Russia using gas row to gain influence

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The gas crisis in Europe is a political move on the part of Moscow to create a climate where Russian natural resources are a top commodity, an analysis says.

Russia is using the Ukrainian gas crisis and subsequent European shortages as a means to increase its influence in the energy sector amid chronic domestic mismanagement of oil and gas infrastructure, the Eurasia Daily Monitor of the Jamestown Foundation reported.


Meanwhile, the global credit freeze, recessionary markets and declining crude oil prices are forcing Russian energy monopoly Gazprom, along with other Russian majors, to retreat from investment forecasts. This all culminates in a stagnant energy sector in Russia, the report said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin touted the political capital apparent in the Ukrainian gas row while bragging about expansive pipeline arteries that could be used as alternates for Europe. These pipelines, South Stream to Italy and Nord Stream to Germany, among others, are still in negotiation, however.

Russia, the report says, does not have the gas reserves or industrial capacity to back up Putin's claims. Russia will continue to grow as a strong energy giant, though that assumes European and other customers have no other options.


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