Russian loan issued for railway rehabilitation in Abkhazia – fraud or not?
Two months ago, Moscow and Sukhum signed a deal regarding the restructuring of debt under a RUB 2 billion loan, issued by Russia seven years ago for railway restoration.
Under the aforesaid deal, the loan settlement scheme has been extended by another six years, ending in 2029. In addition, payment of interest has been cancelled, and the amount of annual payments, which was a heavy burden for the Abkhaz budget, has been reduced from RUB 316 million to RUB 109 million (approximately USD 2.5 million).
However, for the document to take effect, it first needed to be ratified. So, having unanimously voted ‘for’ it (it would have been strange to expect any other option), the Abkhaz Parliament has eventually finalized this deal.
The frequent patrons of ‘Brekhalovka’, a famous coffee shop in Sukhumi, gave a sigh of relief and started doing simple calculations on how much of their monthly pension they could afford to spend. Their view is that the obvious result of the loan would be an increase in their monthly pension.
Meanwhile, the local politicians, overly satisfied with their achievement, gathered to ‘wet’ the bargain with a glass of good wine. They praise their own ability to touch a string in the hearts of the Kremlin dwellers who eventually ‘surrendered’ after the Abkhaz officials’ numerous petitions. Nothing is too much trouble if it’s done for the sake of the beloved motherland!
In due time, this ill-fated loan was certainly taken solely out of ‘love for the motherland.’ Generally speaking, when the matter concerned money, the Abkhaz authorities actually have never had any other motives than that. The RUB 2 billion (approximately USD 35 million) loan was taken without any estimate documentation or economic analysis based on any real analysis of the economic effect of this operation.
It should be admitted that ‘the fit of selfless love for the motherland’ was running so high, that even ratification of this deal in the Abkhaz parliament was regarded by the presidential administration as excessive speech and a waste of time.
Finally, a forged document was sent to Moscow. The cash was received and splurged well; it was enough for some sort of repairs of the dead-end siding, that the Abkhaz railway actually represents in general. In fact, the executed works acceptance act was never signed, but it’s a trifle matter.
When it came to the settlement of payments, a certain group of MPs suddenly got a sneaking suspicion – the Parliament appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office, requesting to give legal assessment to the loan transaction. The officials there literally swore ‘on their mom’s name’ that everything was in due order. So, all this brought confidence about the Motherland’s future. “Those guys surely won’t sell us out,” I thought then.
It can’t be that a single non-patriot couldn’t be found in the entire, though relatively small, country. Some ‘lost sheep’ could always be found there, as required by the rules of the genre. Even if there is no ‘sheep’ ready for the slaughter, it’s necessary to assign someone to that role. Otherwise, it will be hard to explain to people, on the one hand whose fault it is that Communism hasn’t reached Abkhazia so far, and, on the one hand, why they should still strive for it.
Finally, a fall guy revealed himself. Anton Krivenyuk, a journalist, has had the impudence to term the newly emerging railway loan deal as a ‘fraudulent bargain’. The patriots from the Prosecutor’s Office immediately launched a criminal case against Krivenyuk, while the no less patriotic Abkhaz court sentenced him to 2 years’ probation.
Krivenyuk soon left the motherland, raising the number of patriots in the abandoned country to a 100% rate.
However, the expected happiness hasn’t come. Alas, Abkhazia is still paying off its debts, and not only under the railway loan. It will keep doing so until the inquiring journalists, rather than the officials who drove the country to a patriotic song into a systemic bondage, are selected as ‘points men’.
It’s high time to rehabilitate Anton Krivenyuk. Actually, it’s necessary for us, rather than for him, so that we could have at least some hope for the future.