In a 15 minute interview on TV channel 1+1 yesterday, a rather tired-looking PM Tymoshenko revealed that RosUkrEnergo, at the insistence of the Russian authorities and Gazprom, will remain the monopolistic supplier of imported gas for a while after all, but: "RUE will not enter Ukraine - they will hand over gas to Ukrainian state gas company 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' on Russian territory."
'Gazeta.ru', in an article entitled "RosUkrEnergo forever", today explains that this arrangement probably suits everyone right now, except for Viktor Yushchenko - his sponsor, Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, will lose a major part of his 'cut' from RUE. Here are several portions of the article:
"The preservation of RUE is an obvious concession by Ukraine; Tymoshenko repeatedly spoke of the intention to completely eliminate intermediaries fron the gas supply chain. But the elimination of [secondary intermediary] 'UkrHazEnerho' is a victory for the prime-minister, and has ensured the bulk of industrial gas deliveries in Ukraine are via 'Naftohaz', which is overseen by her protege Oleh Dubina.
The present situation, according to political scientist Dmitriy Abzalov, suits everyone. Gazprom retains the intermediary and has also received a significant portion of the Ukrainian market, i.e. 7.5 Bcm of gas p.a.
"Presently RUE directs a portion of gas to Europe at European prices, and the profit made allows it to subsidize Ukraine, supplying gas at a reduced price. Without the intermediary, this will not occur, " said Abzalov.
But the victim will be Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash, who received most of his income from the activities of UkrHazEnerho.
"Having eliminated this company [RUE], Tymoshenko has killed two birds with one stone: she has diverted the lion's share of supply of gas to Naftohaz Ukrainy, and has knocked away financial support from under her main political rival, Viktor Yushchenko," says Abzalov.
Firtash is linked to Yushchenko, as evidenced by the fact that Firtash has a joint account with the wife of the Ukrainian president in one of the banks. Firtash was until recently the main financial resource for Yushchenko. Now, according to the political scientist, financial problems have sprung up for the businessman, and correspondingly, the position of the Ukrainian president has been weakened. "I believe, that the question of the final elimination of RUE will put on 'the back burner' by Tymoshenko, it is not convenient for her the remove the intermediary right now," considers Abzalov."
p.s. NUNS leader Vyacheslav Kyrylenko declared tonight, after a meeting with coalition partners, that the fate of the democratic coalition will be saved, if on Tuesday, the BYuT fraction in the VR does not vote with PoR and the Communists in favour of the project to create a temporary special commission on introduction of changes to the Constitution.
Could be trouble ahead..