Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What's the deal?

This is an article published in the last issue of the Ovi magazine - Ovi lehti

I'm still wondering how come nobody has asked the Russian president Putin: What's the deal? It seems that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks and Russia is back to its old games with the Europeans. The issue is gas prices and the value of energy.

With oil prices going sky-high and things looking to get worse day after day with the Iran crisis getting closer every day, the other solution for the energy problem in Europe is natural gas. One-forth of the European needs and increasing year by year is supplied from Russia, and Russia gave a demonstration just a few months ago how they can turn energy into weapon with Ukraine where nearly the whole country froze to death.

Worrying about the Russian bullying over Ukraine for the gas prices, the European Union started thinking for other alternatives that could not fully cover the European needs. At the time a second message came from Russia, they were thinking to turn to Asian markets, especially the Chinese market, instead of dealing with the European doubters.

A big meeting between the EU and Russia kept Mr. Barozo happy because he saw that there is a solution between all these misunderstandings, but made the rest of us more worried, especially after Mr. Putin announced that a deal with Europe means certain exchanges.

Thinking about it, Mr. Putin should not surprise us because by stopping Iran from exploring their nuclear possibilities Europe is ready to give them nearly everything. Why shouldn't Russia ask for something more than a good price? After all, who is scarier, Russia or Iran? Russia can produce its own nuclear bombs and they don't need excuses or apologies.

Getting the chance, the EU and Russia can sign a couple of other things, like making it easier to get a visa and simplify the deportation of illegal immigrants. On top of those, as Mr. Schuessel, the Austrian chancellor and president of the EU till June said: "Real practical steps to build closer relationships between our citizens" and that means what? The next time Putin will try to play games with the gas prices, Russia will send us Russians to hold and keep us warm?

Putin, from his side, was glad for the agreement on co-funding a European studies institute in Moscow and an EU aid program for the North Caucasus. That really warmed me up.

Finally, both sides discussed about Iran, the Middle East and human rights. Please pay attention to that. Russia want more, far more to what was offered to Iran, compromise in the Middle East and just shut your mouth about the human rights issues in Russia. Thinking of it makes you wonder what they offered Iran, they are not going to be a theocratic dictatorship, a regime of horror but a holy democracy?

If you feel that you missed something the answer is no, we are still talking about the Russian policy over the gas sales to Europe. If you think that you lost perspective the answer is no, they have!

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