Unlike Russian gas pumped via Ukraine and Germany, that flowing through Turkey will face tough competition from Azerbaijani, Iranian, Iraqi, and possibly even Turkmen and Israeli gas. Gazprom’s rivals won’t need to ship their gas as far, and they will have much lower pipeline construction costs. The gas market in southeastern Europe is not that big and doesn’t have a lot of room for growth.
Why is Gazprom selling gas to Europe below cost? So that companies from the United States and other countries do the same, fall into a price war, and eventually go broke.
Moscow is trying to rattle Washington by projecting its political and military might as the most dangerous crisis develops in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War era. The suspension of the 2000 plutonium agreement may threaten a whole range of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation treaties.
The nominal architects of the internal political machine must be replaced with operators: people who will manage the status quo without changing its fundamental principles. This is the role that Sergei Kiriyenko is going to play. It’s a case of the trends dictating the logic of the management, rather than the manager setting the trends.
The Russian leadership has precipitated an even graver confrontation with the United States, abandoning its ambition for a diplomatic leadership role in Syria. The rupture looks like a preemptive strike by Russia in the context of the U.S. election campaign.
Before India and Pakistan enter the SCO, Russia and China should make an effort to help them prevent future conflicts. Failing to help manage the relationship now carries a serious risk for the entire SCO project started by Beijing and Moscow 15 years ago. So, China and Russia owe it to themselves to begin defusing tensions between their partners.
The $120 million in cash found in Dmitry Zakharchenko’s sister’s home must have come from some sort of illegal business activity—likely involving the contraband market.
Although we shouldn’t expect anything drastic, Uzbekistan’s next president will likely change some of Islam Karimov’s policies, especially in the economic sphere. Because the country needs financial support and access to new technologies from the West, Uzbekistan may liberalize slightly, demonstrating greater respect for democracy and human rights.
So far, Moscow and Washington have proved incapable of ending Syria’s civil war. But a settlement is impossible without them.
Moscow indirectly supported the recent Bosnian Serb referendum, not because it has an active new agenda in the Balkans but as a warning shot to the European Union.