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Czech News in English » Opinion » Why we don't have gas

Why we don’t have gas

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Politicians and gas companies in central Europe are looking mainly to the future: How long will the supplies suffice, how much gas will come through other pipelines and when will the Ukrainians and the Russians turn on the taps again? But taking a look back and trying to answer the question why we are suddenly without gas could help them too.

Option one: It is a business dispute. Ukraine’s Naftogaz and Russia’s Gazprom have been unable to agree on prices. This is suggested by the fact that the financial crisis has hit both countries seriously – the Russians need money for gas and the Ukrainians do not have money for gas.

Option two: Russia wants to pressure Ukraine, and the EU has become its hostage. Moscow has sensed that Kiev could come under its influence again thanks to the quarrelling Ukrainian politicians.

Option three: Russians (both officials and the mafia) have lost control over the profits coming from the nontransparent gas transit via Ukraine. The extent of embezzlement has exceeded the level that the Kremlin is used to. Corresponding to this option would be the statement by Naftogaz head Oleh Dubyna who said he wanted new contracts without any mediators.

Option four: Russia wants the EU to allow it to build gas routes outside Ukraine – that means Nord Stream and South Stream. However, central Europe does not like these routes, for it would lose transit fees as well as a direct connection to Russian sources as punishment for its “disobedience”.

Option five: The well-stocked Ukraine has entrapped Russia, which is fighting for its reputation as a reliable partner. This interpretation is suggested by the thus-far lax stance of Ukrainian politicians on the crisis.

Option six: Russia is running out of gas and is escalating the dispute with Ukraine to hide a shortage of investment in production and infrastructure. This is suggested by the warnings of experts who say that politicised companies controlled by the Kremlin prefer immediate profits to long-term investments.

Option seven: The EU is unable to negotiate with Russia and Ukraine as a united strong partner. And Moscow and Kiev benefit from that. The EU’s inability to produce at least a rudimentary energy policy is sufficient proof.

So why don’t we have gas? None of the answers can stand up on its own, but a combination of all of them can.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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