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Breaking the Stranglehold

Ukraine does not see any Russian gas purchases on the cards for the remainder of the year, and President Viktor Yanukovych is confident that his country can break dependence on Russia by unleashing its shale gas deposits.  Whether or not he is right in the short-term, something else is bound to come along eventually, says Yulia Latynina.  In a piece from today’s Moscow Times, Latynina chastises the Russian government for failing to anticipate this, suggesting that the Kremlin made a power-drunk overestimation of how far its plentiful reserves could go.

The Kremlin’s euphoria over gas began in 2005, the year after Russia signed an agreement with Germany for the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline. At the time, Berlin must have thought, “Gas is gas, and if Russia is offering favorable terms, why not sign a deal?” But the Kremlin soon began speaking of Russia as an “energy superpower” and its huge gas reserves as an “energy weapon.” Russia envisioned the pipeline as a sort of enormous handle giving it leverage against Europe.

The full piece is here.