Access to Gazprom’s Pipelines a Focus of Clan Wars?

Quite an unusual story in the Moscow Times today that Vladimir Putin publicly criticized Alexei Miller of Gazprom regarding the company’s monopoly over pipeline exports. The dressing-down of this ally was practically Zubkov-ian: “I would like to draw the attention of … Miller to the fact that oil and gas companies still experience certain problems with access to your pipelines,” Putin said, looking at the Gazprom chief executive. “They do, don’t shake your head.” Whether or not this was just for show or represents new intentions, it seems that Igor Sechin of Rosneft was cashing in on an owed favor with this comment. Has access to the pipelines become a focal point of the clan wars? This push by some siloviki to break Gazprom’s monopoly by law over pipelines could create some problems and challenges for Medvedev’s reform plans.