Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« More fantastic news from the Bank of England | Main | Can Obama be on both sides of the gay marriage debate? »

Monday, January 12, 2009

Russian opposition leader on Russian aggression

Garry Kasparov, leader of the Other Russia Coalition, wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. In it he calls his own country a petrodictatorship and accuses the Kremlin of purposefully adding to international instability for the sake of crude oil prices.

There persists a very damaging myth in the West, spouted by politicians and the press, that says Russia's assistance is needed with Iran and other rogue states. In fact, the Kremlin has been stirring this pot for years and has a vested interest in further increasing turmoil in the region. The Hamas/Hezbollah rockets, based on the Russian Katyusha and Grad, are not delivered via DHL from Allah. It doesn't require the guile of a KGB man like Mr. Putin to imagine a way to accelerate Iran's nuclear program, which has been aided by Russian technology and protected by the Kremlin from meaningful international action.

A war between Iran and Israel, according to Kasparov, would benefit Russia's Imperial program. Crude Oil prices will shoot back up to $100 a barrel and Russia would once again be able to bully its neighbours. What is more is Russia would be able to do so with a distracted world giving them a pass.

I worry about Russia, and I worry about how Russia is extorting Ukraine. Russia may not be the super power that it once was, but it still has the resources to cause a great deal of pain and suffering in the world.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on January 12, 2009 in International Affairs | Permalink


Sadly Bashing Russians in the west is a common pass time and it is no wonder the Russians themselves often do not trust the west..

Bashing others, bullying, and sybling rivalry is not a new thing, it is as old as Cain and Abel...

much longer than the Jewish Arab conflict now as well..

Posted by: thenonconformer | 2009-01-12 9:53:58 AM

Even though I love perogies

I rather also worry about how many crooks, thieves there are in Ukraine itself these days, it certainly is not known to be a honest place..

Ukraine sells guns, arms to many of the troubled spots world wide still too.

Posted by: thenonconformer | 2009-01-12 9:57:11 AM

Putin is pretty much a loose cannon. We would be mistaken to think that a non-Soviet Russia lacks imperial designs. Moscow must be watched.

Worrying about Russians not trusting the West because of the West's own actions is nothing but a form of the Left's old insistence that we bring trouble upon ourselves. Surely that does happen sometimes; still, it is all too often like blaming the Devil for hating God. The Devil is still the bad guy in the relationship, and that is not the fault of the Almighty.

Posted by: Charles Martin Cosgriff | 2009-01-12 10:00:50 AM

What a load of codswallop!
Does Kasparov give a single shred of evidence of a Moscow connection with Hamas here? Can anyone?
As to the "inexplicable" gas dispute with Ukraine, let's wait and see what the EU monitors have to say.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | 2009-01-12 10:51:55 AM

I won't insist that there is a connection between Russia and Hamas, though I won't be surprised if there is one through Iran. You cannot deny, however, that Russia has helped Iran to destablise relations with their nuclear program. Even if Russia doesn't want Iran to have nukes it is certainly to their advantage for Iran to have a program.

If nothing else it forces the Americans to come to Russia with hat in hand asking for help with the Iranians.

As for the dispute with Ukraine. It started when Russia raised it's prices for absolutely no commericial reason. The EU monitors are going to make sure that the Ukrainians don't steal some gas to,you know, not freeze to death.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-01-12 10:58:41 AM

Do a little research for heaven's sake!

Bushehr, a reactor actually begun by the Germans many years ago, is not connected with the centrifuges, which began long before any fuel was delivered.

"absolutely no commercial reason". So when did the existing contract expire? How much gas comes from Uzbekistan and what is it charging now vs 2 years ago? What was Gazprom's offer to Ukraine? How much gas does Ukraine have in storage? What is the relationship between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko? etc etc.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | 2009-01-12 11:13:18 AM

They increased the price by 233%, but not at first. First they merely increased it from $179.50 per 1000 metric tonne to $250 per 1000 metric tonne. The moment that the Ukrainians disputed the price they bumped the price up to $418 per 1000 metric tonne. That is clearly a predetory strategy from a monopoly.

I have read a considerable amount of material on the Ukranian situation, I have yet to hear of a reason why the price should so derastically increased. I doubt that inflation, competition, or cost increases are so large as to warrent 233% increase. If you can provide with one than I would be happy to hear it.

As for Iran, I was not referring to the building of nuclear material. Even Canada has built reactors in Iran. Russia has made nothing but a token effort in non-proliferation. And they have protected Iran at the security council.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-01-12 12:00:19 PM

Russia has increased the gas price for everyone over the last few years (including, BTW, Belarus and Armenia). It's tired of subsidising its neighbours. $250tcm (cubic metres BTW, not tonnes) is about half what Germany pays. Turkmenistan, which subsidised the former price for Ukraine, put the price up itself so, since that is about 60% of the gas that Ukr burns, the price had to go up. All this was clear at least a year ago from statements by President Berdymukhammedov. Putin and Tymoshenko agreed to all this in principle back in October.

Your reading is, I fear selective.

Why do you think Moscow has insisted that EU inspectors be placed there?

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | 2009-01-12 1:25:02 PM

The EU inspectors is not the same issue as the price increase. The inspectors are going to insure that Ukraine doesn't steal some of the gas that is meant to go to the rest of Europe. Of course Russia wants the inspectors there. It ensures that the EU remains unconcerned about the situation.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-01-12 2:36:27 PM

But wasn't stealing the gas the reason why Gazprom shut down the lines altogether?
Gazprom's price was -- before Yushchenko ordered the Naftohaz people out -- $250tcm which isn't bad and is fully in line with the agreement Putin and Tymoshenko made in October.

And, I believe I've asked this of you before and you didn't answer -- why do you think Kasparov hangs out with these guys?
What does their flag remind you of? Why would they pick that flag? Does that look democratic to you?

You're being had.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | 2009-01-12 2:52:26 PM

It is my understanding that the gas lines were shut down well before any accusations of theft. Those accusations only came about when other European countries were not recieving their full quota after the Ukranian tap had been shut down.

I've worked with communists towards a common goal before. Does that mean that I am lying about my believes? No it just means that my choice of allies were very limited and I had to do the best I could with the resources I had.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-01-12 2:58:28 PM

The gas contract with Ukraine ended 1 Jan and negotiations of a new one ended after Gazprom made the perfectly reasonable offer (did you check out the Tymoshenko-Putin agreement?) of $250tcm which is about half "world prices". Gazprom then shut down the amount Ukraine would have been taken. Ukraine started stealing gas (as it did the last time) and then Gazprom shut down everything, after (it said) nothing was getting through.
Gazprom insisted that EU monitors be put in place to ensure Ukraine did not divert the gas. This is, we are told, being done. When it is done, GP tells us, the gas to Europe will flow again.

BTW, you clearly did not check the reference I gave you, the Natbol flag is reminiscent of another flag altogether.

For those of you out there -- the flag is red, with a white circle in the middle, with a hammer and sickle.

National Bolshevik as in National Socialist.

Kasparov is so close to the leader of the Natbols, that he showed up with its leader to tear up his ballot.

You are, as I said before, being had. Kasparov's outfit is a fake.

And, I might say, among "the resources you had" was Mr Google.

This is the last post I will make but it distresses me to find that "right-wing party activists" (your description of yourself (http://www.blogger.com/profile/12933376279068353211) buy ready-made opinions just as lefties do.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | 2009-01-12 3:29:24 PM

I never said anything that contradicts the time line that you put forth. We are disagreeing on the interpretation of those events.

I did look at your link. In fact I looked at it the last time you linked it too. I don't see why you think that is a national socialist symbol versus a communist symbol. At anyrate it doesn't matter because they are effectively the same thing. My point still holds, he is in a rather marginalized position and thus has to make some unfortunate alliances.

I'm not married to Kasparov. What I have read and heard him say makes me approve of him far more than Putin. And you've yet to give me a substantial reason to withdraw that approval. If you want to convince me that he is not a good man, give me something better than some sketchy friends.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-01-12 3:41:17 PM

Russia is not the threat it was but a new kind of threat:

1) Putin is a threat to the freedom the Russians could have tasted. We are amateurs compared to the political intrigue of this man

2) He is a threat to Poland, and the East of Europe whom he wants to swallow up and intimidate once again. My grandma is from Estonia so I take it very personally.

3) And he is complicit in supporting Iran and rogue regimes against Western interests.

Posted by: Faramir | 2009-01-13 12:08:36 AM

Oh please Patrick, Putin is using the gas line as a form of warfare to suck the Ukraine back into the Russian state. We know what Putin does to his political enemies.

Posted by: Faramir | 2009-01-13 12:10:35 AM

The price of oil is being driven down with the intent of removing Putin from office.

"It took only 5 months for the price of oil to plummet from $150 to under $40 in the second part of the year. Meanwhile oil consumption did not even decrease 10%, so what is the real cause of this collapse you may ask?"

Five months takes us back to August and the Russian invasion of Georgia (or the the Russian protection of South Ossetia).

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-13 12:25:01 AM

Plus we should remember two important facts. At first, Ukraine will suffer losses because the price for using Ukranian gas pipe didn’t grow proportionally to the Rusiian gas price. Let’s make a simple calculation. Russia pays Ukraine $1,7 for transporting 1000 cubic meters of gas on 100 km. Average distance which is passed by Russian gas by our pipe aproximately 1100 km. Russia transports to Europe at least 110 milliards cubic meters of gas annually. So Ukraine gains about $2 milliards anually. And the lowest European price is $4 per 100 kilometers, so we could gain about $4,7 milliards. Accordingly we can say that Timoshenko complimented Putin about $2,7 milliards.

How much gas could be purchased by these? 10-12 milliards of cubic meters at least. Timoshenko grants Putin more than the 50% of annual gas necessity of Ukraine. Receiving the increasing of prices and Ukraine’s obligation to buy technical gas by own cost, though at favourable prices.

Posted by: Alex | 2009-02-27 5:41:51 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.