Remember last winters row between Russia and Ukraine over the gas? An incident that threatened the very supply of Europe itself. This winter Georgia
seems to be the victim having to chose whether to freeze or accept a 110% prize increase of its main energy source: imported Russian gas. The gas from
the vast fields of Siberia makes Russia the worlds leading producer. Gazprom, the giant state-controlled gas monopoly, the former Soviet ministry of
gas, is now seeking European partnerships to develop the fields situated in some of the harshest enviroments on earth. The ungoing row took its outset
when Georgia arrested four Russian officers, allegedly for spying. Countermeasures so far has been embargoes on goods from the Black Sea nation, as
well as various blocades. The real motive behind the row, is believed to be Georgian rapprochements to NATO, as well as its support to uprisings in
the neighbouring Russian breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The timing of Gazprom's announcement is probably no coincidence, though negotiations on a new gas contract have been on the agenda for some time.
This way of doing business alarms the US and the EU.
In May, US Vice-President Dick Cheney made a speech in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, attacking Russian foreign policy.
"No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolise
transportation," he said.
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, meanwhile, told the French paper Le Figaro that Russia had "used its energy resources as political weapon".
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
A project in development, agreed on in September 2005, is to build an underwater pipeline from Russia to Germany. Being not only political
controversial, some enviromentalist claim it to be a disaster for the fragile Baltic Sea, which it is to run in all its length.
Map with the two points
to be connected by pipeline
The Russo-German Gas Deal
The BBC's Jonathan Marcus says energy security is now one of the principal issues driving international diplomacy.
Russia's emergence as an energy superpower, ready and willing to use its market strength as a diplomatic tool, makes less powerful countries like
Poland worried, he says.
The Baltic pipeline episode underscores the difficulty of separating energy diplomacy from old-fashioned power politics, our correspondent
says.Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The allusion to Poland in the snippet is the outcry the deal has caused in that nation. But the intensions are clear enough, cut out the middlemen. A
band of unstable states lies between Germany and Russia. The meddling with the flow of gas, last years Ukrainian row shoved evidence of, is to be
What I fear is a future scenario, where Russia can blackmail Europe. To anticipate events, no matter if Europe should get its own EU defense force, a
military solution the American way will never be mentioned. Not even Napoleon could beat the Russian bear.
None ever has.
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[edit on 3-11-2006 by khunmoon]