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|16 jan 2017|
Parliaments of Russia and Ukraine Ratified the Treaty on Black Sea Fleet
Extraordinary plenary session took place in the State Duma, it ratified the Treaty between Russia and Ukraine about prolongation of stay of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in Crimea for 25 years after 2017 - till 2042. The document was accepted by overwhelming poll - 410 deputies voted pro.
Deputies of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine ratified the treaty earlier - (236 persons voted pro).
The document can be prolonged for the subsequent five years' periods at the mutual consent of the parties. 439 members of parliament were present at plenary session of the State Duma. Deputies of LDPR fraction voted contra.
Voting in the Supreme Rada was, to put it mildly, very tense. Smoke candles were used - harsh smoke filled the air of the hall. Speaker Vladimir Litvin was thrown in with eggs. Notwithstanding the fact that assistants covered him at once with unbrellas one of the eggs hit him directly in the eye.
To break up the voting opposition deputies sealed the panels for voting with superglue. However it didn't help. In 10 minutes after the beginning of session deputies of coalition voted "pro" ratification of treaties stipulated in Kharkov between the presidents of Russian and Ukraine.
Suppoters of opposition gathered near the building of Rada. Approximately seven thousand people yell: "Parliament away! People is against power!"
From editorial board: The destiny of ratification was, in general, clear in both parliaments. Though opposition in the Supreme Rada could break up voting - but not ratification, it would simply pass a bit later. Position of Zhirinovsky party anazes, usually it rather sensitively reacts to wishes of the Kremlin. Though, probably, it was its wish - to show "little bit of opposition".
However the destiny of the Black Sea Fleet cannot be considered positively solved once and ever.
Power change in Ukraine which can happen in 4-5 years and even earlier can lead to cancellation of the treaty by Ukraine. Putin's amazement the day before while saying that that during negotiations with Timoshenko her reaction on the problem of basing of the fleet was rather positive, while now he follows hard position is indicative.
As if nobody told Putin earlier that Julia Vladimirovna changes her position almost immediately. Situation changes, Timoshenko is no longer the prime minister but oppositionist and it's necessary to forget everything he promised being the prime-minister. Now she has one task - to be the most-most, in this case the most oppositional. If Yushchenko would say something about withdrawal of the Black Sea Fleet, Julia Vladimirovna would demand its immediate sinking, pulling down of all port constructions in Sevastopol and its renaming into kishlak Ahtiyar.
Moreover, diplomatic victory with signing of the treaty till 2047 can play very bad trick with the fleet. Authorities in the Kremlin will decide that everything is good, there's no need to change anything for long time and they will forget about modernisation of the fleet and its coastal infrastructure once and ever. What is the need to modernise, to spend money, if everything's good.
While the state of things is not so good. The fleet decays and becomes outdated physically and morally. Already today it's not a fleet de facto, it's operative group of ships with only one first-rate ship in system (for full-scale fleet is necessary to have not less than three first-rate ships). There is no submarine in the system. At best there are two ships of the second-rate working. The coastal infrastructure is worn out, obsolete and partially is simply destroyed. Enterprises maintaining the fleet are frequently reorientated or are not efficient. Re-equipment of ships with new technique last years was made following residual principle - everything Chinese and Hindus refused to buy went on equipment of own ships.
Obviously, nobody would think about new strategy and tactics of fleet as for this purpose it is required to update all structure of the fighting ships and more than a half of auxiliary one.
Naturally, the question about creation of new base of basing of fleet on east coast of Azov Sea near Temryuk is also possible to forget. That is in absence of a reserve point of basing any political cataclysm in Ukraine, any blackmail of the Ukrainian power which will not eternally be kept by Yanukovych will be very sensitive for the fleet. To be more precise - disastrous. Russia will remain without fleet on Black Sea.
However there is such a problem - it's already the times of Peter the Great and the Prutsky campaign as the result of which Russia lost the fleet and ports in pool of Black Sea. At first lost, then got and not even more.
Today nobody and never will allow Russia to return to Black Sea as military force if it loses it. It means that all pool of Black Sea will be supervised by the fleet of NATO countries. Besides Georgia will become then "unsinkable aircraft carrier" for the USA on the east Black Sea Coast. From the Black Sea base the American rockets of sea basing can control all Near East including Iran as well as the western part of the Central Asia. There will be no vital necessity for the USA in the air passage through the territory of the Russian Federation. The USA will dictate conditions in the region and neither the Russian Federation, nor Turkey can even moderately and cautiously as today hold an effusiveness of the world leader.
All these geopolitical consequences can restrain today only by one factor - Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. It can disappear without leaving the bays of Sevastopol.
Аnatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk
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