Ruthless atomic cutting

Why and why does Rosatom invest tens of billions of dollars in deliberately unprofitable projects for the construction of new nuclear power plants abroad?
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Russia has forgiven Kirghizia 240 million dollars of debt. Since 2013, this country has written off almost $ 500 million of its debt to Russia.

Discuss why Kyrgyzstan could not repay debts is meaningless, because economically and financially this is the most natural failed state. The state foreign debt of this country in December 2017 amounted to more than $ 4 billion or more than 55% of its GDP. At the same time, Russia as a creditor occupied in it a relatively modest fifth place after the Export-Import Bank of China (1.7 billion dollars of debt), the World Bank (650 million dollars), the Asian Development Bank (almost 600 million dollars) and the Japanese agency JICA (242 million dollars).

Foreign trade activity for Kyrgyzstan is completely unprofitable (in 2016 exports amounted to 1.5 billion dollars, imports - 4 billion dollars), the balance of payments deficit is hardly covered by investments, credits and transfers from migrant workers from Russia and other countries (in 2016 the volume of transfers only of the RF amounted to almost 1.8 billion dollars). In general, to shake off from Kyrgyzstan under such conditions, money is almost impossible, and political ambitions to create and develop the Eurasian Economic Community (union of homeless people and gas stations) need to be at least something to back up.

Fuss with Kirghiz duty took four last years and it is necessary to recognize that ResFed here got off relatively little blood:

The parties agreed to write off the debt in June last year, during the visit of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev. It's about writing off the balances of its debts to Kyrgyzstan totaling $ 240 million. The first part of the debt - $ 188.9 million - Russia was written off in 2013. Nevertheless, Kyrgyzstan remained due $ 300 million. Since Kyrgyzstan was not able to repay the debt, the countries agreed to write off it at $ 30 million a year. By May 2017, when it was proposed to write off the Kyrgyz debt in full, only $ 60 million was written off.

"There was an appeal from the Kyrgyz side to write off; we met our partners, and today an agreement was signed to write off the debt in the amount of $ 240 million, "said Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

Half a billion dollars lost is sad, but not so much on the background of the fact that back in 2012, Kyrgyzstan planned at the expense of the Russian mega-project to build a whole cascade of hydroelectric power plants with a total cost of either one or more (realistically) as much as two billion dollars:

In 2012, the Russian Federation and Kyrgyzstan concluded an intergovernmental agreement on a large-scale project to create a large complex of hydroelectric power stations in this poor Asian country. It was immediately about two related projects: Kambartinskaya HPP-1 (since 2006, the Russian Federation has been helping Kyrgyzstan with the completion of Kambartinskaya HPP-2, which was built in 1987, but since 1992 was abandoned) on the Syr Darya tributary of the Naryn River, as well as the whole cascade hydropower stations (HPP) on the same river. It's about the so-called. Verkhne-Narynsky cascade of hydroelectric power stations (in its composition - Akbulunskaya HPP, Naryn HPP-1, Naryn HPP-2, Naryn HPP-3).

The design capacity of four hydroelectric generating units of Kambartinskaya HPP-1 was to be 1860 MW, the estimated annual output of electricity is 5.1 billion kWh. The project was to be implemented by specialists of Russian companies JSC RusHydro and Inter RAO UES. The cumulative projected installed capacity of the HPP of the Verkhne-Narynsky cascade was to be 237.7 MW, and the average annual power generation was 942.4 million kWh. The cost of this project (including Kambartinskaya HPP-1) has steadily increased: from $ 400 million in 2013 to almost $ 2 billion in 2016, unofficially. On paper, of course, now the cost of these hydro power plants is estimated at 730 million dollars.

Fortunately for Russian taxpayers, due to technical problems and the financial crisis of 2014-2015, RusHydro was unable to start implementing this insanity. However, the Russian Federation still has many projects that the core of Northern Eurasia implements at its own expense and in debt, provided that no one will repay these debts. Particularly "good" is the matter in the field of nuclear energy. Here are just some of these projects:

1. Construction of the Belarusian NPP. Russia will spend 10 billion dollars on it, and after the introduction of this nuclear power plant into operation in 2019-2020, Belarus will seriously reduce gas purchases from Gazprom (by several hundred million dollars) and stop importing electricity from the Russian Federation (by several tens of millions of dollars). Thus, "blue-eyed" completely at the expense of the Russian Federation will solve its problems in the electric power industry. By itself, Belarus is a wonderful country in itself and, as it were, an ally of the Russian Federation, which, however, did not recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, nor the Crimea's membership in the Russian Federation (which is understandable, because even by the Russian laws Crimea is formally Ukrainian). Therefore, here with a stretch, but you can still write off such expenses for "brotherly help" (although we all remember that the nations that have taken place never have "brothers").

Other countries are much worse and worse than Belarus, but they are willing to generously allocate tens of billions of dollars to Russia.

2. Uzbekistan and the construction of nuclear power plants. In 2016, the Russian Federation wrote off this country $ 865 million of debt. The quality of this "debt" was mediocre, but it's completely unclear what Moscow got in return. And the more so that Uzbekistan itself, unlike the economic zombie of Kyrgyzstan, is not an insolvent state. In December 2017, it became known that the ReFed plans to build and finance a fully nuclear power plant in this wonderful country. As the project is supposed to be identical to the Belarusian one, the Russian taxpayers will have to shell out another 10-11 billion dollars, at least. Of course, Uzbekistan will never return this money.

3. Construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey. The total cost of this project is estimated at $ 20-22 billion and Rosatom plans to sell 49% of its operator by the end of 2018, but whether it will receive $ 10 billion of investment is a big issue. The recoupment of the project of this NPP is about 20-25 years, but most likely, in this graph it is possible to put "never". So against the background of this mega-cutting of Ankara's delivery of $ 2.5 billion of "no-tax complexes" S-400 - just a matinee in the kindergarten.

In general, Russian taxpayers are wealthy people, so they will happily pay 10 billion dollars for the energy of Belarus, and for Uzbekistan and Bangladesh, where Rosatom is building another nuclear power plant, 20 billion for Turkey, not to mention small things like Kyrgyzstan. The funniest thing is that the geography of mega-cuts includes even quite a developed state with effective demand. But even there the configuration of Russian infrastructure projects is such that it is meaningless to wait for the return of the invested funds.

For example, at NPP Khankhikivi-1 in Finland, Rosatom will spend up to 2.4 billion euros from the state's National Welfare Fund, plus it has already invested 600 million euros in the purchase of a 34% stake in Fennovoima. This is not to mention the subsidiary liability for external loans Fennovoima. The payback of this nuclear power plant will be at the very best at least 25 years, to be honest - never. Nevertheless, for residents of Finland (per capita GDP 43-44 thousand dollars), the station will be paid by Russian taxpayers with a per capita GDP of $ 8,700. The economy of the Paks-2 project, which includes the construction of two new power units (in fact, a new nuclear power plant) in Hungary, is even worse. Construction starts this year, the Russian Federation will pay from 10 billion dollars, the payback period of the project (overstatement) - from 25 years, that is, again never.

One can argue, of course, that such infrastructural projects in the nuclear power industry always have a very long pay-back period, and without credit funds they are simply impossible to fulfill. But why are they being made at public expense by a country where, even according to official data, more than 20 million people live below the poverty line, and 40% of working Russians receive less than 19 thousand rubles (300 euros) per month? This despite the fact that the real incomes of the country's population have been falling for four consecutive years, and the prices for electricity, gas and utility tariffs are steadily growing every year? If a rich Finland or a successful Uzbekistan needs nuclear power plants so much, let them themselves seek financing and offer a contract to Russian machine builders. Or the Japanese, the French or the Americans. And if they can not afford nuclear power plants, like Belarus, they should buy gas from Gazprom. Who cares?

The funniest thing will happen in the "atomic saw" in the coming years, when the inhabitants of Ukraine remember that they need to modernize the power units from all their four nuclear power plants, but they failed to do it themselves. Then we will see inflation of cheeks in the Kremlin and another "tranche of Yanukovych" of several billion dollars. Only this time to the state, where at every intersection the propagandists scream about the "century-long war with the northern neighbor." Debt, of course, will not be returned either.