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25.05.2011 Borys Kushniruk
угоди: про що домовлялися Путін і Тимошенко
Tymoshenko and the authorities imagemakers exhibit unprecedented
activity on the gas contracts. Some engaged in bleaching, other - on
the contrary… What really happened in January 2009?…
Trying to rewrite history is not unusual. This happened ever since
the Roman Empire, and possibly earlier. Historical events drown in
fabrications, myths turn into “facts” and the reality is either
forgotten into oblivion or is framed into something completely
different… In the past, as a rule, what was rewritten dated
back decades or even centuries.
In our time the same is done, only modern public-relations experts
sometimes rewrite the very recent history — what has happened just
yesterday or even today…
One prominent example — gas deals signed under pressure from
then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko by Naftogaz management in January
2009. Mrs Tymoshenko and the present authorities imagemakers
demonstrate unprecedented activity on this recent event. Some are
engaged in artful whitewashing, others — in the opposite
direction… Furthermore, the government drives the this subject
to distract public attention from their own actions as well as those
deals — are very far from the interests of Ukraine.
In recent weeks BYuT imagemakers made following arguments against
accusations on gas contracts.
Mr. Yushchenko and Mr. Firtash hampered and got in her way, she was
under pressure by Europeans and Russians, she had no choice, therefore
she had to sign whatever there was to sign. During the Tymoshenko's
government (in 2009) the average gas price was $ 228 per thousand
cubic meters, and this year (2010), during the reign of Yanukovych,
could reach $ 300 per t.c.m.
At the same time we are told that these contracts are market-based
in general, and therefore are fair, and could not be better.
But if the contracts are indeed market-based, then what for are all
the complains that someone was hampering or pressing?
Are gas contracts market-based?
In reality the claim that the contracts from January 2009 are
market-based does not stand any criticism.
This was a contract between two monopolies, one of them actually is
a monopoly on gas transportation from Russia to Central and Western
European countries, the second is a monopoly on Ukraine's gas supply.
Both are linked to one chain and will depend on each other long
enough. Because of this, gas contracts were largely determined by who
and whose interests protected during negotiations and the arguments
that were used to do so.
It is obvious that the formula that was choosen to calculate the
prise under sonsent of Mrs. Tymoshenko is completely incorrect, to say
the least. And given that the former “gas princess” understands very
well what prices on the gas market are, it simply impossible to
explain this failure by her lack of experience.
This incorrectness is felt throughout, from the use of gasoil in
the formula, which is not used in Ukraine. According to the European
practice of such agreements the formula should include the types of
energy consumed in the country, where gas is supplied. In the case of
Ukraine has to be oil, fuel oil, coal, but not gasoil.
In addition, the formula should take into account the volume of gas
consumed. Obviously, there can not be the same price for consumers
who buy several billions and tens of billions of cubic meters of gas,
especially when it comes to the biggest foreign customer of Gazprom.
Large consumer always has a system of discounts and benefits from the
seller. But in our case this is not reflected in the price formula
An important factor that affects price is the time of delivery. If
Gazprom has to deliver gas in the autumn-winter period, it is clear
that the price has to be one. But if the country buys gas in advance,
solving the problem of limited consumption in spring-summer period
(extraction process is continual, so gas has to be stored somewhere) —
it is clear that the price has to be lower.
And if we recall that the formula does not account for the distance
(which in the Ukrainian case is the smallest), to call the contracts
standard, fair, and the more beneficial would be simply absurd, and
Especially absurd is that the gas price for Ukraine was almost the
highest among all Gazprom buyers.
The same applies to gas transportation tariffs. We are told as
well that the gas transportation tariffs are standard and
market-based, but we are not told why they end up being several times
lower than in other European countries.
Also in the agreement of 2009 stipulated the principle of take or
pay, Naftogaz must pay for the gas that it even does not consume. At the same time there are no corresponding obligations on Gazprom to
Naftogaz is not provided.
As we see, we are dealing with two totally incorrect contracts that
inflicted and continue to inflict multibillion losses on Ukraine. And
it is an undeniable fact that can not, despite all BYuT imagemakers
efforts to somehow reframe and present as positive for Ukraine,
although this is what they are doing for many consecutive months.
On the other hand, it is worth to understand, what led to the
signing of such contracts, were they forced or, perhaps, were a result
of consistent and determined efforts by both sides?
How Yushchenko got in her way
To understand how this statement is justified, chronology of events
at the end of 2008 has to be recalled.
As of December 17, 2008, Gazprom and Naftogaz had no contracts to
supply gas to Ukraine in 2009. Never mind that according to the
memorandum of Heads of Governments of Ukraine and Russia, signed on
October 2, 2008, transition to direct long-term relations between
Gazprom and Naftogaz was scheduled on January 1, 2009. However, the
memorandum demanded complete payment by Naftogaz of all existing debts
for gas supplied. And this key requirement of the memorandum by the
Ukrainian government was not bein fullfilled. As of December 16
Naftogaz did not even pay for gas delivered in September and October
And “guilty” is not a government of Yulia Tymoshenko and Naftogaz,
but President Viktor Yushchenko. The “guilty” was forced to
personally intervene in the process of payments. After negotiations
with representatives from IMF a decision was made that this will be
done at the expense of reserves, which made for the refinancing of the
Savings Bank, which, in turn, gave credit to Naftogaz.
As of December 18 Yushchenko was confident that the issue was
settled. Naftogaz has paid off the debt for gas supplied in September
and October 2008, and Ukraine has no overdue debt settlements with
Gazprom. “So now the question is resolved,” — he then said.
However, Gazprom on the same day made a statement that starting
from 1 January 2009 gas supplies to Ukraine can be halted.
“After paying Gazprom $ 800 million for gas supplies Ukrained
stated that she will not pay this year for gas supplies (for
November-December)” — Gazprom spokesperson reported to the mass
And further: “given the fact that debt for gas supplies will not be
paid down, it will be impossible to switch to direct contract between
'Naftogaz Ukraine' and Gazprom from January 1, 2009.”
“Thus, without a contract for gas supplies, starting from
January 1, 2009 Gazprom may stop gas supplies to Ukraine” - massmedia
quoted him saying.
This situation with payment being uncertaint remains until
Attempts to negotiate with Russia about payments for gas supplied
by Gazprom in November-December, lead to nothing.
“Attempts to reach an agreement with Ukraine on the issue of gas
debt payment were not succesful” — said then the prime of Russia
“I just talked with Viktor Andreyevich (Yushchenko) for almost an
hour — without an agreement yet” — Putin announced on December 29,
2008 in Moscow.
Asked why there was no agreement, Putin replied: “they do not want
Given such a dire situation, “chief guilty” Yushchenko held a
meeting on December 29 with the head of the National Bank of Ukraine
Stelmakh and Minister of Finance Pynzenyk. As a result a decision was
made: Naftogaz pay for its obligations again with the Central Bank
“Thanks to the coordinated efforts and actions by the President,
the government, 'Naftogaz' and National Bank, Ukraine has fully paid
for imported Russian gas in 2008” - it was noted in the press report
from the President. - “Ukraine paid not only for deliveries in
November, but made an advance payment for December 2008. Thus all
obstacles to concluding mutually constructive agreements with Russian
partners on imported natural gas supplies to Ukrainian consumers in
2009 are removed.”
So why was there such a situation with payments in December? Why
Naftogaz and the Government took the decision to increase the volume
of gas purchases in the last months of 2008, realizing that in a
falling economy and reduced gas consumption there will be no money to
pay for it?
Answers to these questions can be found in the comments made by
Viktor Yushchenko at that time:
“The problem is that this year the government decided to
accumulate the largest gas reserves ever. Obviously, the logic was
that the gas price next year is unknown, it may be even higher. It is
reasonable to pump gas at a price of $ 179.5 into the storage and
cover the consumption balance in 2009… The deal is good and is
ideal if the gas supplied is paid as a seasonal demand. The problem
with the the government and Naftogaz is that it has accumulated
seasonal gas that was not consumed and that no one paid for…
This gas was taken when the gas on the market was not bought. And thus
were given jobs, including in Russia, for those in gas extraction. But
it's emotions. I am convinced that for every cubic of gas Ukraine
should provide a payment.”
This explanation by the President was published in the media. I a
slightly different explanation why the head of the government made all
these actions, but I'll tell it a bit later…
If one agrees with Yushchenko's reasoning, the question arises:
what Mrs. Tymoshenko thought about, when she decided to purchase the
gas in advance? She could not be unaware that Naftogaz and the
Government can not pay for it. And apparently this decision was made
by Tymoshenko and not Naftogaz. Such important decision are made at
the level of leadership of the government rather than state company
At the same time representatives of the Russian government and
Gazprom in the second half of December 2008 have repeatedly stated
very confidently that Ukraine does not pay for gas, so supply will be
halted or, at least — will be carried out based not on a direct
contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom. However, since November 2008
emissaries of the Russian government left to the European capitals,
where they strongly urged their counterparts that in January Europe
might have problems with gas supply and it will be the fault of
What an amazing foresight, you know.
And one can only wonder who should bear responsibility for the
cessation of gas supplies on 1 January because of nonpayment of debts
for purchased gas? Is it President again?
Yushchenko withdrew from the talks the head of Naftogaz
One of the most compelling evidence of the President Yushchenko's
guilt, as Mrs Tymoshenko and all her propaganda machine claims, is
that on December 31, 2008 Yushchenko withdrew Naftogaz head Oleg
Dubina from talks in Moscow.
You can look on all Internet forums that witnessed extraordinary
surge in activity of BYuT activists just after the information (leaked
from the Prosecutor General Office as it is claimed) that Oleg Dubina
confirmed this on confrontation testimony with Tymoshenko. Although I
am confident that this information hit the media from the sources in
BYuT. There they do not seem to quite understand what it is it and
thought that this “leak” is playing in favor of Tymoshenko and
But quite the opposite.
The information itself is not new. That Dubyna was withdrawn
became known on December 31, 2008. According to media reports, former
head of Naftogaz testified that in late 2008 Tymoshenko and prime
minister of Russia Vladimir Putin have agreed to sell gaz in 2009 at
$ 235 per t.c.m.
It should be noted that in all statements that were made before
31 December 2008 the Russian leadership named another price — not
$ 235, but $ 250. Even before the contracts were signed in January
Putin in an interview with editors of leading German media said: “I
personally invited the Prime Minister of Ukraine: come, sign the
contract with $ 250 per thousand cubic meters, and we will give you the
right to re-export. And she refused”.
But lets suppose that this was true. In public it was said that
the price will be $ 250, whereas informally Putin and Tymoshenko
agreed price of $ 235 (for the supply of gas in 2009 only).
A small comment is needed here…
Firstly, as of December 31, 2008 Naftogaz had no debts to Gazprom,
and therefore would act rules named in the memorandum signed between
the Government of the Russian Federation and the Cabinet of Ministers
of Ukraine on cooperation in gas sphere of October 2, 2008. The
memorandum provided for a phased transition over three years to
market-based, commercially reasonable and mutually agreed upon price
for Russian natural gas for consumers in Ukraine and transit fees over
One might ask whether the average price of $ 235 corresponds to
this document? Hardly so. If you even go out of the odious formula
that was laid in a contract for the supply of gas, excluding the 20
percent discount provided for 2009, the average price would be around
270-280 dollars. Can it be claimed that 235 dollars is a “uniform”
first (three years) stage from the price of 179.5 to 280 dollars? And
if it is not exactly uniform price increase, then why in spite of the
memorandum, signed by Putin and Tymoshenko directly, these same people
were prepared to sign a contract for gas with an average (in 2009)
price of $ 235? And at the same time gas transport tariffs had to
remain unchanged in 2009 — $ 1.7 per t.c.m. per 100 kilometers. But
according to that same memorandum, transit tariffs had to be gradually
raised to the european level.
So both of them were not going to follow this part of the
memorandum as well. And if everything is clear with Putin, the
question arises: why did Tymoshenko supposedly agree with it? I write
“supposedly” because sure it is those arrangements that were in fact
between them. They were, in the best case, were presented to Dubina,
who could report them to Yushchenko.
Real intentions of the both premiers will be discussed below. And
here we will discuss the reasoning of Viktor Yushchenko, who,
according to Oleg Dubina, did not agree with the terms of contracts
and withdrew him from negotiations.
So, Naftogaz proposed to buy gas from Gazprom at $ 235, also
without changing the transit fees. Could Yushchenko agree on that
option, understanding the destructive nature of this price for the
whole Ukrainian economy and Naftogaz?
228 or 233?
It has to be recalled that the average gas price in 2009, paid by
Naftogaz, has reached 233 dollars.
This is despite the fact that Mrs. Tymoshenko and all BYuT
propaganda machine asserted multiple times that the average price in
2009 was $ 228. Although during the last trial of ex-Prime still
reported that according to the certificate of commission checks on
specific issues of financial and economic activity of “Naftogaz
Ukraine”, which was provided on behalf of the current government
leadership and Naftogaz, the actual average prices for 2009 year
amounted to $ 232.98 per t.c.m.
It is quite obvious that this figure was not a secret for
Tymoshenko during her premiership. And she told Ukrainians a lie. But
it is so, by the way…
Let's return to the role of Yushchenko in this story.
Because of the gas contracts operating deficit of Naftogaz in 2009
was estimated by the IMF representatives around ₴ 22 billion. The
overall deficit around ₴ 60 billion. And its losses before taxes on
the basis of consolidated financial statements based on international
standards for 2009, published by Naftogaz, reached ₴ 19.5 billion.
And here we talk about Naftogaz only. And one must account for the
losses of other companies associated with the spike in gas prices
during the economic crisis, falling demand for Ukrainian products, and
the losses for the state budget and population - the total impact of
such a gas price for Ukraine is difficult even to estimate.
Could President Yushchenko, with estimated calculation of the
consequences for the Ukrainian economy of gas prices around 250
dollars, agree to it? It is clear that he could not. It is possible
that it was anticipated and even expected to by our Russian-Ukrainian
Yushchenko's position on gas contracts for 2009 was made January 1,
2009 the first in a joint statement, Yushchenko and Tymoshenko about
supply and transit of Russian gas.
In particular he states: “According to our calculations, based on
the memorandum in early 2009 the price of Russian natural gas for
Ukraine at the Ukrainian-Russian border should be $ 201 for 1 thousand
cubic meters, the rate of transit over Ukraine - no lower than $ 2 per
1 thousand cubic meters per 100 kilometers. The proposed suggestion
by the Russian Federation to raise gas prices to $ 250 including a
sharp drop in world oil prices means for Ukraine average European
prices for natural gas. At the same time the Russian side proposes
keeping the transit at $ 1.7, more than twice lower than rates on
What counted upon Yushchenko, when he offered Tymoshenko to sign
this statement? Obviously, he thought that in the gas contracts the
Ukrainian government should have a consolidated position, aimed at
protecting the interests of Ukraine. In addition, given the filled
gas storage facilities, he believed that Ukraine's position is strong
as never in many years. With gas storages filled with enough gas for
almost six months, Ukraine was in much better situation than Gazprom.
Naftogaz developed technological procedures and was able to pump in
the reverse gas pipeline system and provide Ukrainan consumers with
Instead, Gazprom, which was pressed in the last months of 2008 with
a significant decline in demand for gas not only in Europe but in
Russia itself had no where to store extracted gas. In addition,
responsibility for the supply to European consumers relied on Gazprom
and not on Naftogaz, so that Gazprom had to deal with disruptions with
contractors. So, the reasoning of Viktor Yushchenko, all played for
the strong position of Ukraine in negotiations with Gazprom. He and
his team have appreciated all this. Please do not take into account
that their partner in this struggle for national interests is the
Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko. And her personal
interests are quite different.
And speaking of guilt of Viktor Yushchenko, it is just that,
defnding Ukrainian interests, he forgot what games he is playing. He
had to remember and consider how close were already at that time
relations between Putin and Tymoshenko.
In fact they beat Yushchenko's very easy. However, the main loser
was and remains a nation that pays the loss of income, rising prices,
loss of sovereignty over part of the territory of the Ukrainian
To be continued.
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