Ukraine's first deputy prime-minister believes the price for Turkmen gas reflects world market trends
Anatoliy Kinah is the first deputy prime-minister in the new government of Ukraine. He is one of few members in the team of Victor Yuschenko who worked in the previous cabinet. Kinah was the prime-minister of Ukraine (like Yuschenko) and the head of Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (like ex-president Leonid Kuchma). In Ukraine, Kinah is considered to be a politician with "very promising future". He can speak common language both with the left and right. In an interview to "Izvestiya" correspondent, Yanina SOKOLOVSKAYA, Anatoliy Kinah comments on what the new government is planning to achieve.
Izvestiya: How would you describe Ukraine's economic prospects?
Kinah: The new government has a good basis. The country has reported stable economic growth since the second half of 1999. The GDP grew 12% in 2004. Now, the government has to perform microsurgery on the economy. Victor Yuschenko's election program is quite realizable. It is important to separate the government from business. The government must ensure that everybody plays according to the same rules so that businessmen's place in the market is defined by competitiveness but not personal relations with top officials. State racket as regards businessmen must be outlawed.
Izvestiya: Will the team that Victor Yuschenko is currently forming be able to equal the hopes that were pinned on it?
Kinah: Yschenko's team stated already in the beginning of 2004 that it would never break the rules of presidential elections and would not agree if state officials but not the general public elected the country's leader. Authorities nominated Victor Yanukovich as their candidate. Someone was cowed, another one was promised something. Yuschenko's team was formed according to the different scenario. We did not take decisions under pressure. We did not trade the people's trust. Our election campaign was conducted in a worthy manner. We are not afraid of looking straight in the people's eyes.
There was no civilized competition between authorities and the opposition until the recent events. That is why Yuschenko's team has had difficult time. But it had only gained from it. It has become stronger and consolidated. As for now, we have to build the government made up of professionals.
Izvestiya: A contract for Turkmen gas supplies at a higher price has hit Ukrainian economic interests. It was signed by the government of Yanukovich on the eve of his resignation and, as a matter of fact, stripped Ukraine of US $ 500 mln a year. Was it the last blow dealt by the previous government?
Kinah: The Turkmen gas price per 1000 cub meters for Ukraine is US $ 58 (up US $14 on the last price). Our industrial energy consumption is 3-4 times the rate of Central and Eastern Europe. We consume 76 billion cub.m. of gas a year. And instead of bemoaning our fate and telling everybody that our partner has dealt us a blow, we have to tackle the problem of energy saving. I see no real chances to reduce the price. It reflects the world market trends. The story with Turkmen gas should not be viewed as the last blow by the previous government. It is rather a lesson to all of us. We have to foresee any fluctuations in the energy market.
Izvestiya: Ukraine has stated its intention to withdraw its peacekeeping contingent from Iraq. Aren't you afraid of spoiling relations with the West?
Kinah: We will be building equal relations with the West, defending our interests. We are going to steadily move our contingent out of Iraq. And we will never let it happen that political decisions affecting Ukraine's interests are taken somewhere abroad.
"IZVESTIYA" newspaper, 07.02.05