I have many people to thank. In this post I’ll name some of the key people. I hope this will allow you to better understand how I see their role from within the process, and reduce the amount of speculation on the subject. Unfortunately, I can’t mention them all now. I apologize in advance. But I appreciate everyone’s contribution. I also remember those who created obstacles;).
I’ll start with the arbitration process, because in order to get the money stemming from the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration, you first had to win in this arbitration.
Let me remind you that the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Court on the gas transit contract, under which this $3 billion was paid (in addition to the $2.1 billion received through the offset for the supplied gas) was made in February 2018. The key actors in the arbitration process were:
- My partners in the team from Naftogaz, which was directly involved in the arbitration: Yaroslav Teklyuk and Alex Veden. Yes, we had a very small team. As the chief lawyer of Naftogaz, Yaroslav was along with me an official representative of Naftogaz in the arbitration. As the chief analyst, Alexander helped with the economic justification of the claims against Gazprom (and this was not an easy task because at first even our external lawyers and experts did not believe in my idea of arbitration with Gazprom on the transit contract). Yaroslav was assisted in this process by Elena Zeksel and Natalia Lavreha. Alex/Oleksandr was helped primarily by Olena Melnyk and Ivan Karpenko.
- Our external lawyers and experts: Wikborg Rein, Gernandt & Danielsson, Aequo, Brattle Group and others. They are probably the best, and we are very grateful to them for working together with us effectively. We developed a solid position and arguments on the merits of the case, which lawyers and experts together with us then successfully defended in arbitration.
I will note for those who think that it is sufficient to simply hire good lawyers and experts. No, unfortunately, this is not so, especially in such complex cases against such powerful opponents. Lawyers and experts can only help, they can’t think for you and do everything for you. You need to know your business better than them and understand the problems you are trying to solve through arbitration.
- Witnesses: Ihor Didenko, Antonina Marchenko, Andriy Kobolev, Vadym Frolov. I was also a witness in this this process. I will single out Ihor Didenko as a key witness; not to mention that it is due to him that the contract includes Swedish law and the Stockholm Arbitration.
If we look at the arbitration more broadly, at external factors, I should acknowledge the following actors:
- Ukrainian civil society. I am grateful to those who fought for the victory of the Revolution of Dignity and put pressure on the authorities to make at least partial changes in the system possible. I am especially grateful to the defenders of Ukraine on all fronts.
- Yatsenyuk – after the failure to reach an agreement with Gazprom on the extension of “Yanukovych’s discounts” and on debts for gas, and it became clear that Ukraine does not have the money to fulfill obligations under the gas supply contract, i.e. when no other viable op[tion existed, Yatsenyuk supported the decision that Naftogaz should exercise its right to apply to the Stockholm Arbitration.
I would like to note that this applies to arbitration under the gas supply contract, and not on transit for which we have now received money. But still, the “road to arbitration” was opened. And later his support for this process was sometimes important.
- Poroshenko – I can’t remember instances of his directly helping in this process, but publicly he supported the arbitration against Gazprom.
- The Foreign Ministry and diplomats (Klimkin, Zerkal, Yeliseyev and others) – helped and facilitated contacts at the interstate level, which helped in various aspects.
- Ukraine’s international partners – they also helped and assisted more broadly.
- Members of the Management Board and Supervisory Board of Naftogaz – they made some important decisions related to arbitration.
- Other politicians, civil servants, journalists, activists, colleagues. Unfortunately, I cannot list at this moment all those who helped and assisted in this common cause. I apologize to them for that. But I have not forgotten their contribution.
Now I will write about the second stage — receiving money from Gazprom.
First of all, I would like to note that Olga Ivaniv and Vladyslav Belik joined our legal team working directly on these issues on behalf of Naftogaz.
Now on a broader view of this process.
We can argue about how quickly we could have collected this money compulsorily, and how many different factors influenced Gazprom’s decision to pay up voluntarily, but it occurred with the active participation of President Zelensky.
The Stockholm Arbitration and the execution of its decisions always had not just a political but a geopolitical aspect.
From what I saw personally, President Zelensky always took the position that Gazprom must comply with the decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration. This was important, especially given that there were always enough people who were ready to “downplay” our victory.
I can also add that President Zelensky gave me the opportunity to defend our position on the need to implement the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Court, even at the meeting with Putin in Paris.
I point out that this should serve as an example of how the new government victoriously completes the positive things that were begun under the previous government.
I would like to mention the role of the Office of the President, first of all Andriy Yermak, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers, in particular the relevant Minister, Oleksiy Orzhel, Ukrainian diplomats, the National Commission for Regulation of Economic Competition, the AMCU, international partners – they all helped and assisted in various matters.
I also mention the role of civil society, which created the necessary demand that the authorities could not fail to notice.
P.S. In order that my post does not look like flattery of the authorities, I will emphasize frankly that this victory in the Stockholm Arbitration was made possible not due to, but in spite of, the outdated rules established in the system of power and in state-owned companies. In particular, despite the parasitism that has become so entrenched at all levels of our society.
This victory is exceptional. And, as the British proverb says – it’s the “exception that proves the rule.”
Unfortunately, as a rule, this obsolete order of things in the system of government and state-owned companies does not lead to victory, but to “betrayal.”
P.P.S. I wrote in more detail about the confrontation with Gazprom and about the arbitration in a special project with NV: