The grand Livadia Palace which hosted the famed Yalta conference on the 4th of September 1945 where Franklin D Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin thrashed out the future of a post-war Germany.
In 2009 it welcomes the international forum “European Strategy” a talking shop to discuss the political and economic future of Ukraine. The Forum founder is Victor Pinchuk: “In 2003 we realised that Ukraine and the EU had faulty communications at an official level with people going to Brussels to take part in discussions without any real understanding of mutual needs. In 1945 Yalta played a part in bringing a divided world together we hope for the same today.” On the agenda the recent energy crisis between Russia and Ukraine which hit gas supplies to the European Union and led to countries looking for new energy partners so as not to rely too heavily on Russian gas supplies and Moscow’s tetchy relationship with Kiev. Analsyst Andrew Wilson: “There’s always a risk of a new gas crisis with russia. Every month Ukraine has had difficulties with some aspects of its payments. So it’s a bit difficult to predict when a crisis might occur but the solution that was adopted last january was a temporary one. It’s a question of when and not if the next crisis will be. In order to harmonise relations between Russia and Ukraine a number of obstacles must be overcome as well as energy Ukraine’s desire for NATO membership and Kiev telling the Russians to move its Black Sea fleet out of Sevastopol have rubbed Russia up the wrong way. Special advisor to Russian President Dimitry Medvedev is the political veteran Viktor Chernomyrdin. “We would like the relationship to improve because for seven months trade between us has halved, it’s a shame that politics hits the economy. Gas is not a political problem, its a corporate issue between two companies.” In three weeks campaigning gets underway ahead of January’s presidential election in Ukraine One thing is clear Russia wants current President Viktor Yushchenko out of office after the Kremlin attacked the “anti-Russian position held by the current Ukrainian authorities.” With Russia on his back, the near collapse of the country´s banking system and the prospect of social unrest Yushenko will be engaged in the political dog fight of his life.