The President of the European Commission, accompanied by around fifteen European Commissioners, went to Kyiv, the 2 last february, to renew its support for the Ukrainian government. It was, for Brussels, to send a “strong signal”.
We started by talking big bucks, as per usual, with the billions that the European Union dispenses without counting and, Above all, without questioning their final destination despite the corruption cases that have recently targeted several high dignitaries of the regime, and in particular the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense, Viatcheslav Chapovalov.
Nothing serious, just a story of massive overcharging of food products for the army. A scam still estimated at 330 millions of dollars. Le Monde newspaper, the 24 last january, reported that the first reaction of the Ministry of Defense had been to deny the facts and that the SBU (Ukrainian security services) had been immediately tasked with investigating the “publication of false information harming the interests of the defense”.
Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, had, on the other hand, pleaded the "technical error" about the offending contract, while openly threatening the whistleblower behind the press leaks : he would have to “answer for his actions”.
Retrospectively, we can't wait to find all these beautiful people in the European Union. Ursula von der Leyen se donne, In any case, a lot of trouble for that. This was also the whole point of this summit in kyiv : building Ukraine's path to the EU.
Another point at the heart of the discussions, Russia, of course. On the one hand, reaffirm to Volodymyr Zelensky the will to continue to sanction Moscow, the other, reassure Europeans faced with inflation and the risk of seeing their economies tip over. Ursula von der Leyen had therefore been very clear : our sacrifices were not in vain. By listening to it, we even found the triumphalist accents of Bruno Le Maire, a March 2022, when he announced the impending collapse of the Russian economy.
The President of the Commission said so, we could rejoice, the goal had been achieved : " Today, Russia is paying a heavy price, because our sanctions are eroding its economy, pushing it back a generation. » Of a generation, Not less. It took Ursula von der Leyen a hell of a lot of confidence to say that.
A few days earlier, the IMF, who will hardly be accused of being in the pay of the Kremlin, published its “world economic outlook”. They planned, for Russia, a return to growth in 2023 and growth higher than that of the euro zone in 2024 (2,1 % against 1,6 %). After nine EU sanctions packages !
“As Europe suffers the consequences of the break with Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine on 24 february 20222, the Russian economy weakens but holds the shock, modestly commented on La Tribune, the 31 last january. Despite Western sanctions put in place for almost a year, the Russian economy did not collapse. » Across the Atlantic, the New York Times was more direct : “Russia’s Economic Growth Suggests Western Sanctions Have Limited Impact. »
A confession that the European press clearly did not seem in a hurry to share. Le Monde newspaper, at the same time, published an article entitled "Global Growth : the IMF a little less pessimistic than in the fall”. At the bottom of the page, found this comment : “Even the situation in Russia does not look as bad as expected. The contraction of its GDP will be limited to 2,2 % thanks to a major fiscal stimulus effort and the maintenance of its oil export volumes. »
In spring 2022, the IMF had, indeed, anticipated a fall of 8,5 % you PIB russe one 2022. The article from Le Monde kept well, However, announce growth forecasts for this year and next.
We will nevertheless award the golden palm for bad faith to Liberation, which, in an article of this 5 last february, found a much simpler solution : not only ignore the new IMF figures which announce the growth of the Russian economy this year but use those published last October which continued to count on a recession. This allows to indicate, pour 2023, a recession forecast of -2,3 % while the latest IMF figures now point to a growth forecast for Russia of +2,1 %. Getting around the truth is an art !
In an article from 20 last december, published on the website Les Crises, the economist Jacques Sapir had offered an in-depth analysis of the state of the Russian economy. " Short term, he admitted, the sanctions had an effect, the recession bears witness to this, but this effect remained very limited. If we compare the objectives displayed by the main Western leaders, goals that ranged from stopping the fighting to collapsing the Russian economy, to the current reality, we can even speak of gross failure. »
After the remarks made by Ursula von der Leyen, so we can only wonder : where did the fact checkers go ?