Russia will increase its crude export tax by 17% to a record $398.10 a metric ton on June 1. The Telegraph explores the possibility that embattled TNK-BP’s problems “may have been engineered by the Kremlin.” In a move to “circumvent Russia,” Eastern and Central European countries are joining with Central Asian states to speed up shipments of fuel supply. 50 Russian cities saw motorists protesting the rising cost of gasoline over the weekend. Ukraine intends to hold talks on Russian natural gas supplies with Moscow simultaneously with negotiations on Russia’s joining the World Trade Organization. Former electricity monopoly Unified Energy System will ask the potential buyer of power producer OGK-1 to make a final decision on the acquisition in the first ten days of June. OGK-1 currently only has one bidder. At the signing of a new investment plan, UES chief Anatoly Chubais said investment into Moscow’s energy distribution system will be almost doubled through 2010. “Saudi Arabia is only one of many nations in the Middle East suddenly eager for nuclear power.” State corporation Rosatom will hold a second round of consultations on the development of Russian-Mongolian cooperation on nuclear power with the visiting Mongolian Prime Minister. The Russian government’s stake in regional power producer TGK-12 will be sold in June with a starting price of $425 million. Gazprom and Petrovietnam are to develop offshore blocks in Vietnam.