Believe in the Kremlin’s Gas Threats

Writing in Novaya Gazeta, Yulia Latynina argues that the Russian leadership has been too heavy handed in its use as natural gas as a political lever, and that the past aggression has come back to hit them like a boomerang.  Translation in full provided over on La Russophobe:

In short, no one used to believe the Kremlin. No one believed there could be a war with Georgia, that gas was a weapon, that Russia could cut off the Ukraine’s gas and say that the Ukrainians had themselves turned off their supplies. But people believe the Kremlin now.

Suddenly it was clear to all that the Kremlin’s policies were notthose of a reprobate country but rather those of a total hooligan. Likedealing with a neighbour who stomps about saying: “Listen, bitch. Yougot no respect. Give me a grand or else I’ll drown your cat, poisonyour dog, and set fire to your house!” For a while, no one believeshim, reckoning he’s all right really, just somewhat confused. But thenthe cat is found drowned and the dog poisoned. What happens next,however, is not that this neighbour is suddenly respected and $1000handed to him. No: the police are called in.

And it is in this sense that the next two months will be key forRussia. Because that is how much time the unbalanced neighbour has inorder to decide what he is going to do: set fire to the house, which isnow being watched over by the police, or shut up.