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12.01.2009 09:02 - Днешна статия от INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE
Автор: albosh Категория: Новини   
Прочетен: 7646 Коментари: 7 Гласове:

Последна промяна: 12.01.2009 18:37

image Russian gas cutoff angers chilly Bulgarians By Dan Bilefsky
Sunday, January 11, 2009 


SOFIA: Maria Pavlova, 70, a retired nurse and widow, has been shivering in her cramped apartment for five straight days, standing over the small electric oven in her kitchen to warm her arthritic bones.

With a monthly pension equivalent to about $74, she cannot afford an electric heater. She despairs at the prospect of facing another cold shower.

"This is a war without weapons in which Russia has used its control of energy supply to flex its muscles in front of the world," she said, pointing to an indoor thermometer showing a temperature of 6 degrees Celsius (43 Fahrenheit). "I am cold and angry. We have always been dependent on Russia, and this crisis shows that the situation hasn"t changed. Instead of bombs or missiles, they want us to freeze to death."

People across this poor, snow-covered Balkan country accused Russia of instigating a new Cold War in which depriving millions of Europeans of heat and hot water had become the latest political weapon against the West.

Since Russia cut off gas deliveries through Ukraine on Wednesday in a dispute over pricing, millions of Bulgarians have been without heat during a bitter January cold snap. Russia and Ukraine were working on Sunday to resolve the dispute, after having signed an agreement with the European Union to establish independent monitors of pipelines. But even if the valves are turned back on by Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas company, experts said it could take three days for supplies to reach consumers here.

At a time of time of increasingly acrimonious relations between Russia and the West, the crisis has underscored how Russia can use its energy might to hold Europe hostage. Moscow has characterized the crisis as a bilateral economic dispute with Ukraine. But the human impact has been felt far beyond Moscow and Kiev.

Here in Bulgaria - a member of the EU and NATO that has spent more than a decade trying to shrug off its Communist past - the vulnerability to Russia, once a steadfast ally, has been acutely felt. Bulgaria, the EU"s poorest country, relies almost entirely on Russia for its gas supplies. That has left many of the country"s nearly 7.3 million inhabitants braving chilly homes, hospitals, factories and schools.

"The situation is reminiscent of the siege of Stalingrad," Vlado Todorov Panayotov, a Bulgarian member of the European Parliament, said at a emergency hearing Thursday in Brussels, referring to the misery endured in World War II when the Nazis tried to take the Russian city now known as Volgograd.

Bulgarians said they felt betrayed by their own government for making them defenseless victims of Russia"s pipeline politics, by the EU for its impotence in rescuing them from the cold, and by the Kremlin for forcing Bulgaria to suffer because of a faraway geopolitical spat.

At a Sofia maternity ward where mothers cradled their newborns in front of space heaters, Amelia Mladenova, 24, said it was hard to believe that a disagreement over energy prices was putting the lives of children at risk.

"Moscow has put economic interests ahead of human rights," she said, rocking her 4-day-old son, Miroslav, in her arms.

Since the crisis began, dozens of kindergartens and 68 schools have closed, while some local hospitals were forced to put off planned operations and focus on improving first-aid stocks in case of emergencies. The African monkeys at Sofia"s zoo were being fed warm herbal tea to prevent them from falling ill, while commuters traveled in trams and buses in which drivers had been ordered to turn off the heat.

"The only animals happy with the current temperatures are the Siberian tigers," said Ivan Ivanov, director of the zoo.

In Bulgaria, the halt in gas supplies also sent shudders through an economy already reeling from the global financial crisis.

The state gas monopoly, Bulgargaz, cut supplies completely to 72 big industrial companies and forced dozens of producers of glass, metals and beer to shut down. Economy Minister Petar Dimitrov said 152 companies had reported losses totaling €4.3 million, or $5,8 million, per day because of the interruptions in supply.

The cut in gas supplies also forced many bakeries to raise the price of bread by 10 percent, leaving thousands of poor families to make do without their staple food.

Vassil Yanachkov, president of a large metalworkers" union, said the energy-intensive steel industry, which accounts for 10 percent of Bulgaria"s gross domestic product, had been pulverized by the gas shut-down. He said Kremikovtsi, the country"s largest steel exporter, had been forced to leave its factories idle and had ordered 3,000 of its 5,300 workers to take unpaid vacations. It has also defaulted on dozens of contracts with foreign customers.

"We were already suffering from the drop in steel prices when the gas was shut down, and this has created a catastrophe," Yanachkov said.

Ludmil Lazarov, managing director of OK Supertrans, Sofia"s largest taxi company, said it had been obliged to take 500 of its 1,500 cabs off the road after it was forced to switch to more-expensive gasoline instead of methane gas.

"Russia says its quarrel is with Ukraine, but they punished all of Europe," Lazarov said. "We can no longer look at Russia as our ally."

Analysts said Moscow may have underestimated the extent to which shutting off the gas could foment an anti-Russian backlash, even among staunch European allies like Bulgaria. Paradoxically, the western Balkans, which have deep historic ties to Moscow, have been hardest hit by the crisis because few countries in the region have offset their energy dependence.

In the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna, residents this past week protested the gas cut in front of the Russian Consulate, holding banners that read "Stop Putin"s Gas War." In Serbia, which has long had close links with Russia, citizens burned Russian flags, expressing anger that Russia had allowed economic interests to trump its historic ties to the country.

In Bulgaria, whose Ukrainian-born, Russian-educated prime minister, Sergey Stanishev, has studiously cultivated Moscow, the crisis has been met with a particular feeling of bitterness.

Russia and Bulgaria share the Cyrillic alphabet, and both countries have many adherents to the Orthodox Church. Russia is Bulgaria"s second-largest trading partner, and the Russian energy giant Lukoil is one of its largest investors. During the Cold War, Bulgarians were inculcated with the lesson that Russia had twice liberated the country, first from the Ottoman empire in the 19th century, then from Nazism.

Only a year ago, the country"s pro-Russian president, Georgi Parvanov, declared that Bulgaria had "hit a grand slam" after it signed several energy deals with Moscow aimed at ensuring its supply, including a proposed pipeline that would connect Russia and Italy and, crucially, run through Bulgaria.

But such is the country"s impotence in the face of the crisis that its main solution has been to consider reactivating an aging Soviet-era nuclear reactor, shut down over safety concerns when the country joined the EU two years ago.

Alexander Bozhkov, a former Bulgarian deputy prime minister, who is currently chairman of the Center for Economic Development, a Sofia-based research organization, said the crisis had laid bare for Bulgaria the enormous human and economic cost of relying on Russia; he predicted that it would topple the socialist government and reorient the country firmly toward the EU and Washington.

"Because of our history we have many reasons to like the Russians," he said. "But this crisis will make a lot of people rethink this. We are the biggest victims of this crisis, and it is a huge embarrassment. Russia thinks it can get Bulgaria and the western Balkans back into its orbit anytime, but they may have miscalculated the fallout from forcing people to shiver through the cold."

Тагове:   international,


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1. zaw12929 - Мислех
12.01.2009 10:01
че това е блог, за писсане на български
Така пише в правилата
Вие страхувате ли се, че не допускате мненията без преглед? Това цензура не е ли?!
2. анонимен - можехте да извадите най-важното от ...
12.01.2009 18:03
можехте да извадите най-важното от това интервю на български
3. albosh - Ето резюме на български, за тези, които не четат на английски
12.01.2009 18:31
Мнозина в България обвиняват Русия, че предизвиква нова студена война, като лишава милиони европейци от топлина и гориво, за да нанесе политически удар на Запада. Това пише в понеделник в. "Ню Йорк таймс" в кореспонденция на Дан Билефски от София.

"Това е война без оръжия, в която Русия използва контрола си върху енергийните доставки, за да си показва мускулите пред света", цитира авторът 70-годишната вдовица и пенсионирана медицинска сестра Мария Павлова, мръзнеща в жилището си от пет дни. "Студено ми е и съм ядосана. Винаги сме били зависими от Русия, а тази криза показва, че ситуацията не се е променила. Вместо с бомби и ракети, те искат ние да умрем от студ".

България, член на Европейския съюз и НАТО, се опитва да се отърси от комунистическото си минало, отбелязва по-нататък авторът. Кризата я накара болезнено да осъзнае уязвимостта си от Русия, която някога беше твърд съюзник.

В кореспонденцията са цитирани думите на българския евродепутат Владко Панайотов, който заяви на извънредното разширено заседание на Комисията по външна политика в Европейския парламент в Брюксел на 8 януари, че "ситуацията напомня на обсадата на Сталинград" през Втората световна война.

Българите казват, че са предадени от собственото си правителство, което ги е направило беззащитни жертви на руската енергийна политика, от Европейския съюз, който не е успял да ги спаси и от Кремъл и премиера Владимир Путин, който е принудил страната им да страда заради далечен геополитически спор, се посочва в кореспонденцията на "Ню Йорк таймс".

Авторът описва с конкретни примери последиците от спрените газови доставки за детски градини, училища и болници, за икономиката като цяло.

Цитиран е и бившият вицепремиер и настоящ председател на Центъра за икономическо развитие Александър Божков, който прогнозира, че газовата криза ще доведе до изборно поражение на социалистическото правителство и до преориентиране на страната твърдо към Европейския съюз и Вашингтон.

4. анонимен - Дребни заяждания по български
12.01.2009 19:19
Хайде да не ставаме смешни - бих очаквал всеки, който е достатъчно интелигентен да чете този блог да може да чете английски.
5. анонимен - g-n Bojkov, dano ste prav, ama posle ...
13.01.2009 17:33
g-n Bojkov,

dano ste prav, ama posle koi she doide Boiko Borisov +Aaka?Ne mersi.

Sega she pusnem 2 reaktora po 440 MVT i she cafnem i she varjem, jalka kartinka sme
6. анонимен - дано сте прав, ама после кой ше ...
13.01.2009 17:34

дано сте прав, ама после кой ше дойде Бойко Борисов +Аака?Не мерси.

Сега ше пуснем 2 реактора по 440 МВТ и ше цъфнем и ше вържем, жалка картинка сме
7. анонимен - @albosh
16.01.2009 22:07
Родината е пич !
1. Бивш Министър председател си хвърли членската книжка за бсп.
2. Бивш Министър на икономиката е цитиран във в. "Ню Йорк таймс".
Някаква прилика има ли ?
А, ако погледнем обратно ?
2. Председателят на Центъра за икономическо развитие Александър Божков прогнозира, че газовата криза ще доведе до изборно поражение на социалистическото правителство .
1. Председателят на бсп - София, Р.Овч е един от създателите на газовата криза се крие като хитлерист в Южна америка.
0. Никой не може да каже колко ще струва на Родината брак между финасова и газова криза.

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Автор: albosh
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