Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
8th January, 2016
A short history of gas delivery to Genichesk.
The sequence of events was a bit strange.
1. It was reported that allegedly the mayor of Genichesk asked for help from Russia, because the city was freezing.
2. This request was considered by the Kremlin who was instructed to assist Genichesk.
3. The mayor of Genichesk later issued a denial that anyone asked for help. The junta also announced all of this was fake.
4. However, the gas to Genichesk arrived and 14,000 cubic metres of gas was “shipped”. Aksenov said that Crimeans perfectly understand the distinction between the government and Ukrainian citizens.
5. Eventually, we found out that the gas in Genichesk did arrive, but the junta pretended it was gas from Crimea, not gas from Russia.
Actually, it is quite obvious that the story of Genichesk has instances of ordinary people’s propaganda overtones, which has served Russia with the card of “the junta comes and goes, and the Ukrainian nation remains”, and the junta in turn used a traditional approach, that Moscow lies and is only hurtful. Using this logic, it is quite clear from the conflicting statements of the parties. As for the residents of Genichesk, they don’t care where it came from, in this case the gas came from Crimea.
Of course, on the background of the refusal of the government to pay the debt and continuing of the blockade, such generosity from Russia is hard to understand. But given the small volume of the gas, it is not as crucial as the issue with the discount on gas or say the ongoing blockade of the DPR and LPR, where the junta is not eager to ease the plight of ordinary citizens (‘water’ has been added to the transport blockade).
In this sense, I would say that if Russia tried to exploit the internal situation in Ukraine in search of its collapse, it is something strange to offer assistance to the junta-controlled territories without charge. In theory, the worse the situation, the more likely that people will hit the streets and demand change. But that policy would only be valid if regime change in Ukraine was a priority. In line with the option to freeze the conflict, the current approach is not surprising. The moral superiority in the idea that “we will not stoop to the level of the government and do not want to harm civilians” is clear. The big question remains in what Russia wants from Ukraine in general and how they are going to get it.