Friday, December 30, 2005


Especially when that Russian is Vladimir Putin, who's suddenly all chummy with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder:
Apart from Adolf Hitler, Gerhard Schröder is Germany’s most repulsive chancellor ever. During his seven years in office – which ended last month – the Socialist politician forged Berlin into an alliance with France, where his friend, the French crook Jack Chirac, is in charge, and with Russia, through his friendship with former KGB chief Vladimir Putin. A compulsive America-basher, Schröder did tremendous harm to the Atlantic Alliance. We now know why. Barely three weeks after his resignation on November 22 it turns out that Herr Schröder’s private pension scheme is a lucrative job on the Kremlin’s payroll. Last Friday the former German chancellor was appointed foreign policy advisor of Gazprom, the Russian state-owned oil and gas company, and chairman of the board of commissioners of NEGP, the Russian-controlled consortium that is building a gas pipeline from Siberia to Germany.

NEGP (North European Gas Pipeline Company) is a joint venture of Gazprom (for 51%) and two German companies, E.ON and BASF (each for 24.5%). The bilateral gas agreements between Germany and Russia were signed by Schröder last September 8, just 10 days before the German general election, which he lost. Schröder’s last visit to Putin dates from October, when he surprised some German journalists by mysteriously declaring: “Who says that this is going to be my last visit here?”

In a plan reminiscent of the Stalin-Hitler pact to rip off Poland, Putin and Schröder agreed to build the NEGP pipeline on the Baltic seabed rather than through Poland, despite the far greater expense. The plan has infuriated Central European and Baltic countries. They realize that the Baltic Sea route allows Russia to cut off gas to Central and Eastern Europe while still delivering to Germany. The pipeline, which should be ready by 2010, will allow Moscow to demand the same price for oil and gas from its former satellites as from the Germans, thereby putting the squeeze on countries that, according to Putin, are gravitating too much toward the West.
Nah, the Russians would never do something like that. Or would they?
Russian energy giant Gazprom has renewed a threat to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine - but says it will not hit deliveries to Western Europe.

Moscow and Kiev are holding talks over Gazprom's decision to quadruple prices.

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko called for the price to be frozen until 10 January while talks continue, but Gazprom reportedly rejected the offer.

State-owned Gazprom is threatening to cut off Ukraine's gas at 0700GMT on Sunday if there is no breakthrough.
Yep, Putin and Schröder, what a team. Brings back memories, don't it?


Anonymous The_Real_JeffS said...

I hope history is not repeating itself.....

11:08 PM  

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