Well, dear readers, I was only going to post once today…….but then I read a post by Charles Crawford on the wonderful http://charlescrawford.biz entitled “Sub-nation States – For Sale”
Excellent points made throughout his post and ones with which I have to concur.
This inspired me to write a few rambling lines about Arab money, Russian amition and Chinese subversion, a phrase taken from what he wrote……..as all 3 equally apply to Ukraine although it is not a “sub-nation State”……. unless we are to count the Autonomous Replublic of Crimea which could be massaged to fit that status……in which case Ukraine possess a sub-State within it’s borders.
It is of course no secret that Russia has an “interest” in Ukraine and the happenings therein…….as Ukraine does regarding Russia of course.
Russian ambitions may no longer be territorial regarding the entire nation. It is unlikely that in the current circumstances Russian tanks will be rolling through the country.
Not withstanding this, there are of course voices within Russia who lay claim to Crimea as Russian territory (for example), Crimea having been gifted to Ukraine in 1954. A friend of mine, Yuri Luzhkov (Mayor of Moscow) is amongst those voices. It is an opinion I do not share with him and it is an opinion which has managed to get him banned from Ukraine. For me however, it is not a reason to halt our interaction.
Ukraine, as we all know, was kicked well and truly in the teeth during the financial crisis. It will be 2012 – 2014 before it recovers……..assuming there is not another financial tsunami over the horizon. If there is, then the UK and Messers Brown and Darling will not be able to compare the decade of austerity which lays ahead for Ukraine.
Russian ambition has never been so well placed to enter, buy up and control the business assets of Ukraine. I am not talking about the State owned assets…….although we will see where the majority of what gets privatised goes…….and who the “partners” are behind the smoke and mirrors within the Cyprus and BVI holding companies which take ownership.
I am talking about large to medium sized privately owned companies. Rumours abound that the Ukrainian Stock Exchange will be bought up by the Russians……..not the stocks alone, but the Exchange itself. Sovereign and commercial foreign currency loan defaults are looming……and may well have already occurred if it was not for the political black eyes which would have been recieved with an election in 2 days.
This house of cards may well fall by March when the elections are over though.
Who better to buy up struggling assets than the Russian oligarchy……directed or otherwise by a political agenda.
No language barrier, no differences in business mentality, close proximity and a shared Russian/Ukrainian business elite.
Chinese subversion? I know, I know……they are not likely to overthrow the government of Ukraine…….but corruption is a pandemic in Ukraine and subverting major and minor influencial figures with the money China has at it’s disposal is not a problem. China buys huge amount of steel from Ukraine at prices higher than they can produce it themselves for example……stock piling? Hmmm
China has agreed to provide a huge amount of money for road construction and infrastructure to Ukraine…….hardly projects with major returns on capital employed even over the very long term. So what is in it for China? Nothing has been said by either side. Cut price AAU’s maybe? Bilateral trade agreements which will provide a very slanted playing field? Miliatry development design cooperation? Licencing to make Ukrainian goods in China? Who knows…….China may not be a Greek, but the gifts it is bearing will have a significant price to pay no doubt.
So what of Arab money? Libya is about to spend a truly mammouth amount of money in Ukraine……subject to the legalities of paperwork……..and is likely to take on assets like Odessa Portside. Also in return various promises have been made by Ukraine regarding “technical knowledge” in refineries……..and “other areas”.
Which other areas? Ukraine is the worlds 6th biggest Arms dealer……..it is something they do well.
So whilst Russia, Arabia and China are buying up hard assets, influencing business and by default politics (as business and politics are symbiotic here not only in nature but by the people involved in both)…….what is the USA and the EU doing?
Well, Baronness Ashton is concerning herself with such influential EU projects as “rule of law and the judiciary” as well as the “Free Trade Agreement”……currently being stalled by Ukraine. The USA? Well for 6 months or more, it didn’t even have an Ambassador in Ukraine. Now the poor sod who was Georgian Amassador during the time the Russian/Georgian spat took place has arrived…….during a time of even more political upheaval than normal.
In the meantime…….and believe me I know (but I can’t tell you what due to NCND contracts)………the elite here are quitely doing deals with anyone who has money, regardless of national interest in the longer term.