Yulia Tymoshenko's piece in Foreign Affairs: I've read it but don't really know what to make of it.
It's ghost-written, right?
Because, somehow, it reads like that huge text about Russia in LRB, and like a thousand other pieces of that kind.
And it is about Russia, not Ukraine. Which I, of course, find a bit annoying. Yulia Tymoshenko advising the West on what to do about Russia - instead of speaking out as an "expert" on Ukraine - an expert that she, hopefully, is.
An absolute trifle: "[...] the collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991 [...]" - could it really be Tymoshenko who wrote this?
They celebrate Christmas about two weeks later here - Orthodox Christmas - and, moreover, very few people celebrated it back in 1991.
Sounds too foreign to me.
But overall, it's a very smoothly-written piece, and as tactful towards Russia as the context allows.
"Russia is not a police state," according to Tymoshenko. And it "is usually judged on the basis of speculation about its intentions rather than on the basis of its actions." And its "leaders deserve understanding for their anguished struggle to overcome generations of Soviet misrule."
Oh, and this reminded me of the conspiracy theory thingy that I quoted from a week or so ago:
Indeed, Russia may actually be putting itself out of the gas business, because high engineering costs for new projects in Russia are signaling to the market that Russia and Gazprom lack the capacity to develop these fields. Western companies could come in and do the job, but given the Kremlin's recent usurpation of Shell's investments on Sakhalin Island, these companies would be remiss in their fiduciary duties if they undertook such investments.
How strange that I read this on the day Shell had finalized its deal with Gazprom - and was forced to sound happy about it:
Shell’s Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Malcolm Brinded said: “Gazprom’s entry into the Sakhalin Project is warmly welcomed. Combined with the government acceptance of the Environmental Action Plan, this is another important step for Sakhalin II. The AMI should create additional growth opportunities for the partners in the future.”
Tymoshenko also mentions Microsoft at one point: they should bring Gazprom "into line" - the way they did with Microsoft.
And in the adapted version of this piece, published in the International Herald Tribune, she's so hip, she even writes about iPod:
One must ask how it is that Apple's iPod and iTunes are challenged by EU regulators yet Gazprom is not?
One last thing - a terrible sentence, whoever wrote it:
And dangerous new forms of tuberculosis - as well as of Islamist extremism among the 17 percent of the Russian population that is Muslim - are being incubated through neglect.