Streetwise Professor

October 13, 2011

Taking Out a Contract on Gazputin

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 4:26 pm

Two seemingly disparate stories involving Russia are linked to a subject I’ve written about a few times on SWP.

The first story is the Tymoshenko trial.  Let me start out by stating the the trial is a travesty, an example of the corrosive effects of criminalizing political disputes.  I would also add that the irony is thick enough to cut with a dull knife.  The firebrand of the (allegedly) anti-Russian  Orange Revolution being hauled into the dock by the man who was widely believed to be a pro-Russian toady, with the Russians criticizing the trial and its outcome as anti-Russian.  You could not make up this stuff.

Now to the linkage with the SWP subject.  The issue of the trial was the gas contract Tymoshenko negotiated with Gazprom and Russia in 2009.  It was like a subprime mortgage: a low teaser price, combined with a floating price in out years.  Specifically, Ukraine negotiated a low price for 2010, but the price was indexed to oil for the remaining 9 years. With the rise in oil prices in 2011, this hit Ukraine hard.  Prices for the 4Q, which are linked to prices of oil in the 3Q, will likely reach $400/mcm, in contrast to the $230 in Q1.  In other words, to get a political boost in the impending election 2010, Tymoshenko traded a widely-trumpeted short term price cut for a millstone that will hang around Ukraine’s neck for a decade. Like a subprime borrower, the end of the teaser rate and the kick-in of the indexed price is driving Ukraine to the brink.

Again, the punishment for this should have been purely political, not legal.  But it does not redound to Tymoshenko’s credit.

Oil-indexed contracts are also the (somewhat hidden) centerpiece of the second story.  Putin traveled to China this week.  The primary immediate purpose of this trip was to finalize agreement on a gas deal that Russia and China have been hammering out since 2006.  They’ve agreed on everything!  Uhm, except the price.

Russia/Gazprom insists on the oil linkage formula.  China refuses.  After numerous statements that a deal was imminent, it wasn’t.  (The photo of Putin dwarfed by the Chinese honor guard in the first link is a riot).  Proving, yet again, that you should discount heavily any representation about Gazprom’s coming contractual coups.  How do you know a Gazprom spokesman is lying?  His lips are moving.

The oil linkage mechanism is under pressure from the west and the east.  Gazprom clings to it desperately because it likely–and realistically–perceives that the market price of gas will fall relative to the price of oil in coming years.  Shale and LNG and the development of deeper spot markets will tend to keep gas prices down, but there is no corresponding bright spot on the horizon for oil.  Indeed, the likely peaking of oil production in Russia puts upward pressure on the price, which redounds to Gazprom’s benefit.  Thus, oil-linkage is a hedge against the financial impact of long term declines in Russian oil output.

Gazprom obviously sees this, but so do those whom it wants to sell to.  They realize that the good deal for Gazprom is a bad deal for them.  The Chinese can afford to be patient.  Customers in Europe, especially in Germany (finally!) are not willing to fall into Gazprom’s long-term contract trap.  The weak or politically driven–like Ukraine–may succumb, but others are pushing back.

Thus, it is increasingly likely that Gazprom will not be able to operate under the oil price umbrella, and exploit the fact that future expansions of oil supplies will be much harder to come by than future gas production increases.

This hits Russia hard in many ways.  First, it will limit a huge source of money flowing to connected parties in Russia.  Second, as pahoben pointed out in the comments, Gazprom is a notoriously inefficient company, with far more employees and far more capital employed to produce an mcm of gas than western companies.  It can survive under the oil price umbrella, but its prospects are far less favorable if it actually has to, you know, actually compete on price in the gas market.  Third, Gazprom subsidizes Russian gas consumers, and provides considerable sums for the budget.  A less profitable Gazprom produces domestic political problems, and creates fiscal challenges.

Gas contracting practices may seem to be a very arcane subject.  But they are a matter of freedom–literally–in Ukraine, and a matter of huge financial import in Russia, both nationally, and in the bank accounts of its corruptocracy.  Look for this issue to be a source of increasing conflict and controversy going forward, in Asia and in Europe.  If you had to choose one leading indicator of Russia’s future economic and political course, you could do worse than to focus on how it fares in gas contract negotiations.  Every compromise on oil linkage, every customer that walks away from an oil linked deal (as Turkey did, and as China has just done), is a thorn in Putin’s vitals.

In other words, Gazputin’s fate depends on his ability to browbeat buyers of gas into entering into oil-linked contracts.  He may be able to beat up on countries like Ukraine, but my sense is that he will have a much tougher row to hoe in Germany, and especially in China.  Again: music to my ears.

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30 Comments »

  1. This prosectution makes even less sense than that of Khodorkovsky, so it’s hardly suprising that it would come from a person Russia used to adore. Nobody claims ONE PENNY from this transaction went into Tymoshenko’s pocket. Since when can a government official be jailed for a policy error? Can Putin be jailed for Beslan? For the stock market? For the airplane crashes? We would not mind seeing Yulia in jail for a while if Putin could be right beside her.

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 13, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  2. Tymoshenko was not tried for a policy error, she was tried for misconduct (exceeding her power) that caused losses to the state. If you are convicted on this in the UK, you go to jail as well. The problem is not what she was tried for, the problem is how she was tried: the trial itself was a farce. But that is not in any way a new problem in Ukraine: the legal system did not get any worse than it was when Tymoshenko was in power. But since at that time she was the one abusing it rather than suffering from it, it suited her well. A sad story indeed, but much different from how it is generally told in the Western media.

    Comment by Ivan — October 14, 2011 @ 12:42 am

  3. […] – Concerning Ukraine and China’s Gazprom contracts. […]

    Pingback by FT Alphaville » Further reading — October 14, 2011 @ 1:14 am

  4. IVAN: You can’t name a figure of Tymoshenko’s stature who has ever even been accused of a similar act, much less sent to jail for seven years because of it, in Britain or any other civilized country. Tymoshenko was sent to jail for one simple reason: Her jailers disagreed with her policy on Russia. If this is the rule in Ukraine, it means that nobody in her right mind would enter public service, because any policy mistake could be viewed as “exceeding authority” and result in a lengthy jail term. Only people who are not already criminals would be willing to “serve” in such positions. This action is akin to national suicide by Ukraine.

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 14, 2011 @ 5:37 am

  5. Here is a snapshot of real life in Putin’s Russia. It is truly horrifying in every aspect. It is a neo-Soviet nightmare.

    On an early Thursday morning, students living in a Moscow dormitory were awoken by loudspeakers usually reserved for the fire alarm: “Leave the dormitory! Every student must leave the dormitory by 8 a.m.”

    President Dmitry Medvedev was coming to the Peoples’ Friendship University.

    In the week before Medvedev’s Sept. 22 visit, roads and fences at the campus were mended and cosmetic repairs made to selected dorms. Racist graffiti in elevators was painted over and garbage picked up. Students were ordered to clear their belongings out of sight.

    “Face-lifted street, empty buildings: Everything was ready to welcome the president. A nice little Potemkin village, set up to welcome the President of All Russia,” two foreign students wrote to The Moscow Times, asking for anonymity for fear of reprisal.

    “Medvedev’s visit, and everything that has been written about it, is a lie,” they wrote. “What the president was shown is by no means even remotely comparable to the real dormitories.”

    They titled their letter, “Dmitry in Wonderland.”

    With the start of a new academic year on Sept. 1, many university students have confronted decrepit, poorly equipped and often overcrowded dormitories, with rooms also rented out to migrant workers. Or they faced not getting a room in a dormitory at all and being forced to rent expensive private housing.

    Over the last two months, Medvedev has criticized the state of Russia’s dormitories at a series of meetings with students and university officials, and he has unveiled plans to repair the crumbling facilities and update them with things like Internet access and swimming pools.

    A lack of federal funds is half of the problem, said Alexei Krapukhin, deputy head of the Russian Student Union. But corruption and mismanagement are also an issue, he said, and the money that does arrive is allocated “in the wrong way.”

    Official statistics on the condition of Russia’s dormitories and the financing of repairs were not available. An inquiry submitted to the Education and Science Ministry on Sept. 26 went unanswered Thursday.

    Students were reluctant to comment on the record about living conditions. Those who complain to the Russian Student Union prefer to do so anonymously because they fear repercussions from university administrations, Krapukhin said.

    55 Rubles Rent Per Month

    At the Peoples’ Friendship University, Mevedev expressed satisfaction with what he saw — and hinted that he was aware that he wasn’t seeing the whole picture. He called the living conditions “rather decent” and added: “Probably, I wasn’t shown the worst dormitories,” according to a transcript on the Kremlin web site.

    Medvedev has displayed little patience for Potemkin villages in the past. In April, while visiting the Moscow region town of Lytkarino, Medvedev also accused local authorities of hiding shabby homes behind hastily erected fences. He said it reminded him of a Potemkin village — one of many fake towns that, legend claims, Prince Grigory Potyomkin set up in the 18th century to please the Russian empress, Catherine the Great.

    During Medvedev’s visit to the Peoples’ Friendship University, he was told that each student paid 55 rubles ($2) rent per month at the dormitory and had a free Internet connection in their rooms, NTV television and other media reported.

    But the students said they did not have free Internet and did not pay 55 rubles but had to wait for weeks for a paid Internet connection to be set up and paid 6,000 to 8,000 rubles ($185 to $250) per month for their rooms.

    Galina Kuzminova, a spokeswoman for the Peoples’ Friendship University, denied hiding the true situation from Medvedev and said the rent for the dormitory depended on how much students paid for their studies. She could not name exact sums.

    Krapukhin, of the Russian Student Union, said that by law the rent for a dormitory could not exceed 5 percent of a student’s stipend. This year, the stipend is 1,200 rubles ($37) for most students who study free of charge, so their rent should not exceed 60 rubles.

    Fire Safety Not Observed

    Worn-out electric cables are also a big problem in dormitories, sometimes causing life-threatening fires.

    Fire inspectors uncovered thousands of safety violations in dormitory checks in December 2003 after a deadly blaze a month earlier at the Peoples’ Friendship University. The fire killed 44 students — most of them from Asia, Africa and Latin America — and injured more than 100 others.

    More than 2,000 people faced administrative charges from that investigation. But in the end, it remains unclear how many were found guilty.

    In September 2005, a fire broke out before dawn in a dormitory at the Moscow State Open University, killing two students and injuring 11. A short circuit was suspected as the cause.

    A student at the Moscow Pedagogical State University who graduated this year said wiring at Dormitory No. 7 on Prospekt Vernadskogo, where she had lived, was old and could not support many electric devices. Short circuits often occurred, she said, and “a whole floor remained without lighting.”

    Students living in Dormitory No. 13 of the Peoples’ Friendship University said they are currently allowed to switch on only a few electric devices at once.

    Lack of Space

    The number of Russian students has grown since the introduction of the Unified State Exam in 2001, which enabled students from faraway locations to enter universities in big cities.

    “We have not, to our regret, managed to provide these guys the due number of places in the dormitories, while renting housing in Moscow and many big cities is economically unfeasible for most students,” Alexei Kazak, chairman of the Russian Student Trade Union, told Medvedev on Sept. 13, according to the Kremlin web site.

    Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko told Medvedev at a government meeting at the Peoples’ Friendship University on Sept. 22 that 10 percent of residents of Russian student dormitories do not work or study at the affiliated universities.

    Late last month, more than 100 illegal migrant workers were detained in a dormitory at the Moscow Energy Institute, Itar-Tass reported.

    That dormitory was officially closed for repairs but, in reality, was being leased out.

    Cosmetic Repairs

    Accompanied by students at the Peoples’ Friendship University, a Moscow Times reporter walked around the campus and saw Dormitory No. 13, with fresh cosmetic repairs but tiles falling off a bathroom wall, plaster peeling from a bedroom wall, cracks in a balcony wall and graffiti peeking through the paint in an elevators.

    The reporter also saw a torn electric cable hanging outside a first-floor window at another apartment block.

    Cosmetic repairs are conducted at the dormitories every year, and individual items are fixed when broken, said Kuzminova, the university’s spokeswoman.

    She could not say when the last time that the dormitories, some of which are 30 to 40 years old, underwent capital repairs. But she said repairs were done “as required by law.” She was reluctant to find out exactly when, saying it would “take a very long time.”

    Plans for Gyms and Internet

    Medvedev has promised that things will get better.

    “It is not a secret that many [dormitories] were built decades ago, and some hundreds of years ago, and have become outdated,” Medvedev told rectors, students and governors at a Sept. 13 meeting, according a transcript on the Kremlin web site.

    Student dormitories have to be “comfortable,” Medvedev said, and have gyms, medical centers, study rooms, Internet access — “which goes without saying” — and kitchens suitable for cooking “normal meals.”

    “We must strive for what exists at the leading universities in developed countries — campuses,” he said.

    One such campus is under construction at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, he said. Apart from “comfortable rooms,” it will have a swimming pool, a stadium and a medical center.

    It will also host next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and its construction is part of the 660 billion rubles ($24 billion) being spent to prepare the region for the event.

    Similar campuses are planned for construction at some other regional universities, including at the National University of Science and Technology, Medvedev said.

    “But … the situation with dormitories and campuses in general remains complicated,” he said.

    Reached by phone, a Kremlin spokesman referred questions about the students’ complaints about Medvedev’s visit to the Peoples’ Friendship University to the school administration.

    Toilet Keeps Flushing

    The foreign students who wrote to The Moscow Times said friends in Dormitory No. 9 lived for a long time last winter without glass in a window in their room, with the temperature inside dropping below 20 degrees Celsius.

    A Russian student interviewed outside Dormitory No. 9, where she was living, said yearly repairs were just “so-so.” She gave only her first name, Maria, for fear of reprisal and said she had been living in that dormitory for four years.

    Maria, who did not know the two foreign students who wrote to The Moscow Times, said she and her friends each paid an average monthly rent of 2,500 rubles, and the Internet in the rooms cost 400 rubles per month.

    Maria said they had been waiting for two months for the university administration to repair damage caused by leaking water pipes and fix peeling paint on the walls and a toilet that never stops flushing.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/students-want-medvedev-to-see-dorms/445479.html#ixzz1akssYiXI
    The Moscow Times

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 14, 2011 @ 5:37 am

  6. Ironic that a Potemkin President has liitle patience for Potemkin villages.

    Comment by pahoben — October 14, 2011 @ 6:42 am

  7. Speaking of Potemkin villages:

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 14, 2011 @ 8:31 am

  8. “Again: music to my ears.”

    And to Ours, for if an economic recovery were underway, there would be less of a divergence between contracted and spot NG prices.  We see the same in Algerian gas exports to Spain and Italy.  Due to the continuing depression in these economies, Algerian gas exports, tied to the oil price like Russia’s, have continued far below the volumes of 2008.  This effort by GAZPROM’s customers to break the tie with the oil price indicates that Europeans believe their economies will remain depressed for a long time. As you say, music to Our ears.  We see the many ways Our global financial crisis works to Our benefit, for in a depression, assets return to their rightful owners.  Imagine, the coming European collapse will not only deliver prime Greek, Spanish, and Italian real estate into Our hands, but after the Russian economic collapses after GAZPROM’s implosion due to lower NG prices, the Russian energy sector as well!  

    Yes, We,like you good Professor, feel the spreading, deepening global depression to be music to Our ears!

    All for Ourselves and nothing for other people!

    Comment by a — October 14, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  9. He now reportedly says he was foolish to invest time and money in support of Medvedev. The band will not play at Putin’s next inaugaral concert at the Kremlin.

    I really like some of their songs.

    I hope his taxes are in order.

    Comment by pahoben — October 14, 2011 @ 9:55 am

  10. “Indeed, the likely peaking of oil production in Russia puts upward pressure on the price, which redounds to Gazprom’s benefit. Thus, oil-linkage is a hedge against the financial impact of long term declines in Russian oil output.” A bit of wishful thinking here, Professor, since oil can be extracted from shale in the foothills of the Urals just as easily as from the Eagle Ford in South Texas…you seem to think all the fracking technologies will be kept out of Russia indefinitely but they’re already being transferred via Statoil’s linkup with Chesapeake in the Marcellus.

    However, I do agree with you that the price of gas cannot be linked with that of oil going forward. Russia will continue to be a safer place to invest in new oil output than Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and probably Nigeria too.

    Meanwhile, jaw jaw jaw on all these other topics while missing that even one of your favorite libertarians, Judge Andrew Napolitano, probably thinks this Iran Saudi Ambassador plot is a bunch of horse$#@% to get Fast and Furious off the front pages.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 14, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  11. > You can’t name a figure of Tymoshenko’s stature who has ever even been accused of a similar act, much less sent to jail for seven years because of it, in Britain or any other civilized country.

    Er, look up “the Tower of London”, in case you once decide to read something, rather than just write.

    > it means that nobody in her right mind would enter public service, because any policy mistake could be viewed as “exceeding authority”

    No, it means that nobody in their right mind should blatantly break the law just because they are in public service. That is precisely what would happen if the legal system were not so corrupt, largely thanks to Tymoshenko.

    >Tymoshenko was sent to jail for one simple reason: Her jailers disagreed with her policy on Russia.

    Her policy on Russia was “make sure Gazputin rips off Ukraine beyond his wildest dreams”. Would be good if she were sent to jail for that. Unfortunately, the real reason is that her gang of thugs just lost a turf war to another gang. As hard as it may be for you to imagine, some people have interests beyond Russia.

    Comment by Ivan — October 14, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

  12. That’s because, “The Ukraine” is not a real country. (Neither is that shrivelled stump called “RF” for that matter).
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/dmitry-vydrin/ukrainian-strategy-take-nothing-seriously

    Comment by So? — October 15, 2011 @ 1:32 am

  13. Heh…no takers on mine and a’s plutocratic representative comments. But that’s to be expected. The cognitive dissonance between being an ornery Jacksonian who wants a foreign policy to confront those perpetually corrupt and backward Russkies and the slide of these United States into a Third World kleptocracy is too much to bear.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 15, 2011 @ 3:06 am

  14. “…the slide of these United States into a Third World kleptocracy is too much to bear.”

    For some. But this is merely the return of the natural order of things, after that… Unspeakable… Franklin Roosevelt (spits) deranged them almost eighty years ago. Oh how We chafed in Egyptian bondage for nearly forty years! But then, miraculously, the ideas of the Chicago School came into intellectual ascendance, and Our yoke (Oh how heavy it was! We shudder at the memory!) began to lift!

    And now it is gone, and We are now unrestrained in the exercise of Our first principle:

    All for Ourselves and nothing for other people.

    We have the intellectual forebears of Our good Professor to thank for the lifting of that yoke of regulation, and We do appreciate his efforts to ridicule and impede those who would re-impose that yoke of regulation on Us.

    Comment by a — October 15, 2011 @ 4:34 am

  15. FDR is the father of modern America.

    Comment by So? — October 15, 2011 @ 6:11 am

  16. IVAN:

    So you’re saying Margaret Thatcher was locked up in the Tower of London for deciding to invade the Falklands? Are you mental?

    NOBODY says Tymoshenko GOT ONE SINGLE PENNY from this transaction. The ONLY reason she was sent to prison is that some people think she could have got a better deal, i.e., they disagree with her POLICY.

    Any competent person seeing this result would conclude she should not enter politics in Ukraine since she might be sent to prison over a disagreement.

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 15, 2011 @ 6:24 am

  17. @a–when you find your next clue, it will also be your first.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 15, 2011 @ 7:16 am

  18. >The ONLY reason she was sent to prison is that some people think she could have got a better deal

    Obviously, you don’t even know what charges she was convicted on. But hey, who said you need to know anything else when you already know how to use caps lock?

    Comment by Ivan — October 15, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  19. Dearest Professor,

    We pay others to do that for Us. As with most other things, We do not soil Our hands with such trivialities. We work to expand the share of income accruing to Capital, and rest assured We deeply appreciate your ridicule of those who would oppose Us, especially Our rebellious servant Vladimir.

    Comment by a — October 15, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  20. I dunno [email protected] FDR was good for some serious war contracts for your plutocrat bosses, and didn’t have much to say while they systematically armed the Third Reich to the teeth for that expected liquidation of the Bolshevik entity (as predicated in Mein Kampf) since their servant Iosef V. was not quite as efficient as the Fuhrer — though he also did business with your fellow New York-London oligarchs via the Harrimans and Hammers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PqM-CMoa9M

    Rest assured, there are still some smarting from the fact that God saw fit to place so many natural resources under the tutelage of such boorish or inferior Russians.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 15, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  21. “they systematically armed the Third Reich to the teeth for that expected liquidation of the Bolshevik entity (as predicated in Mein Kampf) since their servant Iosef V. was not quite as efficient as the Fuhrer — though he also did business with your fellow New York-London oligarchs via the Harrimans and Hammers.”

    Our dear Mr. X,

    You fail to see the difference between Our dealings with Our faithful, if somewhat confused, servant Adolpf and that… Stalin. You see, while We did build plants in Stalin’s Russia, he paid Us for them. And We must confess, he made distressingly effective use of those industrial capabilities.

    On the other hand, We invested in Adolph’s Germany.

    Comment by a — October 15, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  22. Hehe… Who knows, perhaps FDR prolonged the Depression on purpose, so that unlike 25 years earlier, the masses were more enthusiastic about working or fighting. Or maybe FDR just had good advisors.

    Comment by So? — October 15, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

  23. Hmmm, the third Reich Nationalist Socialists (they were actually left wing conspiracy nutters like the retarded Mr.X one might add) armed themselves.

    Not much American equipment, or British, or French for that matter, was used by the Wermacht, and that which was was used by them as war booty, just as the Allies used German tanks in North Africa on occasion, a somewhat risky business however as the chance of being shot by your own side was rather high.

    However, if you are saying the Russians helped arm and equip Nationalist Socialist Germany, you would be right.

    Research shows that Germany’s early war effort would have been impossible without the assistance of Internationalist Socialist Russia.

    @LR, actually it was the Argentinians who invaded the Falklands, Thatcher just kicked the Junta out, caused the collapse of a military dictatorship in Argentina etc.

    Oh and she hammered the unions hard too.

    Comment by Andrew — October 16, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  24. “Hmmm, the third Reich Nationalist Socialists (they were actually left wing conspiracy nutters like the retarded Mr.X one might add) armed themselves.”

    Did We say We armed Nazi Germany? Why no, Andrew, We did not. We made loans to Nazi Germany, and made investments in Nazi Germany.

    Now, Our faithful servant Neville Chamberlain gave the Skoda Works of Pilzen and Prague, one of Europe’s great steelmaking and armaments complexes, to Nazi Germany. Fully a third of the “German” tanks that conquered Poland and France were Skoda products.

    Comment by a — October 16, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  25. Oh, and Our colleague Montagu Norman delivered Czechoslovakia’s gold reserves to Nazi Germany with great alacrity.

    Comment by a — October 16, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  26. So “a” are you admitting you are also trolling as “Mr X”???

    Comment by Andrew — October 17, 2011 @ 4:32 am

  27. Sorry “a” but the Munich treaty only gave Germany the Sudetenland, where the Czechoslovakians had been treating the ethnic German majority fairly poorly.

    The Skoda works in Prague and Pilsen were taken during the German invasion “Operation Southeast” on 15 March 1939.

    This was in no way part of the Munich agreement.

    It is a pity you are so uneducated.

    Comment by Andrew — October 17, 2011 @ 4:43 am

  28. Our dearest Andrew,

    Had you even a modicum of knowlege of the region, you would know that Pilzen is indeed in the Sudetenland. Czechoslovakia’s fortifications were as well, which means that Our assiduous servant Neville placed Prague in Our servant Adolph’s open hand.

    And then Our colleague Montagu Norman delivered Czechoslovakia’s gold reserves to the Reichsbank in early 1939!

    Comment by a — October 17, 2011 @ 6:40 am

  29. … Pilzen is indeed in the Sudetenland.

    Well, no, not quite.

    Comment by peter — October 17, 2011 @ 7:52 am

  30. Tymoshenko was convicted of signing a gas-purchase agreement in 2009 with Russia that supposedly contained unfavorable terms for Ukraine. The same charges might have been leveled against German General Alfred Jodl who signed Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender to the Allies on May 7, 1945.

    Read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/tymoshenko-is-no-khodorkovsky/445765.html#ixzz1bEJenSrK

    Comment by La Russophobe — October 19, 2011 @ 6:26 am

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