The Russian Bear Is No Longer Passing Gas

That’s not as good news as you might think

LONDON, England (CNN) — A natural gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine escalated Tuesday when Ukraine accused the Russian supplier of blocking pipelines to Europe, and three European countries said their supply from Russia had been cut or reduced.
Ukraine’s state-run gas company said Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, had reduced the amount of natural gas flowing through Ukraine to nine mostly Eastern European countries.
… Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey told CNN on Tuesday that their supplies of Russian natural gas had been affected.
A spokesman from Bulgaria’s Ministry of Economy and Energy told CNN the supply was halted because of the Russia-Ukraine dispute. And a spokesman for Romania’s Economic Ministry told CNN it had suffered a 75-percent reduction “as a direct result of the dispute.”
A Turkish Energy Ministry spokesman told CNN that Russian gas supplied to Turkey through Ukraine had been completely cut. The country was raising supplies of gas from another pipeline in order to compensate, he said.

Russia’s plans to flex her energy muscles have been severely crimped by the collapse in energy prices, as have her treasury and planned military expenditures. I would not be surprised to see her tighten the screws on the recalcitrant orbit nations even further.
Update: Here are some further thoughts on the problems Russia is facing:

Is there some wild card out there that could make the global economic mess even worse?
For months now, my attention has focused on Russia. The country is big enough, and its problems serious enough, that it could take the global crisis to a new level of danger.
The good news is that Russia is in much better shape than it was the last time it shuddered into crisis, in 1998. The bad news is that Russia’s current problems bear an eerie resemblance to those that took the country into default, led to the fall of a once-popular political leader and forced the U.S. Federal Reserve to organize a bailout in order to prevent a panic in the global financial markets.

Read the whole thing.

6 Responses to “The Russian Bear Is No Longer Passing Gas”

  1. Joe Fattal says:

    Russia is holding gas to Europe. Israel is holding land from the Palestinians. Iran is holding Israel at ransom with its nuclear weapons.North Korea is holding some missiles against South Korea. Everyone is holding something from someone else. Maybe its time for everyone to take what’s his. Why not the Middle East is a mess already thanks to the Israelis.

  2. Bill M says:

    Well Joe, The last I looked, the Israeli constitution doesn’t call for the extermination of Palestinians. The Hamas charter does call for the the destruction of Israel. The UN created the country in 1948. Perhaps you should go talk to them.

  3. Ella says:

    Yeah, I’m with Joe. If only Israel would turn Gaza over to the Palestinians, everything would be okay! Those darn Joos never let anything go, though. That’s why they should die.
    /psycho tirade
    Moving on to grown-up talk, could cutting off natural gas to its former satellites be a pretext for Russia to take over those countries again? Georgia was just the first step; I wonder if this is the second.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    Ella, it seems to me it certainly is a bit of arm-twisting to remind them to support their local hegemon, isn’t it? Given the often poisonous relationship with the Ukraine, this summer’s Georgian expedition I think was a very clear shot across the bows of these former satellites. Russia has clearly started down the path of re-invigorating her influence around the world, but plans that looked very doable at $140/barrel suddenly become very suspect at $45.

  5. Joel says:

    Moving on to grown-up talk, could cutting off natural gas to its former satellites be a pretext for Russia to take over those countries again? Georgia was just the first step; I wonder if this is the second.
    Given that it all started because Ukraine wanted to join NATO, that could get problematic for the rest of us.

  6. red_sleeves says:

    Joe, “Maybe its time for everyone to take what’s his.” How is this to be accomplished when there is disagreement as to who should receive what? Or are you arguing for the stronger to fully dominate the weak?
    The mess in the Middle East is not the fault of the Israelis and if they were the monsters they are accused of being they would have wiped from the face of this earth all of the inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank a very long time ago.
    Ella, Gaza does belong to the Palestinians. Israel withdrew in 2005. Hamas was elected to power.

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