Turkey sees the acute energy market competition as an opportunity to establish itself both as an influential energy state and as a central Eurasian power. In this regard, choosing Turkmenistan as the site of one of the first state visits by the new Turkish president was not accidental.
The old Soviet “enemies-are-everywhere” mentality frequently leads Russian decision makers to losses and defeat.
Moscow’s most recent, failed attempt to cooperate with China on the Altai gas pipeline shows that its political ambitions are not compatible with elementary arithmetic.
Rather than “replacing” Europe with China in its foreign policy universe, Russia would be wise to develop its relations with Beijing closer to the level of the very thick ties which link it to its Western neighbors.
Ukraine needs more than the current level of Western assistance. But the Ukrainian government also needs to pull its weight, promising (and delivering) transparency.
The only possible source of money for the Power of Siberia pipeline is no one else but China, and the terms of this assistance will be dictated from Beijing. The Kremlin’s inability to come to terms with the Western world does not come cheap.
Russia’s efforts to find an acceptable place for itself in the U.S.-led Western system have ended in a bitter disappointment. The changing trading patterns point to a new era in Moscow’s foreign relations, in which Sino-Russian relations will be taking center stage.
The effect of the new sanctions on the Russian oil and gas industry might be very sensitive while at the same time saving large sums of money on projects with impossibly long payback prospects. Either way, Western governments are now doing basically what the Russian leader always wanted, staying away from Russia’s oil and gas.
Ukraine’s position as an important transport corridor for Russian gas has resulted in various periods of conflict between Ukraine and Russian-state owned gas companies. But, even though both recognize they will not reach a long-term agreement quickly, one can easily see that the number of disagreements between them is not great. Both realize the need to compromise.
Tensions in Ukraine threaten to alter the security environment in the Arctic. Russia must, therefore, proceed with caution if it wants to maintain previous levels of cooperation. Only time will tell if the hawks in the Kremlin will be willing to engage in cooperation rather than see the region as a zero-sum game.