free regime.
The EU is in no hurry to invite Ukraine to the table of the European powers as an equal partner. He does not even put a side chair, but purposefully keeps her on the rights of "poor Lisa": dates that will never end with a wedding. Just look at Turkey: it signed the 51 Association Agreement a year ago and is still not a member of the European Union. This has even become a topic for jokes. At one time, Viktor Chernomyrdin, when asked about when Ukraine will become a member of the EU, replied: “After Turkey”. - “And when will Turkey be?” - “Never.”
Kiev would also need to look at the experience of those of its south-western neighbors, who nevertheless joined the EU. Assess what has changed since that time in their economy, whether their GDP increased after that, how much income the population grew or fell, and what is the dynamics of unemployment. And, most importantly, how many foreign investments have come to them over the years, or, conversely, the volume of investments has decreased significantly. For example, in Bulgaria, after the country's accession to the EU in the 2007 year, over the 6 years, unemployment increased from 6,9 to 11,8%. Foreign investment inflows declined almost 9 times over the same period (from 9,051 billion euros to 1,092). But these countries are no worse than Ukraine, they are roughly comparable in terms of the level of development and natural and climatic conditions.
Separately, it should be said about the role played by the EU aspiration - even during the times of Yanukovych - to promptly push Ukraine towards the Association Agreement. Let me remind you that Russia, as the largest trade and economic partner of Ukraine, then repeatedly proposed to discuss in a tripartite format (Ukraine, Russia, and the EU) the problems arising in this connection. And every time the European Union, through the mouths of its high-ranking representatives, declared: Russia has nothing to do with it, this is a bilateral process, let Moscow wait on the sidelines. We did not want to hear. What this sudden loss of hearing has led to is already well known. Even to the new Ukrainian authorities, who have replaced Yanukovych, it becomes obvious that Russia’s position cannot be ignored. Otherwise, trilateral negotiations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU on the issues related to the association would not have taken place in Brussels in July of this year, and in September the parties would not have agreed that some provisions of the Agreement would not be introduced before the beginning of 2016. But between failure and agreement to jointly discuss these problems lies a chain of dramatic events. And now it is impossible not to ask the question: what if Europe then “condescended” to a joint - in fact, absolutely natural and necessary - discussion? Many tragedies could have been avoided. In eastern Ukraine, there would be no civil war. And hundreds of thousands of refugees would not find shelter in Russia. Of course, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to these burning regions. However, the Ukrainian authorities, if they really consider the eastern territories to be Ukrainian, still need to understand that organizing life there is first of all their area of responsibility. As the Russian Federation took the responsibility for improving the lives of people in the Crimea, which in the 16 March referendum returned to Russia. This decision was made, and we consider this topic closed.
Kiev, judging by the last steps, is not ready to take responsibility for the eastern regions. Not ready so much that Donbass and Lugansk find themselves in an economic blockade, which their central authorities have declared to their citizens. Is it not enough that their compatriots shoot at peaceful citizens? It is also necessary to economically destroy people and entire areas? This is an unprecedented case. Or the decree on the termination of the activities of state organizations, the export of their property and documentation, the termination of banks' servicing of the accounts of all enterprises and the population, which deprives people of all means of subsistence, was issued in the hope that hunger and poverty will make the inhabitants of the eastern regions more compliant? Apparently, this is how Kiev understands the peace process. This, of course, is the strongest argument for Eastern Ukraine, in order to convince it to go along the European path with the whole country.
Ukraine puts barriers
The current frame of mind of a part of the Ukrainian elite is fully reflected in the plans to build “walls” of various configurations between Kiev and Moscow. High and lower, with electric current or with barbed wire, with a moat or trench. This props from the political theater is transferred to the real economy.
We hear that Ukraine is supposedly ready to give up any trade and economic ties with Russia: to reduce them to a minimum, and wherever possible, to zero. Zero gas, a minimum of oil, machinery, equipment - because of the "wall", zero engines, a minimum of pipes, metal, building materials - for the "wall".
For example, the Ukrainian leadership, with the support of the United States, has persistently promoted an absolutely non-market project to create the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline to reduce the transit of Russian oil through Ukrainian territory. A lot of effort was spent on the search for alternative supplies of natural gas, which, of course, develop imagination, but have no relation to reality.
Russia will protect its markets
I strongly doubt the ability of Kiev strategists, not only on paper, but also in life, to reset trade and economic ties between our countries. Although serious and even heavy damage they can cause. And both countries already feel this. Russia will worry about the losses, but will survive them economically.
And how, in turn, are those who are mentally living already “behind the wall” going to outlive them? In the spring of this year, our Ministry of Industry and Trade estimated the total portfolio of Russian orders placed at Ukrainian enterprises in 15 billion dollars (or 8,2% of Ukraine’s GDP). Nobody in Ukraine has explained not only to us, but to ourselves, with whom and with whom these orders will be replaced. What will happen to dozens and hundreds of enterprises, with whole industrial areas. What will happen with such unique productions as the same “Yuzhmash”, which now turned out to be on the verge of bankruptcy?
In November, in the Orenburg region, a Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr rocket was launched from the Yasny launch base, which launched a Japanese satellite for remote sensing of the Earth and four more Japanese spacecraft into orbit. The event is not sensational, but in today's conditions it is significant: this cooperation has lined up for decades, and they are trying to destroy it in a few months.
We warned the Ukrainian partners in advance: the deterioration of our relations is inevitable if the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU is used in the form in which it is signed. According to some estimates, the Ukrainian economy will annually lose at least 33 billion dollars. Russia will protect the interests of its producers and markets.
In September, I signed a decree on raising the rates of customs duties on goods imported from the territory of Ukraine to Russia to the level set by the Customs Union for non-member countries. It will be applied if certain provisions of the trade and economic part of the Agreement with the EU take effect early, and not from January 1 of 2016. We also launched a system for monitoring the implementation of the economic part of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, in order to track the possible appearance of EU goods on the Russian market at dumping prices under the guise of Ukrainian goods. Almost all Ukrainian products - from pork to ships - got into the list for control. In the event of the discovery of such “Ukrainian” goods, they will be subject to a corresponding duty to protect their producers from unfair competitors.
There are other problems that the Agreement with the EU will create. We expect that Ukraine’s fulfillment of its obligations to bring its regulatory framework closer to the norms of the European Union will lead to a sharp reduction in information exchange between our customs services. In fact, it will be about gradual deprivation of the sovereignty of Ukraine in customs regulation. This will significantly complicate the exchange of preliminary information between us, our neighbors, and weaken the system of mutual recognition of the results of customs control, which now makes it possible to speed up the passage of the border control procedure. And this is not surprising. Instead of communicating through long-established channels, Moscow and Kiev will be forced to talk through Brussels, and Ukrainian officials will only do what European bureaucrats prescribe.
Due to differences in many technical regulations, norms and standards, Ukrainian agricultural producers simply will not be able to enter the Russian market. The events of recent months prove this. It was worthwhile to conduct inspections of Ukrainian agricultural products, as systemic violations of our norms were immediately identified - in terms of quality and requirements of consumer safety. Now this sector of economic relations is experiencing hard times. The absence of regionalization in Europe will require us to close our market every time for Ukrainian products, if the disease center is found in the opposite part of the European Union. In this regard, we see significant risks for the economies of our partners in the Customs Union, as well as for other CIS countries. In particular, this applies to Belarus, which has a significant amount of trade with Ukraine.
What risks does Russia see for itself?
A number of problems, although not directly related to the Agreement, are also part of the new economic reality. We watch with great concern examples of the infringement of the property rights of Russian companies on the territory of Ukraine and populist slogans “not to buy everything Russian”. Some cases of pressure were observed long before the events of this year, but they are now becoming widespread. Many businessmen admitted that it is becoming more and more difficult to protect property rights in Ukraine with the advent of the new authorities.
Some cases are generally more reminiscent of the "Makhnovshchina" than the European values. An example of the expropriation of dozens of new "KamAZ" fighters "Maidan self-defense" was widely reported in March in the press. The Russian oil company (LUKOIL), which is quietly working even in Iraq, was forced to sell gas stations in Ukraine. Armed people are attacking Russian-owned banks and enterprises under the pretext that they are financing terrorism. In many cities, vandalism was led by representatives of the Right Sector. Let me remind you that there were no claims of the controlling bodies to the Russian banks and companies - they fulfilled all their obligations. We regard it as a real racket. And the fact that the Ukrainian security forces do not protect Russian entrepreneurs gives the right to assume that this has become part of state policy.
We can not but worry about the desire of the Ukrainian leadership to undermine industrial cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. Attempts to load American fuel into nuclear power units of the Soviet design at Ukrainian nuclear power plants can serve as a dark example on the topic of the dangerous influence of politics on the economy. Moreover, this is not coordinated with our developers and calculators of power units. Experiments conducted under pressure from American manufacturers are not technologically safe. Earlier in Ukraine and in Eastern Europe, for example, in the Czech Republic, they had already tried to replace Russian fuel with American fuel. And these experiments ended with serious technological problems and the shutdown of reactors. It is good that common sense prevailed, and Russia and Ukraine managed to reach an agreement on the supply of nuclear fuel for the next year.
I want to remind you that even in the most difficult time of the aggravation of the internal Ukrainian conflict, the Russian side fully fulfilled and continues to fulfill its obligations to Ukraine for the supply of nuclear fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
Ukraine planned to build its fuel plant with the help of Russia. We in Novosibirsk have already made a number of technological lines for this plant. However, the construction of the workshops themselves in the Kirovograd region and is not going.
Transit risks, and not only pipeline risks, increase visibly in Ukraine. Although the very geographical position of the country allows it to play an important role here. There are questions about the safety of road and rail transportation, as well as the transportation of goods through Ukrainian ports. Many - not only Russia - will probably have to change the routes for the supply of their goods to Central and Southern Europe. Thus, Ukraine’s participation in the East – West and North – South global transit routes is questioned.
And, of course, the problem of gas transit through Ukraine - it must be admitted, the problem that arose far from today has not disappeared anywhere on the agenda. Today the gas issue is settled only temporarily. According to the Brussels agreements, Ukraine must repay 3,1 billion from Gazprom 5,3 billion by the end of the year billion of debt and buy additional volumes from the company for the winter on a prepaid basis. In the period from November 1 2014 to March 31, 2015, Ukraine was granted a discount in 100 dollars per thousand cubic meters. m to the contract price. Thus, the price of Russian gas for Ukraine in November – December will amount to 378 dollars per 1 thousand cubic meters. In early December, Naftogaz paid 378 million dollars as a prepayment for 1 billion cubic meters. m of gas.
The so-called “winter package” of agreements was reached only thanks to the direct cooperation of representatives of Russia and the EU. The European Union really felt the threat to the transit of Russian gas from Ukraine. And he took steps that made it possible to achieve at least a temporary agreement. The conditions for further cooperation are a matter of negotiation and careful adherence to the Kiev payment schedule.
Another element of the “wall” being built is the desire of the Ukrainian authorities to introduce a visa regime with Russia. Someone was counting on what “dividends”, coupled with the general deterioration of relations between the two countries, could it bring to Ukrainians and the Ukrainian economy?
The damage will cause a reduction in remittances from Ukrainians working in Russia. And today only highly qualified specialists and those who work with an official work permit or with patents - almost 400 thousand people. But this is official statistics, which does not provide a complete picture with such close ties and open borders. Experts say that about 6 million Ukrainians come to Russia for seasonal work. I want to note that only from 1 in January of 2014, more than 4 million people entered Russia. This is almost one tenth of the total population of Ukraine. They have a second home in Russia - relatives, friends, work, including seasonal work. No wonder they say that the east of Ukraine works for Russia, and the west - in Russia.
Indeed, for many Ukrainians, work in Russia is the only source of existence. And only thanks to the actions of Ukraine will Russia be forced to block this source. Since 1 January 2015, the “gray” Ukrainian workers, who constitute the main number of those who arrived, will not get a job without a patent in Russia. More strictly, we will also deal with the observance of the terms of stay in our country - 90 days within six months. Previously, it was enough to leave Russia - and again to return back to work here for the next three months without any problems. Now, our border guards will treat such Ukrainians, “travelers” without a patent for work in Russia, with heightened attention.
Possible losses of Ukrainians, if they lose their earnings in Russia, are estimated at 11 – 13 billion dollars, that is, as much as about 7% of the country's GDP. I would like to ask Kiev politicians: has this new load on the state budget been taken into account, not to mention the budgets of Ukrainian families?
New principles of our relationship
Many in Ukraine are now in a revolutionary euphoria. It seems that it is enough to throw in the dustbin of the history of a century of joint past, and everything will start from scratch. Life will be comfortable and prosperous. Here only this sheet will be dirty. There is already blood on it. Ukrainian society is already paying for the illusions with which it is now generously fed by the ruling elites who dream of having European passports in their pockets. We hear about the victims of these illusions every day. Soldiers and civilians of Ukraine continue to die from the "armistice bullets". There will be other victims that are inevitable in a country where people do not have enough money for medicines, food, for raising children, for education. In a word, for a normal life. We are very sympathetic to all of them.
However, the state of Ukraine has made its choice. And even if our neighbors are now poorly aware of the final price that will have to be paid, that is their right. Including the right to make mistakes.
Of course, it is not easy for Russia to accept such a choice, but not at all because of the “imperial ambitions” attributed to Moscow. Still, 360 years from the time of Pereyaslavska Rada, we considered each other as one family, where, it happened, there were disputes and quarrels between relatives. But the difficulties, and even more danger, we always overcome together. And there was one for all and joy, and misfortune, and, of course, victory.
However, the best way to prove that we in Russia respect and respect Ukraine as a sovereign state is the recognition of its right to a choice made. But Ukraine needs to remember that any choice is first of all a big responsibility. In a well-fed European future, you have to work a lot, not “ride”. Want to live "like in Europe" - learn how to pay bills. For a start - in Russian.
Our countries are neighbors and can not cooperate. Just now this cooperation will be exclusively, one might say, “European”, rational and pragmatic. Russia intends to strictly follow its national interests. And it will firmly defend them - as is the case with any other equal partner. Building relationships in new conditions, we will leave emotions and "related feelings" aside. And we will no longer contain the economy of Ukraine. It is unprofitable for us. And, frankly, tired.
Perhaps it was just this — a bit cold — pragmatism in politics and economics that our countries lacked all the years after the collapse of the USSR. And now, after heavy trials and losses, we have a chance to build a truly business, mutually beneficial relationship.