Yeeeeah it’s been awhile…skipped posting this for a few weeks, but honestly there hasn’t been much Russia-related news (on topics that I’m interested in, anyways).
Russia Approves Divisive Pipeline Plan
A controversial plan to build a major oil pipeline passing within half a mile of Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake, was approved by a Russian government regulatory agency Monday.
The decision followed a review process that environmentalists and some Russian experts involved in assessing the route say was marked by manipulation of an expert panel and political pressure on dissenting scientists.
Russia to Stake on the Shelf
Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry is to submit the long-awaited draft strategy on research and development of oil and gas reserves of the Russian continental shelf by 2020 to the Government today. The blueprint maintains that putting €1 billion budget funds into works on the shelf and opening fields for investments, the state will be able to produce up to 10 million metric tons of oil and 30 billion cu. meters of gas by 2010, or over 95 million tons of oil and at least 150 billion cu. meters of gas – by 2020.
RUSSIA PLEDGES TO UPHOLD GLOBAL ENERGY SECURITY
Russia’s energy giant with a split personality
The crisis shocked the European Union into drawing up plans for a new common energy policy, which José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, will present to Moscow on Friday. It also exposed an identity crisis at the heart of Russia’s largest company and the world’s biggest gas producer.
On the one hand, Aleksei Miller, Gazprom’s chief executive, says that he wants to turn the company into a global energy giant like BP or ExxonMobil. On the other, Gazprom has become the Kremlin’s favourite tool for controlling Russia’s population and reclaiming the international clout lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. Vladimir Putin wrote as much in an academic journal in 1999 — the year before he became President. The State should use the country’ s natural resources, he argued, to ensure “Russia’s emergence from its deep crisis and restoration of its former power”.
Russia as an ‘unpredictable’ petro-state
When he first arrived in Paris in 2000 as Russia’s newly elected President, Vladimir Putin had a simple and reassuring message. “I am bringing you what you need most: a stable and guaranteed source of energy. My oil and my gas will not be cheaper than supplies coming from the Middle East, but they will be much more secure.”
His implicit point was that ‘Christian energy’, even if ‘Orthodox’, would be more reassuringly certain than ‘Muslim energy’ for a western world jittery about stability in the Middle East.
Gazprom Finds Key to Market of Canada
Gazprom has determined a partner to construct a liquefied natural gas plant near St. Petersburg. It is Canadian Petro-Canada, which is expected to provide to Gazprom a part of its re-gasification facilities in Quebec and grant access to the markets of Quebec and Ontario.
TRANS-CASPIAN EXPORT OPTION NOW AVAILABLE TO CPC COMPANIES IN KAZAKHSTAN
The timing for a definitive commitment by Astana is made even more propitious and perhaps compelling by Moscow-laid obstacles to the planned expansion of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline. Built by Western oil companies as members of the CPC consortium, the pipeline runs from Tengiz and other onshore Kazakh oilfields to Russia’s Black Sea port Novorossiysk. The Russian government poses extortionate demands to the pipeline’s Western co-owners as a condition to authorizing the line’s expansion on Russian territory. Thus, the involved Western oil-producing companies face the dilemma of submitting to extortion or, alternatively, renouncing the planned expansion, in which case they would have to seek a non-Russian export route for their rapidly rising oil output.
Caspian oil reserves will last but export routes are urgently needed
The region has enormous and largely untapped oil reserves — especially on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea — which could be made accessible in the future provided an answer was found about an appropriate pipeline network. Can these reserves be brought within the safe and easy reach of the industrialized world?
EU calls on Russia to establish clear conditions for energy security
The European Union’s commissioner in charge of energy policy has called on Russia to open its gas production facilities and pipelines to foreign investors, saying there was an urgent need for major capital investments to expand production and guarantee energy supplies to European markets.
“We really do need an international framework to deal with energy security issues,” the commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said in Berlin. “It is only when Russia establishes clear conditions for investment that we can speak about energy security.”
Russia as a newborn superpower: Putin as the lord of oil and gas
From Russia, a Royal Infatuation That Misses Its Mark
She wanted a prince and a palace.
But a young Russian college student who sent a letter meant for Prince William — as in Prince William, future king of England — royally missed the Zip code. Instead of arriving at Buckingham Palace, the letter reached the Prince William County courthouse in Manassas.
Flowers on the cards for speedy Russian women
Russia – Women drivers in Russia are to be awarded flowers instead of fines for petty traffic offences on International Women’s Day.
Russia Freezes Assets of Jailed Oil Tycoon’s Rights Group
The bank accounts of a foundation led by the imprisoned Russian businessman, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, were frozen by court order today, the foundation and its bank said, a move that strongly suggests the organization is about to be shut down by the Russian government.
RUSSIAN REACTION TO MILOSEVIC’S DEATH REVEALS RIFT BETWEEN KREMLIN AND THE WEST
The controversy over the death of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic laid bare the deep-seated uneasiness in relations between Russia and the West. The Kremlin appears bent on taking advantage of Milosevic’s demise in the same way it tried to make use of his actions in the past, but what the Russian policymakers are really concerned about are their own political interests.
Moscow’s Lavish, Glittering Nightlife
Moscow is a city riding high on oil money. Now the spending habits of high-rolling Muscovites have spawned some of Europe’s coolest clubs and most lavish restaurants. The owner of Turandot, for instance, former painter and restorer Andrei Dellos, spent $50 million on interior design; it’s the most expensively decorated restaurant in the world.
CHECHNYA ROCKED BY DESERTIONS, SEX SCANDAL
Trust in Russia? With a Grain of Salt.
Clearly not even Moscow, a place teeming with expensive restaurants, malls, gyms, boutiques and other trappings of an oil capital, is immune to panicky buying of basics. Beneath Russia’s growing wealth there seems to be a sense of insecurity.
Two Leaders’ Power Failures
But if power corrupts in the ways suggested by Lord Acton, so can feelings of powerlessness. Stung by terrorist assaults on their homelands, Bush and Putin set out separately to restore executive authority and a national discipline they felt had eroded over time. And they have now pushed efforts to concentrate power to the point of provoking cries of alarm — not only from civil libertarians but also from those within their own political ranks.