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Russia: Passing Gas
   Next Article → ARTILLERY: India Strikes Out With BrahMos
January 22, 2009: The U.S. has signed a new agreement with Georgia, bringing with it more cooperation between the two countries. This is apparently to show the Russians that their aggression last Summer has not scared the United States away from Georgia.

Last year, for the first time in a decade, Russian oil production fell (one percent, to 9.78 million barrels a day). The lower world price for oil, and the global recession, has caused much hardship inside Russia. Government attempts to calm the population down with distorted news in the mass media (which the government now owns or controls) has not worked because so much alternative news is available on the Internet. The government fears that this may lead to loss of control the next time elections are held. The current government has been rebuilding the traditional Russian police state, but opposition parties would like to halt this.

Russia is modifying Indian Su-30s to carry the new, $2.3 million each, Brahmos cruise missiles. The BrahMos was a late Cold War weapon whose development was stalled (when the Cold War ended) until India invested several hundred million dollars for the Russians to finish it. While India has purchased hundreds of the missiles, Russia has bought none. The BrahMos recently failed its first operational test firing.

Hundreds of Russian MiG-29 fighters remain grounded as investigators attempt to find out what caused one to crash a month ago. The company that produces the MiG family of aircraft has lost much business to the firm that produces the Su-27/30 aircraft (Sukhoi), and it appears that the MiG producer is being absorbed by the larger and more profitable manufacturer  Sukhoi. This is another example of the continuing consolidation in the Russian arms industry, a result of the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russian diplomats have approached officials in Libya, Syria and Yemen about restoring Cold War arrangements for Russian warships to regularly obtain supplies and maintenance at their ports. Russia is not moving quickly on this matter, because money is still tight (because of the collapse in oil prices), but wants to get an idea of what it would cost (financially and diplomatically).

Violence continues to grow in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya, with more attacks (with bombs or gunfire) against security forces.

January 21, 2009:  A Russian destroyer was ordered to leave its Baltic base and join another Russian warship on anti-piracy patrol off Somalia.

January 15, 2009:  Azerbaijan sent a nastygram to Russia over continued weapons shipments (nearly a billion dollars worth) to archenemy Armenia. Russia has long supported Armenia (which, like Russia, is Christian) against the Azeris (who are Moslem Turks). These days, Russia sends diplomats to Azerbaijan to placate the Azeris, and promises to defend them if they are attacked by neighboring Iran, or whatever it takes to calm down the Azeris.

January 14, 2009: Russian natural gas shipments, via the pipeline the transits Ukraine, resumed to Western Europe. It will be three days before supplies return to normal. The West European nations now have an agreement with Ukraine and Russia to station monitors at the natural gas pumping station, to settle disputes over whether Russia is sending the gas, or Ukraine is diverting it. Ukraine has agreed to pay more for the natural gas it gets from Russia, but not as much as Russia was originally asking.  Western Europe, in general, is losing patience about the unreliable, and often criminal, manner that Russian firms do business. Many of these firms are state owned, and the Russian government is being told to shape up, or lose a lot of business with Western Europe.

January 3, 2009: The natural gas price dispute between Russia and Ukraine has led to a cut off of some supplies 20 percent of the gas used in Western Europe. This was not supposed to happen, and Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for it.

Next Article → ARTILLERY: India Strikes Out With BrahMos
  
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Chris    Passing Gas?   1/22/2009 12:24:11 PM
Georgia, at best, should only be used as a terciary source of energy...
 
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trenchsol       1/24/2009 12:39:33 PM
I don't remember that I ever sided with Russia in my life, but this time I have to. What is Ukraine doing is basically a blackmail.  If they  don't  make gas purchase deal with Russia, nobody is getting gas. Gas purchase and gas transfer are two separate issues, but Ukraine is conditioning one with the other. That is something I could expect from country like North Korea.
 
DG

 
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Lance Blade       1/24/2009 2:05:16 PM

I don't remember that I ever sided with Russia in my life, but this time I have to. What is Ukraine doing is basically a blackmail.  If they  don't  make gas purchase deal with Russia, nobody is getting gas. Gas purchase and gas transfer are two separate issues, but Ukraine is conditioning one with the other. That is something I could expect from country like North Korea.

 

DG




The cabinet is desperate. Yushenko's main goal is to hurt Russia and he's trying to do as much damage as he can on his way out. He lost the support of his people, he lost the support of his key ally, and the anti-Russian coalition (Ukraine, Georgia, Balkans) is on the verge of collapse. This was so inevitable and obvious that I'm amazed Ukrainians actually voted the guy into office in the first place. What were they hoping to achieve with a nationalistic clown like him?
 
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Lance Blade    my mistake   1/24/2009 5:45:57 PM
Baltics, not Balkans. Like the Baltic sea. It's been a long day :(
 
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afrc       1/26/2009 10:25:26 PM
I think it's all about money. Ukraine is in the tough spot and is trying to make the best deal for itself. Russia does not want to pay the European price for transfer through Ukraine, while it wants to charge the full price. There are no rights or wrongs here - just business as usual.
 
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Lance Blade       2/6/2009 6:13:21 AM

I think it's all about money. Ukraine is in the tough spot and is trying to make the best deal for itself. Russia does not want to pay the European price for transfer through Ukraine, while it wants to charge the full price. There are no rights or wrongs here - just business as usual.

It may even be more interesting than that. On resolving the conflict, Putin and Timoshenko signed a contract which did away with an agent company RosUkrEnergo. This was supposedly an intermediary between Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz. From now on, the two will conduct business directly. RosUkrEnergo had an annual income on the scale of billions of dollars, yet no-one could figure out what the "carrier" actually did. It is my understanding that the Ukrainian cabinet was very much against closing the company down, but in the end, they conceeded. There have been rumours that this shawody company had links to Semyon Mogilevich, one of the most notorious Russian crime bosses on the planet. And that's about as far as anyone knows in open space on the internet.
 
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afrc       2/6/2009 9:50:32 PM


I think it's all about money. Ukraine is in the tough spot and is trying to make the best deal for itself. Russia does not want to pay the European price for transfer through Ukraine, while it wants to charge the full price. There are no rights or wrongs here - just business as usual.

It may even be more interesting than that. On resolving the conflict, Putin and Timoshenko signed a contract which did away with an agent company RosUkrEnergo. This was supposedly an intermediary between Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz. From now on, the two will conduct business directly. RosUkrEnergo had an annual income on the scale of billions of dollars, yet no-one could figure out what the "carrier" actually did. It is my understanding that the Ukrainian cabinet was very much against closing the company down, but in the end, they conceeded. There have been rumours that this shawody company had links to Semyon Mogilevich, one of the most notorious Russian crime bosses on the planet. And that's about as far as anyone knows in open space on the internet.
Really? I thought that Ukrainians wanted to cut the middleman out from the start. I've been reading this from the start... them complaining about this company stuck in between. In any case it would nice to find out who got all this money... perhaps government split it with crime organization of some sort. I am pretty sure that government is involved since the intermediary company was doing business for so long against all logic. Someone made a lot of money out of thin air.
 
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Lance Blade       2/7/2009 9:21:15 AM
The Ukrainians led an investigation into the company, but it was closed down in 2005 after Timoshenko ceased to be prime minister. I don't know about what Ukrainians complained and why, I admit I haven't heard about this company at all until this latest spat. It's all very murky... apparently there was an interview on Echo of Moscow once, where a guy explained to listeners just what RosUkrEnergo did. A prominent businessman, Alexander Lebedev, later said that he'd listened to that interview and could not make heads or tails of it, as if it was deliberately made to be as confusing as possible.
 
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afrc       2/7/2009 3:17:03 PM

The Ukrainians led an investigation into the company, but it was closed down in 2005 after Timoshenko ceased to be prime minister. I don't know about what Ukrainians complained and why, I admit I haven't heard about this company at all until this latest spat. It's all very murky... apparently there was an interview on Echo of Moscow once, where a guy explained to listeners just what RosUkrEnergo did. A prominent businessman, Alexander Lebedev, later said that he'd listened to that interview and could not make heads or tails of it, as if it was deliberately made to be as confusing as possible.

As I said... business as usual LOL.
 
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