Russian economic and military power is heavily dependent on high oil and natural gas prices. Cut the floor beneath those prices and a Communist superpower crumbles, and a revanchist Empire buckles.
However brief its renewed moment in the sun, it appears Russia may once again be called an empire — and all for a few billions of dollars.
Mere money is not the same as the ability to hold a necessary resource hostage, and Moscow knows it.
Although Rogozin may have been wishing warm holiday tidings, he was more likely reminding Moldova that its natural gas supply comes bearing Gazprom’s seal.
Getting completely out from Russia’s deeply unpleasant embrace should be Lithuania’s first, second, and third foreign policy and economic priorities.
The effort to rebuild the Russian Empire has been stymied by Ukraine’s clever transformation of its energy policy and Azerbaijan’s growth as an alternative energy provider.
The nations that want to choose a Western destiny rather than having an Eastern one forced on them are not merely finding ways out from under Russia’s greatest source of power, but are breaking that power at the same time.
Choosing TAP over Nabucco demonstrates that Azerbiajan’s energy sector can work cooperatively with the West to meet one of Europe’s greatest needs, reliable supplies of energy at competitive prices.
In a little-noticed news item last week, Lithuania announced that it will re-open talks with its fellow Baltic states and Hitachi to open a nuclear plant outside of Visaginas.
Europe is tired of the Gazprom monopoly and isn’t going to take it any more. At least, that appears to be the message from Lithuania, which will take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in July.