January 26, 2007 (the date of publication in Russian)

Maxim Kalashnikov


What's lurking behind the energy-related threats of the EU and US?


Andrey Fursov, a renowned historian, reminds us that the West sent Russia its first warning as far back as the end of the XIX century.

The "General Act of the Berlin Conference" of 1884 legalized the principle of effective occupation: if a country is unable to fully develop its own natural resources, it must allow more developed foreign countries to exploit them. This was formally directed at Asian and African countries, but Russia was also kept in mind, as its dependence on Western banks gradually increased. At the turn of the XXI century the situation is repeating itself, under the name of globalization and its main carriers- transnational companies.

During the PACE session in January 2007 Russia was accused of using energy supplies as a lever in realizing its power-seeking goals. One of the articles in the PACE resolution is similar to what was stated in the Berlin conference of 1884.

The masks have been removed. A new Cold War between the US and Russia has begun. The stake is a final resolution of the "Russia issue", the process of which was temporarily halted in the 1990's.



Georgia's proposal was added to the text of the PACE resolution. PACE has "expressed concern about the fact that "the Russian Federation's gas market is heavily monopolized by Gazprom". It also called for ratification of the Energy Charter Treaty by Russia and for completion of its Protocol on Transit "to open up gas transportation systems to both domestic and foreign competition, thereby ensuring that sufficient investments will be made in gas production and transportation alike, with a view to fulfilling both domestic needs and export commitments".

This can be paraphrased as: PACE demands that Moscow give other countries access to its energy network.

What do energy resources mean to Russia today? Their significance is similar to that of the dollar system to the US. But I doubt anyone would dream of granting outside access to the US Federal Reserve!

The process that is occurring here is simple: after 1991 and the collapse of the USSR Western leaders have set strict limits for the Russian Federation. We are allowed to be poor, technologically backward; our only function is to consistently and obediently supply the West and anyone else it sees fit with energy resources.

In December 1991 the European Energy Charter was signed, and in 1994 the European Energy Treaty and an amendment to it were ratified. These documents cemented Russia's submissive position. According to article seven of the amendment the Russian Federation must grant foreign companies the same rights to transport their gas as Gazprom. This would supposedly create favorable conditions for exporting gas to Europe from other countries, but this will decrease the profits of Russian companies. If Russia were to comply with this it would have to open its pipeline network for Turkmen and Kazakh gas and charge the lower domestic rate for transport.

Therefore, if Russia were to comply with the amendment its own gas would become economically unprofitable, since the net cost of producing gas in the Southern CIS is lower than the average cost in Russia. For example, gas of the Karachaganak field in Turkmenistan will be priced at half of what Russian gas costs.

The attack on Russia is taking place as the North Sea fields (which belong to the UK and Norway) are being depleted. Some believe that in a strategically significant perspective the EU's dependence on Russian gas will grow from today's 27% to 60-70%. And the West doesn't want to depend on Moscow! If we comply with the amendment gas flow between Central Asia and Europe will be controlled by trans-national corporations like Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP. In this case the US is supporting the European Union; the Senate has already begun discussion of the "Energy Diplomacy and Security Act". The idea for creating an "Energy NATO" is also in the air.

The explanation is simple. Russia has begun to rise off its knees. Yes, painfully and laboriously. Yes, hindered by a senseless and idealess bureaucratic machine. We've understood that we don't want to be a subdued resource-generating appendage of developed countries. And it's only natural that Moscow's letting the West know the worth of its own energy resources.



We believe that the point of no return between the West and Russia has been past. The US and Europe are returning to their policy of 150 years ago: Russians as less civilized human beings must give up their sovereignty, relinquish control over their resources to "civilized humanity" and survive the further partitioning of their country into dependent "governments".

The breakup of the USSR achieved over half of these goals. But the disintegration was halted there: Western rulers feared a continuation of the process and allowed the Russian Federation to remain intact. The reason for this fear was that a further fragmentation posed serious nuclear, social, ecological and technological threats. This is why the West didn't finish Russia off in 1992-1995, when all Russia could go by was its word of honor. Russians were spared in the 1990s, but in return were asked to halt development and to say goodbye to any hopes of becoming an industriously strong nation.

But now we are breaking that unspoken truce. We are trying to develop and to stand our ground in getting what we want. And so the goal for the new Cold War is trying to force Russia to repeat the USSR's fate, to break up into much smaller and weaker parts. Techniques that increase domestic unrest, revolutions and interregional conflicts will be employed. NATO's expansion East, up to the borders of the Russian Federation, placement of a third area of ABM in Poland and the Czech Republic, a new arms race will all take place.

A compromise is no longer reasonable in the new war. Russia cannot return to its knees as in the 1990s, as this will bring a slow death to our people. Russian's must win and establish their right to sovereignty and development.

The key issue is whether or not Russia's elite will be able to handle the challenge. In order to win the country must be completely restructured: development must stop relying solely on natural resource production and become technologically dynamic. This means that the Russian Federation must formulate a clear goal and a concise strategy for national development. The country's leaders need to implement and carry out strong national programs geared to achieving that goal. And this in turn will require a new planned economy, funding and support for innovative technologies (creating a single functional national system of control) , drastic raids to annihilate corruption in the government sector, a new regional policy that will focus the Russian economy a bit away from Moscow and create new industrial hotspots in the East, South and North-West.

Furthermore, we are going to have to create a new government to replace today's practically invalid system of control, which was established in the shameful and suppressed 1990s. And those in power need to rely on the civic initiatives that come from "below". We need a new war policy, an increase in our arms and defense potential.

If we fail in doing all of this, the Russian Federation may cease to appear on a map of the World, for the war has begun! And the "Russian issue" has been added to the agenda, albeit still in a veiled form.

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