In this study I will try to survey how Ukrainian oligarchs acted in the course of 2014 upheaval.
Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, whose rule collapsed as a result of the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014, had been a party of interests, not of ideology. For the first couple of years (2010–2011) it was rather a coalition of several factions, with their interests more or less respected.
The balance of power and interests of early years came to be disrupted by greedy expansion of the Yanukovich Family. It began to grow rapidly assumedly around the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012. The President’s son Oleksandr Yanukovich coordinated building of the Family empire, with help from intimate oligarchs like Serhiy Kurchenko and Yuliy Ivanyushchenko. Even some Ministers of national government contributed to money making schemes for the Family. Its spheres expanded sometimes even to the detriment of oligarchs who had been loyal to the regime. By the time mass demonstrations began at the end of 2013, the regime was no longer monolithic, losing full loyalty from Rinat Akhmetov and Dmitro Firtash, the 2 giant oligarchs of the Yanukovich era.
Petro Poroshenko supported the Maidan movement most actively among famous oligarchs. Akhmetov, who used to be the biggest sponsor of the Yanukovich Regime, is also believed to have financed Maidan. Key persons of the Yanukovich Family and Andriy Klyuyev, on the other hand, insisted on ruthless suppression of Maidan.
Vitaly Klichko, one of the most popular potential candidates of upcoming presidential elections, announced withdrawal from the race in March 2014. This even more ensured victory of Petro Poroshenko in elections on 25 May. Some experts believe that Firtash arranged Poroshenko=Klichko alliance, fearing that his rival Yuliya Tymoshenko might become president and get revenge on him. In Ukraine’s elections, most candidates traditionally appeal to anti-oligarch propaganda. Paradoxically it was Poroshenko, one of the most famous oligarchs in Ukraine, who won the 2014 presidential elections.
There are no clear evidence that the oligarchs, who have business interests on the Crimean Peninsula, either supported actively Russia’s incorporation of Crimea or, oppositely, resisted it. It is well known, however, that Sergei Aksenov, who became Premier of Crimean AR and led its incorporation into Russian Federation, had been fostered by Firtash as a politician. Some experts hence believe that Firtash at least tacitly approved incorporation of Crimea. But in reality Firtash’s business on the Peninsula, for example titanium business, is threatened by changes of jurisdiction.
In April–May 2014 some suspected that Rinat Akhmetov, a longtime lord of the region, stood behind pro-Russian separatist movements in Donbass. It is true that Akhmetov contacted separatists and attempted to use them. But he only needed a bargaining chip in relations with Kiev. It is very doubtful wheather Akhmetov really committed to separatism of Donbass. If Donbass will be independent from Ukraine or incorporated into Russian Federation, his ferrous metallurgy will inevitably collapse. At present Akhmetov is in distress because of warfare in Donbass and other unpleasant realities.
This essay traces on the evolvements of Russian political class over the issue of Ukraine from the demise of the USSR to 2014 crisis, culminating in the annexation of the Crimea peninsula. Russian attitudes towards the rebirth of Ukraine nationalism were ambiguous, especially among elite level.
The August coup against the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev took place in Ukraine, where its nationalistic elements were independent oriented, while the conservatives, including the military industrial complex were negative. After the December 1991 referendum, where opinions were in favor for independence, Leonid Kravchuk, once ideological secretary of the Ukraine communist party could rely on the support of the West oriented voice of western Ukraine, where European and Catholic influence was vocal. From the Russian point of view, this region was alien from the Orthodox tradition and was never been part of the Russian Empire. Thus, Ukraine as the nation state was weak and far from united as political identity was concerned. Economy was also divided between agrarian west and the east, where Soviet type of military industrial complex was dominant. This east-west divide caused political instability in Ukraine, that was revealed when Kravchuk was replaced by Kuchima who first relied on the support of Russian speaking east, though he eventually turned to the west.
Moscow was particularly concerned the fate of the Black Sea fleet and Crimea, where Russians were dominant and never belonged to Ukraine until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, Ukrainian oriented Soviet leader changed the status of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine. Though Russian President Boris Yel’tsin was in favor for the Ukraine status quo, his nationalistic minded semi-oppositionists like Moscow Mayor Luzhkov were against the Ukraine position overt the fleet and Crimea. It was only pragmatism of Yevgeny Primakov, Foreign Minister, who could pass the bill on the partnership in 1997.
New President Vladimir Putin was more oriented Russian nationalism, and was particularly against the color revolution, when western oriented President Yushchenko won over the East oriented Yanukovich in a 2004 election. East-West divide, coupled with the corruption and ungovernavility, became Kremlins worry on Ukraine. Still they succeeded in winning Yanukovich victory in the following election and could deal over the 25 years continuation of the Black Sea Fleet, in turn for cheaper gas supply in 2010.
Ukraine thus became a grand over which domestic East-West divide was coupled by the influence of the NATO-EU and Moscow contested. The Maidan revolution was thus seen from Kremlins nationalists oriented policy makers to be an attempt to cut the influence of Russia over Ukraine. The Izborskii club or another religious-Orthodox oriented politicians were thus backing sudden policy changes of the President Putin, who took Maidan revolution as another attempt of regime change by the West, and eventually annexed the Crimea Peninsula. Thus, in turn, brought about the civil war situation, particularly in the east Ukraine, that was already uncontrolled by neither Moscow nor Kiev authority.
To deal effectively with global security issues and the changing security environment, how to build and develop effective national security policies has been an important issue today. In this context, the function of the National Security Council (NSC) has been focused on, though there are some other decision making bodies, because of its ability that would solve the hard political decisions from cross-departmental perspective. According to the prior researches (Vendil-Pallin 2001, Hyodo 2004; 2009; 2012, White 2008), under the Putin regime (May 2000–) the Russian Security Council has enlarged its function and started to play the more important role of decision-making process in contrast to the Yeltsin era. This trend is going to continue into the Tandem (under the Medvedev administration from 2008–2012) and the Second Putin government (May 2012–).
At the same time (May 2000–), to build “vertical power”, President Putin has started several federal reforms, such as series of legislative amendments which changed the formation of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, the creation of “federal districts”, and the appointments of plenipotentiary representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a federal district. Remarkably every representative was mainly a person from the “Power Ministry” or “Saint-Petersburg” and also holds the status of Russian Security Council membership.
Previous works are not enough to examine the enlarged function of the Russian Security Council in the political reforms of the Putin era. This study looks into the role of Russian Security Council in Putin’s centralization like building “vertical power” and aims to provide a viewpoint for present state analysis on the Russian politics. As with every NSC in the world, the Russian Security Council is also an advanced secret organ. Thus, this study points out the personnel policies for the members of the Security Council and representatives in every federal district by analyzing public information such as legal documents (Presidential Decree and Federal Law).
Reflected on the legislation of the new federal law on Security on December 28 2010, President Medvedev signed a presidential decree on the revised Regulation of the Russian Security Council. The new Regulation not only tightened its control power to the other state organs, but systematized local meetings held in every federal district, in which the secretary of the Security Council, presidential represent who covers the district, and federal and regional officials participate. In the meeting, the secretary of the Russian Security Council N.P. Patrushev, who assisted Putin for many years from when they worked together at the control division of the Presidential office, plays an important role in “realizing” the state program at the regional level.
This paper concludes that the main mission of the Russian Security Council includes not only planning the national security policies or military affairs, but coordinating (or controlling) the relationship between federal government and regional leadership.
Regulations on the flaring and utilisation of associated petroleum gas (APG) have been in place since the early 1980s. Their purpose is environmental conservation and the effective use of limited natural resources. The formation on international frameworks, such as the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction, which was launched in the 2000s, and the raising of environmental awareness in emerging and developing countries have also decreased the amount of APG flaring around the world. In Russia, however, the situation on APG utilization and flaring is entirely different. Here, the utilisation of APG has not improved since the 1990s. Even now, Russia remains the world’s largest APG-flaring country. This means that it is now explicitly confronted with problems on APG flaring and utilisation, while it struggles to adapt to global environmental protection trends and to modernise its economy.
President Putin regards this problem as one of Russia’s most urgent tasks. On the 26 April 2007, at the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, he ordered his government to design solutions to achieve a more than 95% effective APG-usage level (less than 5 % flaring). In addition, the 7th government decision was selected, a policy that can enforce a fine for flaring over 5% of all APG and also for the use of infrastructure in oil fields that does not meet standards of approval. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of this fine policy remains limited. This situation suggests that the APG-flaring-and-utilisation problem in Russia has its own specificity and that it should not only be analysed from the current situation, but from the perspective of the continuity or incoherence of the Soviet Union actors, policies and institutions surrounding it, during this country’s transition to a market economy.
As mentioned above, the APG utilisation and flaring in Russia is one of the most urgent environmental and economic problems among this country’s hydrocarbon industries. This study attempts to give some explanation on this situation. First, it analyses long-term APG-utilisation trends in Russia. Then, actors, policies and institutions involved in Russia’s APG utilization and flaring are traced. Finally, through the above-mentioned analysis, this paper tries to explain the situation and factors of Russia currently being the largest flaring country.
This study aims to clarify Sergei Prokofiev’s compositional characteristics and techniques used in his late piano sonatas through both aesthetic and theoretical analyses based on the manifestation of his so-called “five lines.” This research also focuses on the historical background and conceptual origin of his five lines to highlight his usage of these lines in his works. In his autobiography, Prokofiev specifically mentioned that his five lines permeated all his compositions. These lines have distinct musical characteristics: classical, which takes a neo-classical form in pieces such as sonatas or concertos and is indispensable for exploring the form and structure of his piano sonatas; modern, which is mainly found in his harmonic language, including melody, orchestration and dramatic features; toccata or motor, traceable to the Toccata Op. 7, which is one of Robert Schumann’s solo piano works, and its driving energy from its repetitive rhythmic pattern reflecting the industrialization of the early 20th century; lyrical, which reflects a thoughtful and meditative mood and links long melodic lines, showing Prokofiev’s romanticism; and grotesque, a term used by his contemporaries that Prokofiev himself described as “scherzo-ish.” In addition, Prokofiev’s five lines manifest his standing in music among his contemporaries, and compositions based on them echo several aesthetic ideas such as neo-classicism, primitivism and constructivism. Prokofiev’s musical career in piano sonatas is generally divided into the following three periods. The first period constitutes his formative years in Russia, namely 1891–1918 (Piano Sonatas Nos. 1–4); the second period includes his years in the USA and Europe, namely 1918–1936 (Piano Sonata No. 5), and the third period includes his final years in the U.S.S.R., namely 1936–1953 (Piano Sonatas Nos. 7–9). Prokofiev wrote many works during this latter period, which include ballet music for “Romeo and Juliet” Op. 64 and “Cinderella” Op. 87 and film music for “The Queen of Spades” Op. 70, the opera “War and Peace” Op. 91, and Symphony No. 5 Op. 100. Above all, his late Piano Sonatas (i.e., No. 6 Op. 82, No. 7 Op. 83, and No. 8 Op. 84), commonly referred to as “The War Sonatas” since they were composed during the Second World War, are most representative of his piano writing. However, previous analytical studies on his late piano sonatas allow plenty of scope to reconsider these works for an aesthetic and historical investigation against the political background at the time (such as against the existing socialist realism). This study explores Prokofiev’s five lines principle and its compositional practice against the social background in his later works to illustrate the composer’s approach during the political repression of the time. The results of this investigation show that, despite the intense political pressure in the U.S.S.R. during the 1930s and 1940s, Prokofiev managed to maintain his own musical identity and expressive style through his manifestation of the five lines concept.
The perspective of a split of modern Ukraine into the East (Donbass) and the West (the rest) remains one of the most pressing issues in the discussions over pessimistic scenarios of the current unfolding crisis. While the US and the EU have imposed an array of sanctions on Russia in response to the annexation of Crimea and the crisis in the Donbass region, the first Minsk ceasefire has failed on the ground. From this point of view, this study aims, firstly, to clarify the actual conditions that explain the so called “east- west division” in modern Ukraine, based on an analysis of previous research and qualitative data, and putting a particular focus on the timeframe from Euromaidan to the war in Donbass. In the following section, this study aims to explore the actual conditions prevailing in Ukrainian society and in people’s minds as a result of the changing dynamics themselves, using reference data from the Kyiv International Institution of Sociology and the Razumkov Center, in addition to the questionnaire survey that was conducted by the author.
The actual information provided by statistics and sociological research indicates that the issue of the country’s split is a kind of myth and is basically a product of an artificial concept inspired mainly by both internal and external political actors. In other words, the division in Ukraine stems from political struggles rather than an east-west divided society originating in the cleavage of Ukraine as well as in Europe and Russia. Indeed, at the time of the Euromaidan demonstrations in Kyiv, protestors made it clear that the challenge was not between one region and another, but between the corrupt elites and the people, whatever region they are from. It is obvious that Euromaidan, in essence, was aimed at achieving the drastic political reforms, however, the Crimean and Donbass crisis should be defined as a political phenomenon, which includes the external factors.
Although the current situation should be defined using the above-mentioned elements, some analysts still argue that the crisis has exposed deep divisions in Ukrainian society between the European-oriented west and the Russian-oriented east. However, this understanding is not adequate, and it maybe more correct to state that no single factor can capture or explain this crisis. What is happening in Ukraine is complicated and is driven by many factors. This means that we should take into consideration changes in the social environment of Ukraine as well as the other factors that exists in Ukrainian society and that caused the “division”. In this process, it becomes clear that the consciousness of civil society has produced some positive changes in demonstrating a sense of solidarity. On the other hand, political and economic issues significantly influence the Ukrainian society, and they are the conceivable cause of this divided society. Nevertheless, this study is still ongoing and needs further consideration before revealing what the causal co-relations and its final conclusions are.
The USSR was one of the main grain importing countries, because their grain production was insufficient for domestic consumption, including livestock feeding. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia’s agricultural production was dramatically curtailed through the 1990s, but in the 2000s, Russia returned to the international grain market as an emerging and one of the main wheat exporting countries.
The primary reason for Russia’s transformation from a grain importing to a grain exporting country was its dramatic decrease in feed grain consumption in the 1990s, which was caused by reduced livestock production and the recovery of grain production in the 2000s. Russia’s livestock production recovered substantially in the latter half of the 2000s, but the increase in Russia’s feed grain consumption has been relatively small. It seems meaningful to analyze this phenomenon and to anticipate, to what extent further recovery of Russia’s livestock production will influence its feed grain consumption and grain exporting capacity.
This paper attempts this analysis by examining concentrate feed consumption (mostly of grain) in Russian agricultural enterprises by types of livestock products (beef, pork, milk, etc.) and the contribution of two factors (“quantity of livestock production” and “concentrated feed conversion ratio”) to changes in concentrate feed consumption. The results of this analysis reveal two main reasons for the relatively small increase in feed grain consumption after Russia’s livestock production recovery. First, continued stagnating production prevented significant increase in feed consumption in the bovine sector (beef and milk production). Second, the declining concentrated feed conversion ratio curbed the increase of concentrated feed consumption in the poultry and pig sectors.
Increasing livestock production in Russia would cause increased feed grain consumption and contribute to a decline in grain export capacity to some extent. However, considering the above-mentioned changes in Russia’s livestock industry, Russia’s reversion to a grain importing country seems unrealistic.