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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

07 March 2006

No gas deal before the elections in Ukraine

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov has said that an agreement with Russia about natural gas supplies will come after the March 26 election (link). This is the agreement that is supposed to settled long-term the dispute over volumes and prices which turned awry in December / January and which was resolved for the first half of 2006.

This postponement is hardly surprising since both sides have an interesting in waiting. Russia can maintain the fear in the mind of Ukrainian voters that its supplies are in jeopardy if it gets too close to the West; also, signing a deal now would accord the Yushchenko government a victory that Moscow would hardly wish to give. Ukraine is probably betting that a victory for the current administration would improve its negotiating position since it would show that Russia’s crass tactics did not pay off and produced a backlash.

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