Analytical review of the week No. 113 of 04/25/2021.

ANALYTICAL REVIEW OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DOMESTIC, FOREIGN POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EVENTS OF THE WEEK

04/19. - 04/25/2021

CONTENT:

SUMMARY AND KEY TRENDS.

INTERNAL POLICY.

1. Situation in Donbass and around it.

2. The situation with the coronavirus in the country.

3. Deputy Yevgeny Shevchenko visited Belarus and met with Lukashenka. The faction condemned him.

4. The court allowed searches at A. Tupitsky's place of residence and work.

5. SBU officers conducted searches in the business center of I. Kolomoisky.

FOREIGN POLICY.

1. US-initiated climate summit.

2. Message from Vladimir Putin to the Federal Assembly and related events.

3. Continuation of the US-Russian confrontation.

ECONOMY.

1. Lack of buyers of PrivatBank as a consequence of the government's policy.

2. "Anti-Akhmetov" bill to increase the rent for the extraction of iron ore.

3. S&P downgraded Ukrzaliznytsia's (Ukrainian Railroads) credit rating.

4. Naftogaz (Ukraine’s oil and gas corporation) records nearly 12 billion in losses for 2020. Losses of DPZKU.

 

SUMMARY AND KEY TRENDS.

Summing up the results of the outgoing week, it should be noted that:

Firstly, despite the beginning of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, it is not yet possible to talk about the normalization of the situation in the zone of the armed conflict in Donbass. A sluggish trench warfare on the line of contact, with shelling, destruction, and casualties, continues. This is because the main reason for the escalation of the conflict that began in January 2021 is the intransigence of the parties regarding the political conditions for its settlement, and as a result - the deadlock of the negotiation process in the Minsk and Normandy formats. This week, further attempts were made to discuss the "cluster" plan proposed by Germany and France, but they were unsuccessful. According to our forecasts, in the near future (from one to several months) no significant progress is expected in the issue of a peaceful settlement in Donbass, and the current situation on the contact line will remain with the risks of a significant aggravation.

Secondly, the permission for searches of the suspended head of the Constitutional Court, Alexander Tupitsky, is a continuation of the trend in which the Office of the President seeks to gain control over the Constitutional Court. Tupitsky, who last year proved to be "too independent and rebellious", is now reaping the benefits of this position. Most likely, in the foreseeable future, the pressure on him will continue. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is actually paralyzed (it considers, but does not make decisions), which further deformed the system of government towards a tough presidential republic.

Thirdly, one of the most important trends in modern international relations is the intention of the globalist part of the elites to impose a "climate" agenda on the rest of the world in order to keep the development of industry outside the "countries of the golden billion". As part of an attempt to achieve this goal, the American side this week organized an international climate summit. However, Russia and China demonstrated during it that they intend to interpret the "climate" agenda exclusively in the spirit of their national interests (for example, for the Russian Federation, it is important to increase gas production and the production of "ecological" hydrogen from it). Thus, it is clearly not possible to spread the "Western" understanding of the environmental agenda to the whole world.

Fourth, the US-Russian confrontation continues to deepen. First Deputy Head of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev openly compares the current situation with the last Cold War, thereby making it clear that Moscow does not intend to accept the terms of American ultimatums and is ready for a long confrontation by indirect means, including information war, economic war, sanctions war, proxies - wars in different parts of the world, as well as - ideological and value confrontation. Thus, the US-Russian confrontation is a long-term trend for the coming years.

Fifth, in the Ukrainian economy, the main trend remains the attempts of the authorities to find funds to cover the budget deficit and return the external debt by any available means. Within the framework of them, the Cabinet of Ministers is hatching plans for privatizing PrivatBank, however, given the problematic nature of this asset, it is extremely doubtful that in the near future it will be possible to find a buyer for it. In addition, the pending amendments to the Tax Code aim to raise taxes for iron ore mining companies. This could hit the enterprises of Rinat Akhmetov. However, this legislative initiative is spelled out in such a way that it may initially contain loopholes for circumventing the payment of an increased fee. As a result, its adoption can only become another reason for PR, without bringing a real economic effect.

INTERNAL POLICY.

Briefly:

Despite the withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders with Ukraine, amid a deadlock in the negotiation process, the contact line continues for the ongoing trench warfare with periodic casualties. There are no prerequisites for a quick return of the situation to a permanent truce (ceasefire) at the moment.

As part of the struggle for control over the judicial system and its individual elements, the confrontation between the Office of the President and the removed leadership of the Constitutional Court continues. Pressure on the removed head of the KSU A. Tupitsky is carried out with the help of criminal cases and searches.

In order to deprive national big capital (represented by individual oligarchs) of key assets and influence on Ukrainian politics, Western partners are putting pressure on the Ukrainian government, stimulating its efforts to "de-oligarchization". In fact, political and financial groups within the country use this process to redistribute assets and spheres of influence, which we see in the example of problems with law enforcement agencies that began with I. Kolomoisky.

1. Situation in Donbass and around it.

On April 19, negotiations of the advisers of the heads of state of the Normandy Four took place via videoconference. The parties discussed the clusters for the implementation of the Minsk agreements and agreed to continue work on their coordination. In essence, we can say that the negotiations of the advisers did not lead to any specific decision.

On April 20, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his video message, trying to focus on the fact that one of the parties to the conflict is Russia, expressed his readiness to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin "anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass". In response, V. Putin said that when it comes to discussing the problems of Donbass, then, first of all, the Ukrainian leadership should meet with the leaders of the "republics" "LPR" and "DPR". And if we are talking about the development of bilateral relations, then the Russian leadership is ready to receive the President of Ukraine in Moscow at any time convenient for him. Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Russia, proposed holding negotiations on an armistice in the Donbas right in the conflict zone.

In the above, we see an example of "political judo" shown by the Russian side. The proposal of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to meet in the conflict zone was made with the expectation that the Kremlin would ignore him and Kiev could accuse the Russian Federation of incapacity for negotiation, and its leaders of unwillingness to visit the war zone. However, Russia managed to use this proposal against V. Zelensky himself. After D. Kozak's statement with a proposal to talk in the conflict zone with the participation of representatives of Germany, France, Ukraine, Russia, and the “DPR and LPR”, Kiev faced a choice: to agree to these negotiations and thereby disavow its own thesis about “the impossibility of negotiating with terrorists ”, or refuse and present themselves as an incapable party in the eyes of Berlin and Paris. As a result, the second option was chosen.

This week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the withdrawal of troops from the borders with Ukraine began on April 23. In the United States, the Russian Federation's statement was taken critically and noted that they would continue to monitor the situation on the borders of Ukraine. Moreover, Shoigu ordered the troops to be ready for an immediate response in the event of "unfavorable developments" in the areas of NATO exercises. Since early April, the United States and European countries have expressed concern about the movement of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine.

Despite the fact that within the country the Ukrainian authorities are trying to present the withdrawal of Russian troops as their victory, it is worth noting that the risks of escalating the conflict remain the same. Despite the fact that there was no threat of a full-scale war between Ukraine and Russia. There was a fact of political pressure, as a result of which the Russian side received its points in the form of a call from Joe Biden, the intensification of the Russian-European dialogue and confirmation of the completion of the SP-2, an agreement was reached on holding a US-Russian summit, as well as some guarantees that Ukraine would not will conduct a military operation against the "LPNR". At the same time, the level of tension on the contact line has not decreased, and de-escalation has not been achieved. Since the withdrawal of Russian troops was not accompanied by any specific agreements, and the crisis of a peaceful settlement itself continues.

2. The situation with the coronavirus in the country.

The situation with countering the coronavirus pandemic in the country remains difficult. On average in Ukraine, the occupancy of hospitals with COVID-19 patients is 57%. In terms of the spread of coronavirus, Ukraine took 3rd place in Europe and 10th place in the world. [https://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2021/04/23/7291235/] This week, the number of cases per day in the country could exceed 16 thousand people, and the number of deaths exceeded 400 people. In this regard, the Cabinet of Ministers extended the emergency situation in Ukraine until June 30. In Kiev, the lockdown has been extended until the end of April. The likelihood of quarantine restrictions for Easter and the May holidays is also considered. Adaptive quarantine restrictions continue to operate throughout Ukraine since February 24, and by themselves demonstrate low efficiency. Ukraine remains among the first in the world in terms of morbidity and mortality from coronavirus.

Vaccination in Ukraine began at the end of February with Covishield produced in India, developed by AstraZeneca. On March 25, the first batch of CoronaVac vaccines produced by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech was sent to Ukraine, which showed 83.5% efficiency. On April 3, Ukraine received 367 thousand doses of the AstraZeneca-SKBio COVID vaccine produced in South Korea as part of the global COVAX initiative. By the end of May, there will be another delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine (1.4 million doses), and by the end of June - 950 thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine [https://interfax.com.ua/news/general/739614.html]. The Ministry of Health announces the agreed supply of 32 million doses of various drugs during the year and plans to vaccinate about 70% of the population. It is worth noting the lack of the required number of doses for 27 million people and generally low rates of vaccination - since the start of the campaign, only 450 thousand people have been vaccinated, which is less than 1% of the population of Ukraine.

It is expected that the extension of the quarantine will also negatively affect the country's economy. Against the backdrop of the lockdown, the National Bank of Ukraine has worsened its estimate of the GDP decline in the first quarter of 2021 from 0.1% to 1.5%. More moderate growth is also expected in the second quarter - at the level of 8.7%. The forecast is based on the assumption that severe restrictions will cease to operate in May [https://biz.nv.ua/economics/nbu-uhudshil-ocenku-padeniya-vvp-do-1-5-novo... ...

3. Deputy Yevgeny Shevchenko visited Belarus and met with Lukashenka. The faction condemned him.

This week, Yevgeny Shevchenko, a deputy from the Servant of the People presidential faction, visited Belarus, where he met with President of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko. In this regard, the "Servant of the People" said that the government did not delegate E. Shevchenko to conduct any negotiations. In particular, the head of the faction A. Kornienko noted that this was his personal initiative and he did not represent Ukraine at the meeting. From the point of view of fellow faction members, such actions, at least, violate the procedure for implementing foreign policy and the principle of coordinated actions of all branches of government in international relations. Since Ukraine does not recognize A. Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus, the faction demanded an explanation from E. Shevchenko. Despite the obvious discontent within the party, it is unlikely to have serious political consequences. Since E. Shevchenko is a majority deputy, they cannot deprive him of his mandate. In case of exclusion from the faction, he can start his own political project.

In December last year, E. Shevchenko already visited Minsk. He went to the All-Belarusian People's Assembly, where A. Lukashenko spoke. In August last year, E. Shevchenko posted on his Facebook congratulations to A. Lukashenko on his victory in the elections, after which he received a lot of criticism from his colleagues in the faction.

The Ukrainian leadership, in unison with its Western partners, does not recognize the elections in Belarus. At the same time, Belarus is one of the most important trade partners with which it is beneficial to maintain friendly, or at least neutral, relations. In this regard, E. Shevchenko's visit to Minsk can be considered an element of public public diplomacy initiated by that part of the Ukrainian elite that values ​​economic ties with the neighboring country. For its part, Belarus also demonstrates its readiness to reset relations between the two countries.

4. The court allowed searches at A. Tupitsky's place of residence and work.

 

On April 22, the Pechersk District Court of Kiev adopted 13 orders on searches in an apartment, house, vehicles, at the place of work and at the relatives of the ousted head of the Constitutional Court Alexander Tupitskiy. The searches will take place in the case involving Viktor Tatkov, who during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych was the chairman of the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine. The investigation accuses A. Tupitsky of bribing a witness and knowingly giving false testimony. Earlier, A. Tupitskiy was summoned to the Office of the Prosecutor General to present the suspicion. However, the judge did not appear there. He also did not attend the meeting of the Pechersk court.

At the same time, the suspended chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Oleksandr Tupitsky said that the criminal case against him was fabricated. He also denied the information spread in the media the day before that on April 22, the court had authorized a number of searches against him, and suggested that this was being done in order to exert pressure for his resignation from office.

The foregoing testifies to the continuation of the confrontation between the Office of the President and the now almost former leadership of the KSU, the main reason for which is the desire of V. Zelensky to gain control over the Constitutional Court in order to minimize the risks of repealing the laws promoted by him by filing claims about their unconstitutionality.

Earlier, on March 27, President Volodymyr Zelensky canceled the 2013 decrees of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych on the appointment of Alexander Tupitsky and Alexander Kasminin as judges of the Constitutional Court. In turn, A. Tupitsky and A. Kasminin appealed against Zelensky's decree in the Cassation Administrative Court of the Supreme Court. At the same time, the consideration of the claim to appeal against the decree of President Volodymyr Zelensky was postponed until May 20, and A. Tupitsky himself has not been allowed to work at the KSU for several months.

After the president made a decision to cancel the decree on the appointment of judges of the Constitutional Court, in the future, it is expected that new judges loyal to the authorities will be appointed to these positions. But, in the current situation, the legitimacy of the decisions of this new composition of the court will be in question. It is possible that in order to exert pressure on A. Tupitsky, criminal cases against the discharged head of the Constitutional Court will multiply until he voluntarily resigns from office.

5. SBU officers conducted searches in the business center of I. Kolomoisky.

On the evening of April 22, the employees of the Security Service of Ukraine conducted searches in the Kiev business center "Millennium", where the office of the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky is located ... It is noted that the search is related to the Centrenergo case. The Security Service of Ukraine is investigating the embezzlement of property of PJSC "Centrenergo" in the amount of almost 225 million hryvnia.

The day before, Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova signed four permits for searches - according to the number of receptionists of people's deputies from the orbit of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky located in the building of the mall: Igor Palitsa, Maksim Buzhansky, Alexander Dubinsky and Olga Vasilevskaya-Smaglyuk.

The oligarch himself noted that he learned about the investigative actions from the media. Igor Kolomoisky and the closest members of his family have previously come under US sanctions. The Ukrainian oligarch is accused of laundering criminal proceeds in the United States. Earlier, Kolomoisky's people were removed from the management of Centrenergo, and in the United States, some of his assets were confiscated.

These events indicate that Western partners are putting pressure on the Ukrainian authorities in terms of "de-oligarchization" in order to deprive Ukrainian big capital of key assets and influence on Ukrainian politics. Under this pretext, the authorities also conducted electoral cleansing of political and economic competitors, as well as the redistribution of spheres of influence.

FOREIGN POLICY.

Briefly:

In the outgoing week, two trends continued to develop, which will significantly affect international politics in the foreseeable future.

The first of them is the intention of the globalist part of the Western elites to impose a “climate” agenda on the rest of the world in order to keep the development of industry outside the “countries of the golden billion”. As part of an attempt to achieve this goal, the American side organized an international climate summit. However, Russia and China demonstrated during it that they intend to interpret the "climate" agenda exclusively in the spirit of their national interests (for example, for the Russian Federation, it is important to increase gas production and the production of "ecological" hydrogen from it).

The second trend is the deepening of the US-Russian confrontation. First Deputy Head of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev is already openly comparing the current situation with the past Cold War, thereby making it clear that Moscow does not intend to accept the terms of American ultimatums and is ready to continue the all-encompassing confrontation.

1. US-initiated climate summit.

The Climate Summit, which took place on April 22-23, was the first major international event initiated and held under the President of the United States, Joseph Biden. The environmental agenda is obviously becoming one of the key in international relations, while the great powers are guided in their advancement primarily by their own national interests.

The very format of the past climate summit did not imply the signing of any final document, and therefore all its participants limited themselves mainly to general statements. Climate change, obviously, exists, while assessing their causes and the role of humans in them can be approached in different ways.

Nevertheless, over the past couple of years, Western countries, in particular, the globalist part of the American and European elite, have been very intensively promoting their own environmental agenda.

It seems that this is due to unfair economic competition and the desire of Western countries to secure preferences in the world market, restraining the development of the countries of the "world periphery" by introducing mechanisms for limiting greenhouse gas emissions (and hence limiting industrial production).

In particular, this is evidenced by the desire to introduce the so-called "carbon tax", which will be calculated based on the damage caused to the environment in the production of a particular product. In all likelihood, this will become an instrument of the West's competitive struggle, primarily with China, as a world factory.

Realizing this, the PRC and Russia come up with an alternative agenda aimed at a more comprehensive understanding of ecology and environmental protection [https://globalaffairs.ru/articles/povorot-na-zelyonyj/]. Thus, in the context of the existing threat from carbon dioxide, the demand for nuclear energy and natural gas is increasing, which is a competitive advantage for Russia. In the medium term, the role of environmentally friendly hydrogen in energy production will increase, which can also turn the market for traditional energy resources.

In general, the topic of ecology will clearly be one of the pivots on the agenda of international relations in the near future. For Ukraine, this can serve as one of the tools in the struggle of the globalist liberal elites with the oligarchs as representatives of a kind of national (partly industrial) elite.

2. Message from Vladimir Putin to the Federal Assembly and related events.

Although the message of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Federal Assembly was mainly devoted to the internal socio-economic conditions of the development of Russia, it also indicated the current approaches of the Russian Federation to international relations. Directly naming opponents, Putin made it clear that a new cold war between Russia and the collective West would continue.

Contrary to the initial forecasts of analysts, Putin in his message did not speak about the recognition of the "LPNR", the deepening of integration with Belarus or a decisive departure from international settlements in dollars. On the contrary, about 95% of the Russian leader's speech was devoted to solving internal socio-economic problems. Within the framework of the global trend towards greater social justice and six months before the elections to the State Duma, the President of the Russian Federation announced new programs to help pregnant women, young mothers, children, etc. Measures were also announced to support small and medium-sized businesses, complete the digitalization of public services, increase the number of budget-funded places in universities, develop infrastructure in the regions and limit harmful emissions [https://www.interfax.ru/russia/762413].

Putin practically did not touch on the issue of Ukraine as such, mentioning it only in the context of the events of 2014 and the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych. However, the Russian president quoted Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as saying that "Sher Khan, all sorts of little Tobaccos are spinning." Putin obviously meant that small and medium-sized states, such as Ukraine and the Czech Republic, are building their anti-Russian policies following in the wake of the United States and being in their zone of geopolitical influence.

The key message of the Russian president was a warning about the inadmissibility of the enemies of the Russian Federation crossing the "red line", and where it will pass, Russia itself will decide, according to him [https://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/607ffccc9a794713e5f03745]. Obviously, such a statement should be perceived as a de facto rejection of the primacy of international law and an open postulation of the priority of national interests.

This trend has been increasing more and more recently, and undoubtedly, all great powers are building their policies based on it. In these conditions, a new cold war between Russia and the West, as well as the strengthening of new, non-Western actors in international relations, will contribute to the turbulence of the world system, which will exacerbate all existing and future conflicts.

3. Continuation of the US-Russian confrontation.

The ongoing confrontation between the United States and Russia is forcing the latter to make more and more efforts to consolidate internally, while declaring its readiness to build calmer and more pragmatic relations between the West.

Last week, the Russian authorities began to put pressure on the non-systemic liberal opposition. The Moscow City Court accepted the claim of the prosecutor's office to recognize the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) Alexei Navalny as an extremist organization. According to Russian law enforcement officers, the Fund is creating conditions for the destabilization of the social and socio-political situation in the country. FBK was previously recognized as a foreign agent. In addition, the Russian Ministry of Justice has entered the opposition publication Meduza, operating from Latvia and funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in the register of foreign agents [https://www.vtimes.io/2021/04/23/minyust-vnes-meduzu-v-spisok -inoagentov-a4665].

At the same time, for the message of President Putin, FBK was preparing a number of provocations, which, however, did not culminate to success. First, Alexei Navalny went on a hunger strike, and then his doctors loudly announced that the oppositionist was dying. To the reports of Navalny's suffering and Putin's message, apparently for the sake of creating a corresponding negative image in the West, the FBK organized rallies in a number of Russian cities, which, however, gathered quite a few participants and ended relatively peacefully, despite more than 1,800 detained as a result.

Earlier, the special services of Russia and Belarus exposed a conspiracy to assassinate Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Although the conspirators themselves turned out to be secondary representatives of the protest intelligentsia of pre-retirement age, they really discussed in great detail the plans to overthrow the government and assassinate the head of Belarus.

Thus, in Russia and Belarus, loyal to it, there is a gradual limitation of the influence of the non-systemic opposition supported by the West, which can be used to destabilize the situation in the country on the eve of the parliamentary elections in the Russian Federation this fall and to destabilize the situation in the union republic.

Against the background of the unfolding of the Russian-American confrontation, the integration of Russia and Belarus continues within the framework of the Union State. So, on April 22, A. Lukashenko and V. Putin, during a personal meeting, discussed industrial cooperation, cooperation in the field of energy and medicine, as well as interaction in high-tech areas [https://ria.ru/20210422/peregovory-1729553645.html ]. Thus, we can conclude that cooperation between Moscow and Minsk is strengthening not only in the field of defense and security, but also in the economic sphere.

In the context of the US-Russian confrontation, it is interesting to draw attention to the article published by RIA Novosti by Dmitry Medvedev, the former president of Russia, ex-prime minister, and now the first deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. In "Unlearned History Lessons" Medvedev appeals to the experience of the Cold War and its most striking episode - the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. He notes that at that time there were channels of communication between the great powers, mutual respect and awareness of the fatality of open confrontation [https://ria.ru/20210423/diplomatiya-1729522868.html].

According to Medvedev, the end of the Cold War, leaving the United States in the role of the only superpower, gave Washington excessive self-confidence and made it difficult to build an adequate foreign policy. In the new world of growing great powers and the erosion of the leadership of the United States, the latter can no longer unilaterally impose their will on the world community. In these conditions, Medvedev suggests that the United States once again realize the fatal danger of confrontation with Russia, build a direct link with the Russian leadership and, most importantly, be ready to make compromises.

An open comparison of the current situation with the Cold War of the XX century, made by the ex-prime minister, is a direct and unequivocal signal that Russia does not intend to accept the terms of American ultimatums and is ready for a prolonged confrontation by indirect means, including information war, economic war, sanctions war. , proxy wars in different parts of the world, as well as ideological and value confrontation.

ECONOMY.

Briefly:

The largest Ukrainian state corporations and banks are showing unprofitability, which may indicate plans for their possible privatization in the future. Private mining companies, on the other hand, are profitable, and the Cabinet of Ministers decided to amend the Tax Code in order to increase tax revenues to the budget at their expense. It is possible that the changes will be adopted along with loopholes for bypassing them, thus becoming another reason for the PR of the current government, but not improving the situation with covering the annual budget deficit.

1. Lack of buyers of PrivatBank as a consequence of the government's policy.

On April 16, the head of the NBU, Kirill Shevchenko, announced plans to put PrivatBank up for sale. Back in 2018, the Cabinet of Ministers estimated the value of the bank at UAH 40-65 billion by 2022. Since the nationalization of PrivatBank in December 2016, the state of Ukraine has spent 155.4 billion hryvnia on its capitalization. That is, the state originally planned to sell PrivatBank 2.5 times cheaper than the amount of additional capitalization in 2016-2017. Despite this, potential buyers are scared off by about 100 court cases between PrivatBank and Igor Kolomoisky. Old problem loans were supplemented with new ones during lockdowns. The bank does not have a wide range of products, with the exception of the OVDP package introduced to PrivatBank by the Cabinet of Ministers. The bank's branch network is too extensive, and due to this, the profit from commission payments is not so high, as it could be. After nationalization, PrivatBank lost its technological leadership in the market (the initiative was intercepted by such banks as Universal Bank and its product Monobank, which is run by former top managers of PrivatBank). Each new lockdown increases the volume of non-payments, causing an additional blow to the bank. At the end of March, non-residents began selling government bonds and withdrawing money from the country in fear of a new hot phase of the war in the East. The example of Motor Sich also negatively affects the attractiveness of any Ukrainian assets, because investors see that they may never get what they paid for if it turns out to be politically disadvantageous for the Ukrainian authorities.

In theory, PrivatBank could be bought out by the EBRD, but even this structure is afraid of risks. According to Strana, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to privatize Oschadbank. At the moment, the EBRD has enough influence over Raiffeisen Bank Aval and Ukrsibbank. Theoretically, buyers of PrivatBank could be sought in the Gulf countries, but even they would be hard to convince to buy such a problematic asset.

2. "Anti-Akhmetov" bill to increase the rent for the extraction of iron ore.

On April 19, Finance Minister Sergei Marchenko admitted in an interview with the newspaper "Left Bank" that amendments to the Tax Code are being prepared, which will close loopholes regarding tax evasion.

The President's office is forced to encroach on the business empire of Rinat Akhmetov due to the urgent need to fill the budget, especially in the absence of the IMF tranche [https://www.epravda.com.ua/rus/publications/2021/04/22/673237/]. The budget of Ukraine can receive an additional 3 billion hryvnia. If parliament votes for amendments to the Tax Code, iron ore miners will pay 11-12% of the tax not on the cost price, but on its world price.

Potential loopholes for circumventing the new regulations could be provisions on the percentage of iron in ore. Ore with a 58% iron content is traded on the world market, while the Ukrainian amendments to the Tax Code will concern ore with a 62% iron content [https://www.epravda.com.ua/rus/news/2021/04 / 22/673242 /].

3. S&P downgraded Ukrzaliznytsia's (Ukrainian railroads) credit rating.

The international rating agency S&P Global Ratings has downgraded the credit rating of Ukrzaliznytsia from B- to CCC due to increased refinancing risks [https://www.epravda.com.ua/rus/news/2021/04/22 /673239/index.amp].

In fact, the rating agency “trips” or “pushes into the abyss” Ukrzaliznytsia, which already risks not repaying the debt until May 30, 2021, and the downgrade of the credit rating only aggravates the situation around Ukrzaliznytsia, preventing it from attracting new loans or refinancing the old one. The downgrade of the credit rating only lowers the value of the enterprise, making it even more likely to be privatized. An important point: Ukrzaliznytsia owes Sberbank an amount of $ 116 million.

As a result, the downgrade of UZ's credit rating contributes to bringing the enterprise to bankruptcy and putting it up for sale. Additionally, the bankruptcy of UZ would mean that Sberbank will not get back its $ 116 million. Thus, the authorities can "catch two birds with one stone": and bring UZ to bankruptcy, and deprive the Russian Sberbank JSC of the opportunity to get their money back.

4. Naftogaz records nearly 12 billion in losses for 2020. Losses of DPZKU.

At the end of 2020, NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine received UAH 36.93 billion in aggregate losses compared to UAH 9.9 billion. of aggregate income for 2019 [https://www.epravda.com.ua/rus/news/2021/04/9/672844/]. In 2020, the net income from product sales amounted to UAH 121 billion, and the production cost - UAH 121.9 billion. Consequently, the gross operating loss amounted to UAH 0.8 billion.

In 2019, NJSC received a third more from the sale of products - UAH 178.35 billion, the cost price amounted to UAH 147.31 billion. Thus, the state-owned enterprise received UAH 31 billion. arrived in 2019. In particular, that year, before the unbundling, Naftogaz received UAH 33.5 billion from gas transportation under a contract with Gazprom.

Before taxes, the loss of Naftogaz in 2020 amounted to UAH 11.95 billion. The company's net loss from operating activities in 2020 decreased to UAH 17.33 billion, compared with a profit of UAH 50.66 billion. in 2019. These financial indicators take into account UAH 32.2 billion of compensation from the government for the sale of gas for the needs of the population on the terms of the PSO, which the NJSC received in December 2020, and UAH 68 billion. compensation from Gazprom in lawsuits, 2019.

The company also received an additional UAH 20.36 billion. losses from equity participation in associates and joint ventures in 2020. In 2019, these losses amounted to UAH 40 billion. Thus, the total loss of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine in 2020 amounted to UAH 36.93 billion. versus income for 2019 in the amount of UAH 9.9 billion. Subsequently, the head of Naftogaz, Andrei Kobolev, reacted to the information published by the EP. He said that the company has no right to comment on the financial performance before the official release of the financial statements. By the end of 2020, Naftogaz expects to receive a loss of UAH 11.8 billion. - at the same time, a profit of UAH 11.5 billion was previously expected [https://www.epravda.com.ua/rus/news/2021/04/21/673230/]. It is noteworthy that the same amount of losses - UAH 12 billion. - for 2020, Ukrzaliznytsia also recorded. [https://www.epravda.com.ua/news/2021/04/9/672846/]

The State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine (GPZKU) has also shown losses over the past three years. In 2020 - 5.8 billion hryvnia in losses, in 2019 - 1.54 billion, in 2018 - 1.49 [https://www.epravda.com.ua/publications/2021/04/17/673104/ ]. Income from sales of products is falling. For 2020, Ukrenergo declared losses in the amount of UAH 27.5 billion.

Systematic losses instead of profits indicate either the absolute professional unsuitability of Naftogaz's management, or the state corporation has simply turned into a feeding trough from which funds are stolen, and Andrei Kobolev has no answer why the company constantly incurs losses instead of making profits. A similar situation is observed in GPZKU and Ukrenergo. State corporations suffer systematic losses, turning into corruption feeding troughs for management, and the state is making weak attempts to change the situation. In 2020, however, an audit of Naftogaz was carried out, but Kobolev did not bear any responsibility for the violations found.

It is quite possible that the current “unprofitableness” of key state-owned companies is artificial - a technology for preparing them for privatization - formal or informal.

 

Edited by:

Ruslan Bortnik,

Daniil Bogatyrev.

Authors:

Daniil Bogatyrev,

Maxim Semyonov,

Oksana Krasovskaya,

Andrey Timchenko.