An article we posted on the gas war this week pointed out that one reason why Gazprom was getting favorable press (at least early on) was that Europe was feeling exhausted from having to deal with fallout of the Russia-Georgia war and the seemingly endless series demands coming from “emergencies” in post-Soviet states, usually having to do with relations with Russia. Many political and business leaders in Europe just want these problems to be over with, and put their best efforts into repressing the memory of these conflicts in order to go on with business as usual, even if that means sacfricing support to struggling, and often inconvenient, young democracies to the East. Of course many of these complaints theoretically will become harder to make once the Bush administration rides off into the sunset … and Europe might be surprised to find that Moscow’s agenda might not just be reactionary.
Reuters columinist Paul Taylor writes about the Euro fatigue:
And they accuse Ukraine’s feuding leaders of exacerbating the current gas crisis with Moscow by undermining each other’s negotiations, breaking undertakings to the EU on the smooth transit of gas and dealing with murky intermediaries.
Some charge neo-conservatives in the United States, who have campaigned actively to get both countries into the NATO military alliance, with goading them into conflict with the Kremlin.
“The neo-con agenda in that region has been a disaster for Europe,” said an EU foreign policy official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
EU officials have been loath to fault either government in public,partly because they enjoy support among ex-communist east Europeanmember states, but also because Brussels remains sympathetic to thegoals of their democratic revolutions.
However, the crisis over the cut-off of Russian gas supplies toEurope through Ukraine in a dispute over pricing and debt hascrystallized European disenchantment with the leaders of Kiev’s “OrangeRevolution.”
European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering told Reuters onTuesday: “If the gas is blocked in Ukraine, then this will seriouslydamage relations between Ukraine and the EU. It is not in Ukraine’sinterests to do this.”