Is there a future for Sevastopol without a fleet?
Sevastopol without fleet. Could you have imagined such a situation even 25 years ago? A person who spoke in such a spirit would have looked askance, and even turned his finger to his temple. However, today there is a situation that may well lead to the withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the city of military sailors. Different people look at this situation differently. So what can a demilitarized Sevastopol expect, and why is it already now possible for Russian sailors to leave the base in the Crimea real?
Issues related to the Black Sea Fleet, and more precisely to the relationship between Russia and Ukraine on this issue, have always been extremely acute. At one time, Viktor Yushchenko was so actively trying to tighten Ukraine into the North Atlantic Alliance, that he almost unilaterally wanted to decide on a ban on the deployment of Russian ships in Sevastopol. But the era of Yushchenko was left behind, and new Ukrainian politicians headed by Viktor Yanukovych came to power. A promising agreement was signed in the city of Kharkiv, which documented the right of Russians to operate a naval base in the Crimea. However, some Ukrainian officials are already trying to interpret the signed agreements in their favor. Many people appear, according to the logic of which the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation only hampers the development of Sevastopol. If, they say, the Russians had brought their ships from the bay, then a wave of economic growth would have led Sevastopol to a galaxy of successful business centers.
People who decide to express such thoughts are either poorly acquainted with economic laws or refuse to recognize them. Today, more than fifty thousand jobs in the city. And this is almost 34% of the total working population of the city. By simple mathematical calculations, it is possible to calculate how much damage Sevastopol can incur if Russian ships are withdrawn from there. Of course, if the Ukrainian authorities fill the vacuum with ships, so to speak, of other countries - it is clear what kind of ships we are talking about, then jobs can be saved. However, in Sevastopol, as they say, everything is sharpened just under the Russians. To re-equip the infrastructure under the NATO base, will have to invest a billion dollars in the development of the city. NATO sailors are much more fastidious than the Russian and Ukrainian, so they are unlikely to want to use what they can from the Russian Navy base. Some politicians see Sevastopol completely demilitarized. Such views can be called anti-utopian.
To expel the Russian fleet from Sevastopol today will be the same for Ukraine, as if Kazakhstani politicians would decide to rid Baikonur of the cosmodrome. Here, of course, the ecology will improve, and the noise, as they say, is less, but you need to understand that this threatens the present collapse of the municipal economy.
Of course, today the degree of participation of the fleet segments in the life of the city has sharply decreased compared with the Soviet period. A lot of clubs, rest houses for military men of the Black Sea Fleet are closed. However, this is a purely economic problem, which has nothing to do with the sailors themselves.
The total underfunding of the nineties led to the fact that some warships did not go beyond the bay for several years, but peacefully rusted. However, today the situation with the strengthening of the army and navy in Russia seems to be getting better. In this regard, Ukrainian politicians need to think about how to benefit from the stay of Russian sailors in the Crimea. Only short-sighted politicians can break all existing agreements in order to start looking for ways out of the economic deadlock for Sevastopol.
We are already witnessing the unscrupulous actions of Ukrainian politicians that led Russia to “bypass” Ukraine with the help of northern and southern gas flows. Mr. Yanukovych is trying to find some mutually beneficial conditions, but, having burned himself with milk, Russia is now blowing water. Gas "feeder" for the fraternal Ukraine is gradually becoming empty. And at this time, instead of constructive proposals for cooperation, there are again talks about revising the Kharkov agreements.
In the end, the Russian authorities can decide on a real withdrawal of the Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol. But will this make it easier for both states? Neither from the economic point of view, nor from the point of view of security, this is logically explained. Is it possible that the personal interests of a handful of powerful people and financial magnates may again be the cause of a new break in relations between Ukraine and Russia.
In this regard, it can be noted that the entire world economy today is built on mutual integration. Destruction of relations built over centuries, burning bridges and other demarches have never led partners to prosperity. This means that, instead of engaging in another Russophobic issue, some Ukrainian politicians should be advised to look at the prospects. As these prospects, empty Sevastopol emerges, in which it is necessary to invest so much that the Ukrainian budget can not withstand such a financial shock.
Sevastopol without a fleet is perceived, if not a ghost town, then at least a somewhat orphaned and abandoned settlement, investment interests on the part of Russia to which will sharply decline.
- Alexander Dmitriev
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