On the website of the group “Metinvest”, the largest holding company of Ukraine, there was an unusual message. “Unknown (in the occupied territories of Eastern Ukraine) came to our company,” — says the leadership of the group. “They asked you to register again in the unrecognized republics, and began to take inventory of property. In case of refusal, they threatened the employees with physical force”.
The report stated that it refers to the steel plant, coke plant, plant for the production of steel pipes and other four factories, including the Ukrainian-Swiss company “metal”. The group was forced to “cease all activities at these enterprises”, so as not to jeopardize more than 20 thousand employees and do not violate Ukrainian laws. As noted by CEO Yuriy Ryzhenkov, starting today, the company can no longer be responsible for plant operation.
Michael harms (Michael Harms), representing the Eastern Committee of German economy (Berlin), considers the cases of unauthorized alienation of property an attack on the fundamental principles of a market economy. “They contribute to increased tension in Eastern Ukraine. We hope that Russia uses its ability to influence, to find a quick solution,” he said in an interview with Die Welt.
Enterprises need to punish those who profit from war
In another message, the General Director of “Metinvest” Ryzhenkov strongly cautioned — first of all, individuals and companies in Russia — from the “removal of goods and equipment from businesses.” According to him, this contradicts the Ukrainian, Russian and international law. He also noted that the relevant authorities are alerted and the financial world is called upon to punish those who profit from war. Obviously, there are concerns about the fact that the equipment will be dismantled and installed in Russia — as it happened with Germany in 1945. We know at least one such case, which occurred in the annexed Peninsula of Crimea.
Thus, there is, apparently, economic and legal division of Ukraine — in spite of the Minsk agreements. Alienation, as it manages the Moscow-backed “people’s republics”, or at least threatens to do so, are the culmination of this development.
Putin supports the strategy by decree
In February the leader of the separatists Igor Carpenter stated that the “it” companies have until the end of March to re-register and pay there taxes. Otherwise, he said, they will be nationalized. In the same month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a single decree according to which issued the “people’s republics” documents will be recognized by Moscow.
In early March the head of “people’s Republic of Donetsk” Alexander Zakharchenko said that his men took control of 40 companies. Then followed — almost every day — the sad news of factories that have stopped working. “The month of March in the republics in the East of the country almost lost his job over 150 thousand people,” he said Wednesday in an interview with Die Welt Deputy Yury Grimchak (Kiev).
“Coal mining and steel manufacturing discontinued. Some workers are asked to return in two or three months, others say they can continue working, but at the moment without a paycheck. Some dismissed”. The loss of Ukrainian enterprises and the state due to the exclusion may be “several billion”.
Activists put pressure on President Poroshenko
Another center of aggravation is to the West of the “contact line” that separates controlled by separatists and regular Russian soldiers from the territory of the free parts of Ukraine. Ukrainian activists and veterans of the current war a few weeks ago declared a trade blockade of Eastern Ukraine.
They demanded, in particular, the release of more than a hundred people, both soldiers and civilians, who are held in captivity as prisoners of war in the “people’s republics”. Kiev, even with the involvement of the police was not able to push those who staged the blockade.
Thus, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko were in the grip — between the expropriation in the East and protests in the West. In mid-March, he tried to make a leap forward: he ordered to stop the transportation of all cargoes as from controlled by the rebels areas or on their territory — until action taken against companies. So he fulfilled the demands of the protesters. It was reported that with the exception of humanitarian aid.
The population and economists surprisingly calm
The move provoked a lot of criticism. “But we can not make deliveries to businesses that are no longer controlled by the owners,” says Mr. Hrymchak to justify. He represents the Ministry of the temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons — is the full name, and the Grimchak a native of Donetsk.
On the other hand, it is clear that the situation leads to the cessation of deliveries of millions of tons of coal, primarily of valuable anthracite coal. Because of this, starting from the current week, Ukraine suspended the work of almost all thermal power plants using anthracite.
However, the mood of the population after three years of war, including psychological, surprisingly calm. “The situation is under control,” says economist David Saha (David Saha), the representative of “the German consulting group on Ukraine”, which operates in Kiev. “Ukraine will have to look out some goods on the world market, even if it may be expensive”.
More refugees due to the termination of the operation of the plants
Deputy Minister Mr. Hrymchak says, “We want to import in 2017, four million of anthracite coal. In June arrives the first shipment of coal from South Africa. And we need to put a thermal power plant on coal gas”.
The Central Bank — as of the end of March — has changed the forecast for economic growth this year and lowered it to 1.9%. “We will cope,” — said the Grimchak. However, on the background of the termination of activity of the enterprises of the family to become refugees. The number of people who in 2014 moved from the occupied territories to other regions of Ukraine, to Russia or to third countries, is estimated to humanitarian organizations, the UN, approximately two million people.
Next week Ukrainian agricultural producers as guests of the Hamburg chamber of Commerce are going to get acquainted with the German market. The Association agreement of the EU with Ukraine could to help them. It entered into force a year ago and provides great benefits in the field of trade.