Designer of unique aerostatic lift-and-carry machine seeks investors

Recently, Viktor Abeliants, author and manager of a large-scale project, has applied to the Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI), which cooperates with many educational and commercial institutions, for assistance in promotion of his engineering development.

It must be noted that the KPI participated in the project as well. Unfortunately, Ukraine is not ready to complete the project for reasons beyond control.

The project was carried out by Russian and Ukrainian leading aerospace research institutes and organizations. The technical proposal and sketch design of a disk-shaped aerostatic lift-and-carry machine with a hoisting capacity of 250-400 tons (APTS) were made on the basis of the results of research. This work was done to order of the Korolev research and production association Energia while the Ministry of Defense of the U.S.S.R. financed the project. The APTS was included in the State Plan of the Ministry of the Aircraft Industry of the U.S.S.R., and to date it has been seen as the highly efficient and topical project that is unique in world practice. After Ukraine achieved self-determination in 1991, the customer cut off funding and the work within the framework of the project was suspended.

The project is built on the mass-produced, well-mastered Antonov An-12 military transport airplane (NATO codename “Cub”). APTS is distinguished by high performance and a low production cost owing to a small amount of preliminary studies, use of mass-produced devices, equipment, units, materials whose unification accounted for 80%, few skilled personnel that was smaller in number than the group of specialists required to develop and manufacture a dirigible or aircraft with a similar hoisting capacity.

The work, which has been done already, enables any modern aircraft construction company specializing in the design and manufacture of medium and long-range aircraft to complete the project for a short period and at low costs provided the companies have cutting-edge technologies, production capacities, materials, scientific and technical personnel. Reportedly, U.S. and European aircraft construction companies have been taking an active part in the projects of building large cargo aircraft in various countries for many years.

The problem is that such a large-scale project can be implemented by the well-organized, consolidated institution, which incorporates not only investors and consumers but also general makers, suppliers of component parts, financiers, stakeholders and even natural persons. Undoubtedly, it is necessary to start seeking investors and basic manufacturers. This task requires a high professional level, the wide experience of organizational work and management expertise. Work done by the experts who have the above skills is considered as a determining factor at the present stage.

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In Trieste, Western Balkan PMs to start forming customs union

As expected, prime ministers of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia will meet in the Italian city of Trieste within the framework of the 4th Berlin Process Summit to sign a document concerning the establishment of the Western Balkan common market. Initially, the agenda is supposed to include a discussion about the integrated digital network that will allow member countries to cut tariffs on roaming services within the single economic area.

Readers of The Ukrainian Times know that Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia, put forward the initiative to form the Balkan Customs Union. Basic principles of the customs union include the renunciation by member countries of internal tariffs and duties, removal of all restrictions on the movement of goods, as well as the adoption of common customs tariffs.

The documents about the basic principles and terms of operation of the Balkan Customs Union read to the effect that GDP of the countries, which may join the organization, totalled $243.5 billion last year and their population exceeds 18 million. According to Mr. Vucic, the initiative would not only expand a trade turnover within the region but also promote economic growth and a higher standard of living in the member countries of the Balkan Customs Union.

Avangard makes cutting-edge missile complexes and more

In Russia, the Moscow-based engineering plant Avangard is the only manufacturer of missiles designed for the famous S-300 air defense systems, cutting-edge S-400 and awesomely fantastic S-500 missile complexes. Given that Avangard is the integrated plant, it makes not only missiles but also transport launching containers of these weapons.

In the 1960s, Avangard manufactured the missile designed for the S-75 air defense system that shot down the hawkish John McCain as he flew over a bridge near Hanoi in 1967. He ejected upside down moments before his plane crashed, suffering injuries that have plagued him ever since.

The American aggressor spent more than five years as a prisoner of war. The photo of the naked young Vietnamese girl fleeing down the road in terror from the American napalm behind her made Soviet people aware that Washington’s war crimes cry for vengeance. Let McCain’s fate be a lesson to other war hawks in the United States and their European vassals.

Russia develops infrastructure in Crimea

According to the Russian Ministry of Transportation, the installation of arched spans of a bridge across the Kerch Strait will be completed by winter. As a result, the Crimean and Kuban coasts will be connected by the structure. Vehicular traffic on the bridge is expected to kick-start at the end of next year while railroad communication between Crimea and Kuban or the Krasnodar Territory will be established in 2019.

In addition, the federal highway Taurida 280 kilometers long is under construction in Crimea already. It will connect the cities of Kerch, Simferopol and Sevastopol with the bridge across the Kerch Strait.

Ideation launches new platform for innovation management

Recently, Ideation Inc., a U.S. company focusing on solutions to help innovators commercialize their innovations, has launched a new platform for innovation management, promotion, licensing, technology transfer and commercialization. It should be mentioned that Ideation is partnering with Ukrainian Global & Trade Investor Inc. in Ukraine to provide local presence for its program.

According to Chief Technology Officer Vic Korsun, Ukrainian scientists may register as Subject Matter Experts (SME). As SME, they can become available for hire as consultants and may be asked to do Patent Assessments. The payment for a Patent Assessment is planned to be $100 for a four-hour technical assessment in good English.

In addition, researchers may be asked to do Contract R&D in their Field of Expertise, as well as they can register recent technologies and products that they believe are valuable for commercial and industrial applications.

Mr. Korsun notes that there will be no charge for any of these services and no commission on transactions unless they are with parties outside of Ukraine in which case a small commission of 7.5% will be charged to compensate parties involved in finding the licensees or clients of technology developed by Ukrainian scientists and services but only once the payment has been received by its authors.

Importantly, the first 50,000 members will be given a lifetime charter membership for free and will be permanently identified as charter members.

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Moscow and Beijing deepen many-sided cooperation

By Vladimir V. Sytin

Recently, Russia and China have agreed on construction of the international transit corridor Europe-Western China, the Eurasian high-speed rail link between Moscow and Beijing, as well as the natural-gas pipeline ‘Power of Siberia’ that is under construction already. “We are consecutively modernizing the sea, railroad and automobile infrastructure, as well as increasing the carrying capacity of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian trunk railroad, investing considerable funds in the development of the Northern Sea route so that it could become a globally competitive transportation artery,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It is also important to note growing cooperation of the two countries in the field of space exploration, particularly deliveries of Russian rocket engines to China, in the aircraft industry, namely joint construction of a wide-body airplane, and in the military-technical sphere. Plans are in hand to build the Great Asian Power Ring designed for Russia’s electricity supplies. Further, China’s CNPC and the Silk Road Fund became co-investors of the Yamal LNG project.

According to analyst and geologist Byron King, over the last few years China has deepened its trading roots with Russia and today China pays for Russian oil in yuan. Russia, in turn, uses yuan to buy goods from China.

Beyond trade in goods, within the past six months Russia has set up a branch of the Bank of Russia in Beijing. From there, Russia can use its Chinese yuan to buy gold on the Shanghai Exchange. In a sense, Chinese-Russian oil trade is now backed up by a “gold standard”.

James Rickards, editor of the Strategic Intelligence newsletter, wrote that China has the second largest economy in the world, and is by far the fastest growing major economy in the world. Even though growth rates have fallen from 10% to 6.5% in recent years, that 6.5% growth is still enviable, compared with 2% growth in the United States, and less than 1% growth in Europe. China’s debt burdens are manageable as long as the growth is there to support the debt.

Previously, politologist Paul Craig Roberts noted that Henry Kissinger sold U.S. president Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the alliance with Iran and China. Part of the deal being offered to Vladimir Putin is “increased access to the huge European energy market, restored Western financial credit, access to Western technology, and a seat at the global decision-making table, all of which Russia badly needs and wants”. Sweetening the honey trap is official recognition of “Crimea as part of Russia”. Russia might want all of this, but it is nonsense that Moscow needs any of it.

Europe has scant alternatives to Russian energy. Russia does not need Western technology. Indeed, its military technology is superior to that in the West. And it is a self-serving Western myth that Russia needs foreign loans. This myth is enshrined in neoliberal economics, which is a device for Western exploitation and control of other countries, particularly Ukraine.

Foreign loans are only important to countries that lack the internal resources for development and have to purchase the business know-how, technologies and resources abroad with foreign currencies, which their exports are insufficient to bring in. This is not the case with Russia that has large endowments of resources and a trade surplus.

When central bank credit is used to finance development projects, the supply of rubles increases, but so does output from the projects. Thus, goods and services rise with the supply of rubles. When Russia borrows foreign currencies from abroad, the money supply also increases, but so does the foreign debt.

Multinational companies sell inferior quality foodstuffs to EU poorer member states

Slovak authorities have established that supermarkets sell citizens of Slovakia sausages, chocolate and soft drinks, which are of poorer quality than their counterparts available in Austria, Germany, France and other countries of the European Union.

Recently, Slovakia’s Agriculture Ministry presented results of laboratory tests showing half of 22 food products bought in Bratislava differed in taste, looks and composition from equivalents purchased in two Austrian towns across the border. In particular, sausages contained less meat and more fats and water, chocolates and yogurts have less cacao and proteins respectively, not to mention that spices, teas and other foodstuffs had a higher artificial sweeteners content, many artificial preservatives and a lower weight. According to Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, it is unacceptable that multinational companies sell the foodstuffs on East European markets, which are inferior to their counterparts available at Western stores.

At the same time, Bulgarian specialized laboratories are analyzing the identity of foodstuffs sold in the EU and Bulgaria. If any deviations are detected, sanctions will be applied against suppliers. In addition, Sofia will insist that the EU should introduce uniform standards for all member countries and punish those who divide Europeans into first-class and second-class people, thereby humiliating citizens of poorer member states.

Rather than unity in Europe, we see a continued process of the West humiliating the poorer nations. This is hardly a formula for development and economic growth.

Macedonia shows interest to cooperate on installation of gas, medicine with Ukrainian partners

According to Stole Zmejkoski, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Macedonia to Ukraine, Skopje takes a keen interest in cooperation with Ukrainian partners in the field of tourism and medicine.

Sadly, the diplomat said Ukraine and Macedonia insufficiently carried out a free trade agreement. For instance, the export of metal to Macedonia accounts for the whopping 90-95% of total volume of Ukraine’s exports there.

Mr. Zmejkoski stressed that Macedonia could become the gateway of European markets, including Turkey, to help Ukrainian business people out. In particular, Skopje contemplates enlisting the Ukrainian enterprises, which specialize in pipelaying, to participate in three large-scale projects of the installation of natural gas.

Economic indicators: trade

The export turnover of Ukrainian goods amounted to $6,268.1 million and the volume of import to $6,691.3 million in January and February, a 32.7% and 22.1% increase respectively from the same period of 2016. The unfavorable foreign trade balance worked out to $423.2 million, compared with $756.1 million in January and February 2016.

Export to the European Union rose by 16.2%, compared with January and February 2016. Incidentally, with the EU itself predicting flat GDP growth below 2% through 2019, it is hard to get behind some of the enthusiasm of certain analysts for the European trade. According to Christopher Whalen, publisher of The Institutional Risk Analyst, the fact that the Germans and French are falling in love again does little to cheer the nations of Eastern Europe, which are among the most dynamic and fastest growing parts of the EU.

Within the period under review export to Byelorussia and Russia rose by 58.4% and 54.4% respectively.

A retail trade turnover increased by 3.1% to 164.7 billion grivnas in Ukraine in January-March, compared with the same period last year. The turnover of enterprises of wholesale trade rose by 1% to 374.2 billion grn in January-March, compared with a year-earlier period.

Ukrainian-Polish Forum is great enthusiasm among volunteers

By Denis Balandin

The Forum of Rectors of Technical Higher Education Institutions of Ukraine and Poland took place at Igor Sikorsky Kiev Polytechnic Institute on April 4-8. Its participants discussed questions concerning international cooperation of Polish and Ukrainian technical HEIs. Among spectacular gains of this year’s Forum were the scientific integration and exchange of experience that turned out brilliant successes.

A volunteer team of students was enlisted on the initiative of the International Collaboration Department and the Students’ Council of Igor Sikorsky KPI to arrange and hold the event. In particular, 157 students of KPI received training in one of the 15 directions. The initiators succeeded in forming the groups of forum organizers who have a good command of foreign languages, experience to work with artistic amateur groups, knack for organizing excursions and doing good public relations, among others. Each direction was managed by the leader of a volunteer group of students, who controlled the effectiveness of their work and promptly helped to cover all eventualities.

Voluntary participation of students in the Forum has borne fruit. As one of the representatives of the Warsaw Polytechnic University put it, “People with a gleam of charisma in their eyes do amazing things.”

After the event was over, the volunteers made comments on it.

A volunteer, who worked in the group that provided transportation, said: “We helped guests to get to roundtable venues. There was a moment when it turned out that we were lacking guides, but our leaders promptly found additional reserves. I personally communicated with many Poles and one of them even complimented me on my classy volunteer’s T-shirt.”

A volunteer, who was in charge of an artistic amateur group, pointed out: “Chaperoning a Polish artistic amateur group, I acquired new knowledge and experience, as well as made acquaintance with pleasant people. Eventualities did happen as two Polish students managed to be lost during an excursion. However, we found them and continued our work. It was very tough parting from them: the Poles really did not want to let us go, promising to come here again.”

“We chose to practise spoken English and Polish, while we found a true dream team among the volunteers of our unit! It was a real pleasure to work with guests, and we were especially glad that they respected us and switched from English to our native Ukrainian language,” girls at the Forum Contact Point noted enthusiastically.

The head of the International Relations Department of the Students’ Council under Igor Sikorsky KPI stated: “I am more than happy that so many people agreed to help us. We proved that students can interact effectively with the administration. All volunteers were enthusiastic over the accumulated experience. Over the course of two days we have done a great amount of work, yet I don’t believe we succeeded in doing so. The Ukrainian-Polish Forum featured sincere emotions and the atmosphere of mutual respect.”

Feedback from volunteers leads to the conclusion that volunteer activities have a great future in KPI.

The author is a leader of service student detachments at Igor Sikorsky KPI