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Notes From The Editor

Editorial: Bating The Bear Leads To An Energy Nightmare For Ukraine's Political Circus

Posted: 03/30/2014
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"There is no more independence in politics than there is in jail"
Will Rogers (1879– 1935)

The week after the annexation of Crimea and reabsorption into the Russian Federation a fait accompli, the interim Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, informed his fellow countrymen of a stark reality.

Months of infighting – both figurative and physical – resulting in the ouster of three-time president Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian regime, has left the punch-drunk Eastern European republic with a throbbing energy headache.

In a television address broadcast to the shattered nation, Yatsenyuk announced that gas and heating prices would be "gradually increased" in the coming years. This steady rise, in fact, equates to a 182 per cent price hike through 2017 as the cost of imported Russian gas is set to skyrocket by 495 per cent from the current $84 to an expected $500.

Yatsenyuk also declared that the Ukrainian central bank would be limiting purchases to 15,000 hryvnia ($1300) per person per day. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the average monthly wage for a working Ukrainian is $686, so this is unlikely to be a burden to most of the country’s 44.6 million inhabitants.

As North and South Korea exchange fire over their disputed western sea border, the possibilities of a hot war between nuclear-armed nemeses is a sword of Damocles that few would want to contemplate.

For Ukrainians, however, the cold war that looms is a clear and present danger for both politicians and citizens alike. Rapid increases in the cost of living recently brought down Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-led regime in Egypt, plunging the country into a cycle of violence that culminated in the seizure of power by the country’s military.

Yatsenyuk’s All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" party may well suffer the same fate when the cost of basic creature comforts like cooking for a family and heating a home become untenable for the ordinary Ukrainian. Prodding the Russian Bear may be akin to taunting the jailor from inside a cell….