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Ukraine: Politics, Business, and Corporate Feudalism

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The world’s political landscape is constantly changing. Throughout centuries the rules of engagement have shifted from monarchy to social totalitarianism, consequently further into what we currently witness, i.e., corporate Feudalism. The most vulnerable of emerging nations with economic potential are becoming a target to wielding in exchange for aid or business. The post-soviet Ukraine and states alike exemplify such a sketch.

The term “féodal” originated from the term used in the 17th-century French legal covenant. It was translated into English legal treatises as an adjective, such as “feodal government” that merely resembles a federal state with fiscal, political, and military power to protect the interest of the societies lacking one or more of the declared instruments. The government from feudal states would face conflicts that had to be solved in the battleground or across the negotiation table. The significant 21st-century corporations are the feudalists or another word federalist of their era, as they have infinite monetary resources, have invested on the most affluent lobbyists with a financial interest in industry sectors and most of all clasp the partnership privileges with an administration that retains one of the most robust militaries in the world.

On current turmoil centered on Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and President Donald Trump, impeachment inquiry symbolizes the feudalist concept in the modern meaning. That will be apparent if we stepped out of the media woods and peek at the big chaotic portrait of the political jungle. 

Ukraine is an ex-Soviet Union state and today’s part of Eastern European countries. It shares borders expanding from Russia in the northeast; Belarus in the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary in the west; and Romania, Moldova, and the Black Sea in the south.

Russia, Moscow, Red Square, Church, St Basile

Ukraine is presently at a territorial dispute with neighboring Russia over the peninsula of Crimean after its re-annexation by Russia in 2014. With Crimea included, Ukraine has an area of 233,062 sq. Miles making it both the largest country within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world. But, Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a 42 million population, making it the 32nd most populous state in the world. Its capital and largest city are Kiev, and Ukrainian is the official language. The dominant faith in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy. Ukraine’s Gross Domestic Product G.D.P., according to 2019, estimate Totals $408.040 billion and $9,743 per capita. 

Ukraine’s economic and strategic significance 

Ukraine holds a unique strategic perspective in the European continent, making the country of substantial value to the rest of the world more so to the western European territories. Besides, it supervises the primary corridor for gas pipelines that stretch from Russia to Western regions, including Germany. 

The State-owned natural gas and oil company of Ukraine; Naftogaz is involved in extracting, transporting, and refinement of natural gas and crude oil. It has an annual revenue of €8.163 billion; Net income of €368.41 million. Naftogaz Total assets are estimated to be around €19.228 billion, with a Total equity of €13.181 billion. The natural gas pipeline of Ukraine is an intricate network of natural gas transmission pipelines for gas import-export from Russia to western nations and transit in Ukraine. It is one of the largest gas transmission systems in the world. 

In 2009, Ukraine, the European Commission, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, and the World Bank signed a pact to revive the Ukrainian gas transmission system. The agreement was intended to modernize the entire gas supply system to the whole continent. 

Russia-Ukraine conflict

Post-Soviet Ukraine-Russia relationship hadn’t been without conflict, as Serious confrontation began in March 2005 when the Russian government alleged Ukraine of diverting the gas from the pipelines without paying that was primarily intended for western European states. Although Ukrainian officials initially refuted the accusation, later Naftogaz (countries state-owned energy company) conceded that natural gas intended for other European nations was concealed and utilized for domestic purposes.

The dispute reached new heights on January 1st, 2006, when Russia stopped gas flow through Ukrainian pipelines. Based on that experience as well as the report by Reuters, Ukraine’s gas transport company Ukrtransgaz has already started boosting gas pumping stations at locales helping the delivery of gas to eastern and southern regions of the nation in the event another interruption of gas supply from Russia. The Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement is due to expire in January 2020.

Latter is of significant concern to Ukrainian energy leadership as Russia could cease gas supplies through Ukrainian pipelines any moment afterward, leaving certain Ukrainian territories without an adequate amount of natural gas, particularly during the winter months. The escalating confrontation between Russians and Ukrainians has already led to the occupation by Russia of the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea, resulting in the annexation of Crimea on March 18th, 2014. 

The unfolded war between the post-revolutionary Ukrainian regime and countries’ pro-Russian insurgents Amid escalating tension between the two countries, along with exploration of the gas treaty between them, points to the assumption that Russia will need Ukraine’s Gas Pipelines to European Union in 2020. For that reason, the Ukrainian Naftogaz company amasses in its long list of agendas to hold a conference with its Russian counterpart Gazprom, in March 2020.

Russia’s alternate strategy to bypass the Ukraine transit corridor is the Nord Stream II project, which is merely the expansion of an existing underwater pipeline. The updated system expands the most extended length of the Baltic sea, allowing Gazprom to increase its direct natural Gas supply to Hungary and Germany. 

The Russian Nord Stream II Pipelines would Crossover to the Political Lines, potentially making Germany dependent on Russian natural gas concomitantly economically jeopardizing Ukraine’s revenue stream. The gas would flow from Russia directly to Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine and withholding those countries’ significant portion of the transit fees.

As the outcome, Germany will come to be dependent on Russian gas amid its plans to wean itself off nuclear power and coal energy. Concomitantly establishing uncertainty is Russia’s objective to famish Ukraine of a crucial lump of dividends.

The Trump administration, with the support of the U.S. Congress, is continually struggling to halt the 9.5 billion-euro ($10.6 billion) Nord Stream 2 project to prevent NATO allies from coming to be a pendant on Russian fossil fuel energy. Based on that justification, since then, Germany has diligently taken initiatives to host three-ways talks with Ukraine and Russia, amid president trump’s lash out to Germany during the NATO summit criticizing their stance over the regional unrest.

Denmark is among the first Baltic states approving the Nord Stream II pipeline project. United States Congress has been weighing to introduce further sanctions against Russians as the mean to stave off the Nord Stream II gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea. But, the idea has been acted upon, as already 85% of the pipeline has been inserted. Seemingly enough, the congressional embargoes aimed at companies contributing to the pipeline’s construction will neither halt the project. Instead, they will become another excuse for tension between the United States and the European Union.

 

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But, Are U.S. fossil fuels tied to Ukraine and the Trump impeachment hearing?

Ukraine is presently amid a hastening president Trump’s impeachment review, while it is crucial to the president’s endeavors to boost U.S. exports of fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the impeachment investigation procedure has hurt the relationship between the United States and Ukraine. It all commenced as the House Democrats started pursuing data on how the president and his administration may have been involved in pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden on allegation of corruption.

Ukraine leaders have invited U.S. backing and investment in its energy sector, willing to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas instead of buying Russian fuel. The leading message is; Ukraine’s dependence on any government that is apt to offer military support to them, in the face of Russian military intervention. Yet, The United States is not one of the rare countries scaling up its Liquefied natural gas export capacity. According to the report, Russia also has plans to build liquefied natural gas terminals in Europe, enabling the country to export it to European countries at an even lower rate than the U.S. suppliers. 

Reforming Ukraine’s Energy Sector with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Improving Ukraine’s Energy Sector consultant Carnegie is an international policy analysis organization founded in 2007, and has worked on Ukraine’s Energy Sector reform for over a decade. According to the agency, it is exceptionally crucial to Transform the country’s energy realm if the intention is to bolster its economy and national security. Even so, Despite recent enthusiastic strides in the constructive path, the odds look troublesome.

Delegates from Naftogaz company met with their U.S. backers and business experts for the first bit in 2015, examining Ukraine’s natural gas market and the expectations for prospective investment. At around the same time, an Austin, Texas-based TrailStone, announced plans to enter the Ukrainian market. Welcomed by Naftogaz, Kyiev’s keen wile towards enticing Western investment through privatization policies has been a critical play by its leaders towards disengaging Russian influence from the sphere of clout. Naftogaz has long been a partner of Russian government-regulated behemoth Gazprom. Yet, The Naftogaz has been rehearsing liberation for sometimes, coercing the U.S. and E.U. in the middle as the process is shaking up the regional stability.

The division has generated resorts for U.S. energy companies such as Trailstone to look into the lucrative European market. But, pursuance of 2019 scandal U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry appointed a political backer Michael Bleyzer as an adviser to Ukraine’s president, the preceding University of Texas System regent earned the lucrative energy contract from the Ukrainian government. It is well understood, the former Texas governor perry, attended Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration.

According to Reuter, during his visit, rick personally handed the incoming president the list of names, which also included Bleyzer, who he reckoned to be the favorable candidates to serve as energy consultants for Naftogaz company. It wasn’t surprising that Blayzer’s name was among the rest.

Expectedly, Within the following month, Ukraine awarded oil and gas exploration contracts to Bleyzer and his partner Alex Cranberg. Perry yet elected Cranberg to the Utah Board of Regents after he registered to vote in the state of Texas, pursuing a transition from the state of Colorado. Cranberg served as a system’s governing board from 2011 to 2017 and was distinguished as a controversial figure.

The latter move stunned Democrats on three U.S. House committees, motivating them to summon the manuscripts from Perry as part of their impeachment investigation into accounts as what President Donald Trump implored Zelensky to investigate Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son. At the time, Hunter served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer, from 2014 to 2019, coinciding around the time when Trailstone negotiations were on the table. 

Open Secrets of Oil & Gas 

According to a report by A.P. News, The Rudy Giuliani ( former New York mayor and Trump’s lawyer) with President Trump’s aid attempted to change the senior management at Naftogaz, a move that was already thought of by the energy secretary, Rick Perry. As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials in 2018 to investigate one of Donald Trump’s chief political rivals (Biden), a group of individuals with connections to the president and his lawyer was furthermore active in Ukraine. The perception of Profit over politics by Democrats was the ultimate consequence of suspicion that someone in the ex-Soviet republic administration potentially had access to insider information from the United States. Latter ignited a new flame to shine torches into the abuse of power against the residing United States president. 

There is no doubt that oil and gas energy industry has had undivided attention in the Republican party success, as According to a report Fossil fuel shareholders have altogether pumped over $100m into Republican presidential campaigns as contributions efforts in 2015 alone– serving an outstanding bargain by the oil and gas industry in the party’s fortune. 

At the other end of the table, the clean energy rhetoric is often the subject of Democratic Party conversation, as they realize war with the fossil fuel industry is the absolute solution if they must take on the climate crisis. Thus, a piece of Released information indicates Joe Biden attended a $2,800-a-head fundraiser hosted by Andrew Goldman, the co-founder of a company that specializes in opening up new markets for” clean natural gas.”

Concomitantly the former Ukrainian prosecutor (Viktor Shokin), who initiated an investigation on corruption charges against Hunter, was eliminated after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government by withholding promised financial support in retaliation. The prosecutor was sacked because he had argued that the appointment of Hunter Biden to the Burisma board was wrong as he lacked relevant experience.

During a Press interview, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asserted that a delegation of Democratic senators also expectedly to be investigated over a message they delivered to the Ukrainian government in 2018, putting forward an issue about Mueller-related investigations. In the interview, he pointed out that both political sides appear to be committing the same trend, in regards to abusing powers.

In November 2019, Washington examiner published a piece, pointing out that Democrats don’t want the public to learn the origins of Ukraine investigation because they didn’t wish the nation to spot sources of Russia inquiry. House Democrats seem to be hesitant to disclose the identity of the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower, who revealed the nature of presidents’ conversation with Ukrainian leader about the recent Perry effort. Perhaps they are uneasy about the whistle blower’s safety or conceivably not!

But, Democrats seem to comprehend that, beyond a limited refusal of the inspector general at the head of the intelligence community, no law blocks anyone, in politics, media, or anywhere else, from publicizing the whistleblower’s disposition. The Democrats’ determination to cut off queries about the roots of the Trump-Ukraine inquiry seems to be the same to their judgment to withhold questions about the inceptions of the Trump-Russia investigation. In both cases, they fought overwhelmingly to safeguard the secret origins of scrutinies that have shivered the country, profoundly branching out the electorate and influenced the destiny of the presidency.

While at it, the Democrats’ Campaign with the Promise of Eliminating America’s energy sectors, current republican administration is pushing fast-forward with crude oil and gas production. Democratic presidential nominees resist a production technology called fracking, strongly supported by their rival republicans. They relay it as not based on environmental hazard, as they understand it’s a clean technique or dwelled in both an ecological and financial wealth, nevertheless due to the heightened generation of natural gas, even though it is a more decent recourse to coal for producing electricity. Republican contenders claim fracking is an efficient way to extract fossil fuel.

 

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As mentioned earlier, Rick Perry, according to the business deal with Ukrainians over the modernized extraction, the liquefied gas has already pulled him into a much bigger scandal in congressional motion. Thereon promotion from Perry’s supporters, bought enormous gas bargain in Ukraine, while Perry had an inflated impact in Ukraine. The announcement in the impeachment inquiry against Trump indicates the energy secretary was one of the key U.S. official triads who were arranging dialogue between Trump and the Ukrainian peers. According to CNN, amid President Donald Trump’s July 25th phone conversation with President Zelensky, many of his associates were engaged in efforts to change Naftogaz’s leadership. Coincidentally, Two Giuliani associates were incidentally arrested as they tried to leave the U.S. in conjunction with the latest bid. 

As we are approaching how a trump- Ukraine scandal has developed, we must keep in mind that this is a tremendous downfall in United States history for the American people. Because It merely revolves around efforts by the U.S. President, and his administration coercing Ukraine and other foreign countries into furnishing bruising portrayals about 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate Joe Biden along with indication relating to Russian meddling in the 2016 United States elections. Prosecutors; and F.B.I. are also investigating Mr. Giuliani’s involvement in bidding for Ukrainian officials who wished the former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch be terminated from the position while serving as president’s attorney. 

Joe Biden’s interest in Ukraine goes back to his first term in the Senate in the 1970s when he eagerly focused on European affairs. But after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, he directed vigilance to the former Soviet state of Ukraine, contending they be allowed to join NATO. After the Russian re-occupation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine raised to the top of the Obama administration agenda. So Hunter Biden (son of Joe Biden) was offered a lucrative position on the board of Burisma Holdings, a natural gas company, with the help of his father’s stature within the system.

Robert Hunter Biden is an attorney, lobbyist, the second son of the former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is the co-founder of the Rosemont Seneca Partners, an international consulting firm. Under questioning during house impeachment investigation by the upstate New York G.O.P. Rep. Elise Stefanik, Lt. Col. Alexander Vidman, National Security Council official, and Theresa Williams, foreign policy aid to Vice President Mike Pence, relinquished that the Hunter Biden’s appointment to Burisma Holdings appeared somewhat conflicting. 

Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma had always been controversial amid accusations by U.S. President Donald Trump that Joe Biden unethically aided his son’s commerce investments in Ukraine, while he was the vice president. Interviews with dozens of people, including executives and former prosecutors in Ukraine, depicted a snapshot of a director who provided advice on legal issues, corporate finance and strategy during the five-year term on the board of directors, wherein real-life Hunter never visited Ukraine for firm affairs during that time. They also said; Hunter Biden’s existence on the board didn’t safeguard the company from its most urgent challenge instigating a sequel of criminal investigations undertaken by Ukrainian authorities against Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, former minister of ecology and natural reserves, over allegations about tax violations, money-laundering, and licenses given to Burisma during where Zlochevsky was a minister.

As retaliation efforts, Kremlin enjoys U.S. pullback from Syria, unrest in Ukraine as well as increasing influence in Turkey and Venezuela. The power struggle between the European Union, on the one hand, and US-Russia and rest of the world on the other has taken the Ukrainian political landscape beyond European borders. It merely is the tit-for-tat between the United States and Putin’s expansive agenda. If Russia needs to lose interest in Ukraine, then the U.S. must say goodbye to Turkey, Syria, Venezuela, and negotiating leverage with Iran.

The big picture 

Ukraine’s despite its long history holds a relative rookie recent chronology primarily due to its post-second World war annexation to communist Russia that has placed the new Ukraine under the scrutiny of reaching out to other countries for help survive the entangled reliance on the new Russian administration. To survive, it must make crucial choices, as it requires military protection and financial support, which Feudalism envisions. Ukraine is vulnerable to the emerging corporate Feudalism. It craves to blend in with the western market while its long affiliation with the east makes the mission even harder. Ukraine’s economic sovereignty is essential to European Union.

Meanwhile, it is a multi-billion dollar opportunity for corporations and a tremendous strategic space for the world powers. Post-Soviet Russia desires to get back in the game. It also expects to boost the flow of gas to the rest of Europe. European countries need a steady stream of Russian natural gas, amid the transition to clean energy, so they must keep their association equalized between Ukraine and Russians.

So far, the scheme has spawned the perfect environment for U.S. Based corporations comprising but not restricted to the energy sector to compete for a piece of the pie. For the United States, the Ukraine deal has been a multifaceted challenge. The economic, social, internal, as well as foreign political factors are impacting the course of actions on how the country has to handle the problem. The Democratic Party is determined to replace the republican president, be it through impeachment or the 2020 elections. The energy industries historically are Pro-republican. But the clean energy sector has become the center of attention of Democratic Party initiatives. Amid ends of Ukraine -Russia treaty over Naftogaz, Texas-based fossil fuel industry is coming up with liquefied Gas technology, with an effort to bypass Democrats’ environmental rhetoric.

The lobbying corporations and campaign supporters anticipate something in return from their respective political parties. Russia is holding the European Union captive in the negotiations while folding the undersea Baltic pipelines. In retribution to U.S. involvement in Ukraine, Russians have widened their participation in the Middle East and Venezuela. More specifically, the upheaval concomitantly occurring today in Yemen, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon has created a perfect environment for global power and leverage offset.

Between the lines 

Ukraine is too vast of turf to pass for corporate Feudalism, that wields wealth, U.S. government resources, and the military-industrial complex to endure supremacy. They have what it takes to make sure Ukrainian civic sovereignty and holding of land in exchange for service or labor, henceforth in modern sense corporations’ financial interest. Ukraine’s interest in economic independence from Russia comes at the expense of pro-corporatism and giving into Feudalism. What we read on the media headlines is the tip of the iceberg as what is transpiring. It merely embodies a turf war between corporations through lobbyist driven politics. Corporations given the green light during the Obama administration (Democrat) were pushed aside during the Trump presidency (Republican), tarnishing all the business deals earned through Hunter Biden and his Firm. Today the Democrats overseeing of the congress, impeachment inquiry and Trump election-Russia scandal illustrates the military arm of the modern Feudalism.

Take home message 

Corporate Feudalism is the contemporary version of its prominent social system that was prevalent during medieval Europe. The royalty clenched countries from the U.S. in swap for military services and ammunition. For Ukraine to live their way, it must keep loyalty, labor, and a share of the production, in exchange for military protection with the ultimate profiting of the industrial complex. Impeachment is the upshot of the battle over the turf for corporations, with the mission to produce energy through solar power, clean energy, or liquefied natural gas.

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Adam Tabriz
Dr. Adam Tabriz is an Executive level physician, writer, personalized healthcare system advocate and entrepreneur with 15+ years of success performing surgery, treating patients and creating innovative solutions for independent healthcare providers. He provides critically needed remote care access to underserved populations in the Healthcare Beyond Borders initiative. His mission is to Create a highly effective business model which alleviates the economic and legislative burden of independent practitioners, empowers patients and creates ease of access to medical services for everyone. He believes in Achieving performance excellence by leveraging medical expertise and modern-day technology.

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