January 14, 2015
Translated from German by Tom Winter
Just a few days after Angela Merkel cleared the way for 1.8 billion Euros of taxpayer money in credit for Arseny “Yats” Yatsenyuk, Russia has put forward its interest in the money: Moscow is contemplating calling in its loan to Kiev. Russia wants, with this chess move, in particular to push speculator George Soros into the parade.
Russia could use the EU payments to call in a loan which falls due at the end of January, and which Kiev cannot serve out of its own resources: Moscow could demand prompt payment of a hard three billion dollar loan to Ukraine. Ukraine has not met a number of conditions, according to the Russian press agency Ria-Novosti on Saturday, citing government sources. Under these circumstances, Russia would be forced to insist on earlier repayment.
President Putin had indicated weeks earlier, in a November interview with ARD, that they would not insist on early repayment, since otherwise it would put the Ukrainian financial system in danger. The news agencies, citing Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, say the decision has not been made yet, but that Ukraine has not met the conditions.
Russia made the loans in December 2013, just a few months before the ouster of pro-Russian President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich. The agreement was that Russia could demand prompt repayment any time the mass of Ukrainian debt passed 60% of its economic output. With the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the economic situation has collapsed and this mark has been far surpassed. Putin has repeatedly put the EU on notice, that he expects them to be responsible for the indebtedness of Ukraine.
A few days back, Germany assigned a credit guarantee of half a billion Euros to Ukraine, to finance the reconstruction of East Ukraine. Since the visit of Arseny Yatsenyuk to Berlin, the Chancellor Angela Merkel turned on the green light for a further credit of 1.8 billion Euros through the EU. What Ukraine would do with the European taxpayer money is not prescribed.
The chess move is rather refined, though it may be, on the part of Putin, not exactly a bluff: up against the sanctions, Russia is under pressure, and basically cannot be giving away any further finance presents.
The Russians may have brought into the idea not least, George Soros, who, for his part, has called upon the EU for Ukraine funding, so Ukraine can pay what it owes him.
If the Russians stand firm, Soros may have outspeculated himself [sich verspekuliert (!) —tr], unless the EU transferred further billions to Ukraine, (since in the EU point of view, the values of the West are getting maintained in Ukraine), the European heads of state and administration were to sacrifice their erstwhile so careful handling of taxpayer money to a superordinate cause.