Why Can’t Russia Produce Turbines For Crimea? – Part I

Dear Readers:

I saw this interesting piece in VZGLIAD, written by Olga Samofalova.  After the Crimean Autonomy was reunified with Russia in 2014, it became a critically strategic task for the Russian government to supply electrical energy to the peninsula.

According to Lenin’s maxim:  “Communism equals Soviet power plus electricity.”

In Soviet times, the residents of the Crimean Autonomy and the Free City of Sebastopol were serviced by an electrical grid which, reasonably enough, utilized the land connection between the Ukrainian mainland and the diamond-shaped peninsula to the South.  A quick look at the map will show how the land connection totally makes sense.  Especially given that Ukrainian infrastructure was built decades ago and has persisted without change except for decay and amortization.  In fact, a lot of Crimea’s essential infrastructure — including water and electricity — was posited on the notion of a permanent connection to the Ukrainian mainland to the North.  Soviet leader Nikita Khruschchev draws warranted criticism for his (willful and illegal) decision to move Crimea under Ukrainian administrative jurisdiction.  By doing that he opened a can of worms with a long-delay fuse; not to mention mixing a lot of other metaphors.  But in Nikita’s defense, he was acting more like the CEO of a company who decides that, say, due to distribution logistics, he wants his Hackensack branch to come under the management of Bob in Pennsylvania rather than Jim up in Manhattan….

Nikita Khrushchev

In short, Soviet planners could never in a million years conceive that some day Russia and Ukraine would become mortal enemies, and that the Crimean peninsula would be left adrift without technological support from their comrades in the oblasts to the North.  Baba Vanga was on her lunch break and forgot to tell them about this horrific future.

But then it happened.  The victorious Ukrainian nationalists, like Golum bitter at his loss of “his precious” Crimea, lashed out at the 2 million residents of the peninsula.  Golum cut off their water and electricity.  In his rage this troll descended to barbarous and even self-destructive tactics such as blowing up his own electricity pylons in the Kherson Oblast of Ukraine.  Let the Kherson people suffer too!

Ukrainian nationalists destroy their own pylons.

This sabotage, this inhuman and illegal embargo of vital services to the residents of Crimea, who are newly-minted Russian citizens, presents a strategic challenge for the Russian government.

The solution:  A brand new electrical system must be constructed, which bypasses the Ukrainian mainland entirely.  Russia is currently building two electricity stations for Crimea, each of which can produce 940 megawatts.  These stations run on gas turbines produced by the German firm Siemens AG.

Problem:  The West, rushing to the aid of their new Ukrainian puppet government, imposed economic sanctions on Russia.  Such sanctions included vital machinery that could be used to build an electrical grid.  Delivery of the Siemens turbines was frozen.

Amelioration:   It was announced a couple of days ago that the Siemens turbines are being delivered, after all.  A loophole was found whereby a third company delivers the turbines, thus evading the sanctions.  There will be 4 gas turbines in all.  Two of the four, of the model SGT5-2000E, have already been delivered to the port of Sebastopol.

This is great news, but the writer Olga Samofalova asks the question:  How is it that Russia herself is not able to produce her own turbines?  Why is Russia dependent on German turbines?

[to be continued]

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