Final Word from Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Americans are starting to notice that some "wealthy Czech and Slovak businesspeople" are standing in the way of a natural-gas solution for Ukraine. The International New York Times asks on its front page today why it has been so difficult to prod Slovakia to put in place a technically simple reverse-flow procedure. The NYT didn't mention the names Petr Kellner, Daniel Křetínský and Patrik Tkáč (and their partners), but these are the wealthy Czechs and Slovaks it is talking about. They, as EPH, own 49% of Eustream of Slovakia, which is the sticking point in breaking the Kremlin's grip on supplies of gas to Ukraine. Kellner has the most to lose by reversing the flow, because PPF is heavily invested in Russia. It's not so far-fetched to imagine that Kellner will have to decide at some point between angering the Kremlin and risking sanctions for obstructing the liberation of Ukraine from Gazprom. [Czech Republic J&T EP Holding SPP United States of America U.S. Russia]

Glossary of difficult words

to stand in the way of - to be in a position to prevent someone or something from moving or making progress;

to prod - to stimulate or persuade (someone who is reluctant or slow) to do something;

to reverse the flow - (in this context) to change the direction of the flow of natural gas;

sticking point - a point at which an obstacle arises in progress toward an agreement or goal;

far-fetched - contrived and unconvincing; unlikely;

to obstruct - to block or get in the way of.


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