Oil & Gas, Ukraine Orange Revolution and Russia

During the 2004 Ukrainian Presidential Election, an unprecedented event took place. For the first time since 1991, a Ukrainian politician dared opposing the position of Ukraine as a satellite of Russia and showed signs that he wanted “to get rid of Russian grip over his country”, this man is Viktor Yushchenko. The other man participating in the elections was Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Accusing the last of rigging the elections, a political struggle began between the two candidates to the Ukrainian Presidency. During this struggle, a terrible event took place : Yushchenko was poisoned and immediately his partisans blamed Yanukovych. But unusually, while normally behind the Head of The Government Prime Minister Yanukovych, Ukrainian Security Services, who were aware of his doubtful activities and ties in the business world, helped the political opposition led by Yushchenko. Indeed, on November 28 2004, when Prime Minister Yanukovych ordered ten thousand troops of the interior ministry’s security forces to be mobilized in order to prevent the manifestation planned by the political opposition in the capital city Kiev’s Independence Square, the officers of the Ukrainian Security Services warned Yushchenko about the planned mobilization. They justified their act as “prevention of bloodshed”. Moreover, the Ukrainian Security Services commanding officers did not sincerely want Yanukovych to become president and began performing mutiny acts justifying them now that Yushchenko is president, as part of their duty to protect their country and preventing men like Yanukovych from taking power is part of that duty. Of course, normally it wouldn’t be tolerated but the exceptional circumstances under which Ukraine was requested to make personal deductions and taking the adequate actions. So they literally provided the political opposition with evidence (wiretap recordings, classified documents etc.) proving Yanukovych’s obscure ties with some businessmen as well as scandalous documents proving electoral fraud. But if Yanukovych lost even control over his security services, how could have he been able to pursue his election frauds and actions alike it ? Well according to some sources, it is thanks to Russian support that he has been able to stand tight in his position. How does Russia justifies its involvement in the elections of a foreign country ? According to the Russians, Yushchenko was tied with a criminal and sworn enemy of the Kremlin : Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. The fact is that Berezovsky financed through fake companies the campaign of Yushchenko although it is forbidden by Ukrainian Law that any foreigner participates in one way or another in “National Political Affairs” which include elections as well. Berezovsky even confirmed meeting with Yushchenko’s representatives in London but made no allegations whatsoever about financial support of the Political Opposition. On the other hand, Yanukovych did the same as he was awarded Kremlin consultants and advisers to help him with his political actions, met several times during the elections with Russian President Vladimir Putin, received support speech in the Russian-State-Controlled Media and was even provided with Russian-State-Controlled businesses financial help. Some even pretend that the Kremlin was the instigator and executor of Yushchenko’s poisoning as Yanukovych could have never done it alone without the support of his Security Services ; but of course those allegations are not proven yet and can be disputed and non taken seriously. Eventhough Putin’s protégé lost the elections, the opposition came to power in Ukraine and Russia lost the country as one of its last zones of influence, the Kremlin did not say his last word. Indeed, following presidential elections in Ukraine, Russian oil companies, mainly Gazprom, suddenly have risen gas prices from fifty dollars per thousand cubic meters to two hundred and thirty ! Alleging even more that if Ukraine does not comply with the newly fixed prices, these oil companies, surely under Kremlin pressure, would close their hydrocarbons delivery through pipelines crossing Ukrainian territory causing as such a huge downfall in the country’s national income.

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