Saturday, June 13, 2009

Russia, Gas and Europe

Germany and Russia have been meeting through their respective FM's supplementing previous meetings between Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev, regarding Nord Stream - Russia's well-planned pipeline designed to avoid all transit countries and tie the EU, and particularly Germany, to Russia through energy dependence.

According to Kommersant (Russian only) the military in Germany doesn't like the idea much since the pipeline runs too close to a naval excersize area. This should be interesting as Chancellor Merkel maneuvers for the next election and her FM, a supporter of Nord Stream but not of the same party and a likely opponent to the Chancellor, may not be quite so supportive during his Moscow meetings.

This has provoked Gazprom into threatening to sell gas elsewhere - such as the US. Maybe, just maybe, the Germans will look twice at their eastern policy during the next election. If Gazprom feels strong enough to threaten the largest European economy, perhaps Chancellor Merkel and her supporters should think harder about the cost of closer ties with a resurgent Russia.

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