Putin Ratchets Up The Pressure on Ukraine 10

Russia has caused a major crisis throughout much of Europe by radically reducing gas supplies. This was ordered personally by Putin, and is not really about Ukraine’s unpaid gas bill at all. It is about Putin’s desire to force Ukraine back into the Soviet orbit. On the whole, his efforts to regain Russian control over the Former Soviet Union are remarkably succesful.

All of this was entirely predictable:

Only normal business is the last thing Gazprom is involved in. Gazprom is perhaps the most important tool in Putin’s armoury. He keeps a close eye on it. The Chairman of Gazprom is Dmitri Medvedev, First Deputy Prime Minister, close Putin ally and a possible Putin choice for his successor. The Trade, Energy and Foreign Ministers are all represented on the board at ministerial level.

Gazprom has been the instrument by which Putin has reasserted Russian hegemony over the Former Soviet Union, blackmailing European ex-Soviet countries by cutting off energy supplies in winter, and buying up the Central Asian ex-Soviet countries by taking over the heart of their economies.

More surprisingly, Gazprom is key to Putin’s harsh internal control. Mr Kuprianov often appears on the nation’s TV screens, which is easily explained. A year after taking power, Putin decided to stamp out independent media in Russia. When NTV, the only independent national TV channel, was closed down in 2001, it was Gazprom Media who took it over and turned it into a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. Gazprom went on to buy up Russia’s two large independent national newspapers. The last significant remaining one, Kommersant, was bought last November personally by the sinister Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov, chairman of Gazprominvest Holdings. The Editor-in-Chief was immediately sacked while the longstanding defence correspomdent, Igor Safronov, mysteriously fell out of a window three months later

June 1, 2007

Russian Journalist Murders, and Gazprom

I do urge you to read that article. Murders of journalists have intensified since. Putin always uses the Gazprom weapon during periods of freezing weather; this kills people as surely as military action. It is also extremely clever. European countries are already turning against Ukraine, particularly Putin’s poodle, Angela Merkel. As Putin pulls a struggling Ukraine back into his neo-Soviet orbit, Germany is giving it a push.

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10 thoughts on “Putin Ratchets Up The Pressure on Ukraine

  • George Dutton

    "The killing of Anna Politkovskaya"…


    Thatcher burnt off most off the UK north sea gas supply 20/25 years worth into the atmosphere in order to give tax cuts to get re-elected…

    Never forget that.

    Norway didn't and are now selling it to us and making a hugh profit.

  • writerman

    Last summer I was in the eastern Ukraine visiting what's left of that branch of the family, not that many really.

    I found people extremely pro-Russian indeed and very critical of the regime in Keiv and its pro-American stance.

    The Crimea was even more pro-Russian, a lovely place by the way.

    In contrast the west of the Ukraine was very different indeed, though even here there was conflict and resentment.

    It seemed to me that the place was split down the middle. It also reminded me of the Godfather, where rival criminal clans have carved up a entire country instead of just Chicago! The situation seemed volatile, complex and highly dangerous.

    Personally, I support freedom, liberty, laws, human rights, social justice, tollerance and all the best characteristics of bourgeois democracy. I like the idea of democracy and would like to see far more of it. But I'm not sure we are moving in that direction anymore, more's the pity.

    If American succeeds in taking over the Ukraine or tries to, there will be trouble with Russia. The Russians see this as part of an American strategy to destroy them and turn Russia into a colony, to enslave them to Western interests and open up the vast resources of Eurasia for themselves. He who controls the heartland of Eurasia will be the power that controls the world in the 21st century. Now, one can dismiss this attitude and I'm simplifying a lot, but this is how many Russians see the situation in the Ukraine, and I believe one would be foolish to ignore their attitudes. After the skermish in Georgia how do we convince ordinary Russians that we aren't just another rival mafia gang?

  • chris

    Craig, do you think this may also be to do with Russia's budget defecit caused by dropping oil prices? I can imagine that Putin will not want his gas prices reduced as well so cutting off supplies to europe and blaming Ukraine seems to me like a pretty shrewd way of ensuring that gas prices don't decrease.

    I am with you on Putin's obsession with rejoining all the former states as shown in Georgia and his increasing influence on Ukraine's, alleged, pro western politicians.

    I think Putin is an evil menace but he is impossible to stop. What can you do against someone who has the power to cripple most european countries and has a total disregard for his own people?

  • George Dutton

    I have thought for sometime that mostly all the leaders of countries around the world are governed by members of the same club.

    i.e. Barack Obama…I could not understand why people where getting so excited at him being elected…My view is that if you are not of what has gone before you will not be allowed to get into that position of power.Everthing planned,everthing executed,everthing laid out in advance.Putin I think should be treated as off the same.i.e.It is after all in the interests of THE few that the military-industrial complex keeps going at full steam ahead that fear of the many is kept at fever pitch to keep the weak minded voting for THE few.

    Or do you think I am a cynic ?.

  • George Dutton

    "Obama inauguration: The rich and famous throw a $45 million party"

    "It is anticipated that as many as two million Americans will attend Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20. Yet all but a handful will be shut out of the real party, which will take place at a series of invitation-only inaugural events. In these rarified quarters, the rich and powerful will rub elbows with members of the incoming administration and top Congressional Democrats. Acquaintances will be made or renewed, toasts offered and deals cut."

    "Obama aims to raise as much as $45 million for his inauguration. The figure would be the most-ever spent on the festivities related to the inauguration of a US president, eclipsing the $42.3 million given to President Bush's inauguration in 2005. Thus far Obama has raised nearly $25 million."

    "Once again the majority of Obama's donations have come from a handful of wealthy figures. One hundred and eighty-nine donors have raised or "bundled" 87 percent, or $21.6 million, of the total. Of these, 103 also raised money for Obama during the presidential campaign, during which he obliterated previous campaign fundraising records, raising about three quarters of a billion dollars, only one quarter of which came from small donors."

    "In the sordid landscape of US politics, the financial aristocracy and the political elite have long taken presidential inaugurations as opportunities to buy and sell influence. In reality, the event is a sort of political marketplace rather thinly, and gaudily, disguised as a celebration of democracy. The election safely behind, and the next one four years away, incoming presidents have felt little need to hide the true nature of the affair."…

    "deals cut"

    I am a cynic.

  • George Dutton

    "The federal connection here is important: "It should be noted that on March 17, 2003 Bush hired "the former head of the KGB (the secret police of the former Soviet Union), General Yevgeni Primakov," as a consultant to the US Department of Homeland Security."

    "Primakov joined another Russian, Oleg Kalugin, KGB (Ret) with the Department of State Security, also as a part of Homeland Security. On January 1, 2005 Kalugin was replaced with the infamous and sinister Silver Fox himself (his former CIA code name), Gen. Markus Wolf. "Wolf was the head of the international intelligence gathering arm (HVA) of East Germany's Ministry for State Security, or Stasi.""…

    This goes very nicely with the forth post down…I told you so.

  • George Dutton

    19 January 2009

    “Prominent Russian lawyer killed”

    “A top human rights lawyer who acted for the family of an 18-year-old Chechen woman murdered by a Russian army officer has been shot dead in Moscow.”

    “Stanislav Markelov, who acted for the family of Kheda Kungayeva, was shot by an unknown man after a news conference in the centre of the Russian capital.”

    “He expressed outrage after the officer, Yuri Budanov, was released last week.”…


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