Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Gas or polonium?

The claim of Austrian Foreign Minister Martin Bartenstein for Die Presse, that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a supporter of energy nationalism, and that together with Gazprom boss Miller he is using energy to conduct foreign policy, is nothing new.

The claim of Austrian Foreign Minister Martin Bartenstein for Die Presse, that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a supporter of energy nationalism, and that together with Gazprom boss Miller he is using energy to conduct foreign policy, is nothing new. And although it comes on the eve of Putin's visit to Vienna and only a few days after the fiasco of the EU-Russia summit in Samara, Putin will probably be able to swallow it.

The Kremlin has failed to create a strategic partnership with the EU, due to its conflicts with the Baltic countries and Poland, so it is trying to do business bilaterally. This is why Russia is trying to grab a bigger share of Caspian gas, and why it wants to build the Blue Stream pipeline to nix Europe's planned Nabucco pipeline. That's why it is building a pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, to increase the threat towards countries that oppose it of being bypassed. That's why it wants to build a gas transit centre in Austria, and to build subterranean gas storage areas, so Gazprom can one day have direct access to its customers.

However, the Kremlin cannot reach any of these goals without the agreement of the European Union's member countries. For this reason, creating a European communications strategy with Russia is a key security issue.

Putin's visit to Austria is being overshadowed not only by Samara, but also by the discovery that official Russian circles are probably behind the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. We are not yet being forced to choose between gas or polonium, but one never knows.


Sme, May 24

Top stories

Námestie Slobody gets facelift Photo

The architectural tender will gather ideas for the redesign of the biggest square in Bratislava

Námestie Slobody will be redesigned into a kind of living room in the city.

When the state can’t keep a secret

A selective leak has tarnished President Kiska’s reputation. But he must continue to speak out about corruption.

President Andrej Kiska

Fundamental values explored at Divadelná Nitra 2017

This time round, the Slovak, European and US ensembles at the theatre festival focus on #fundamentals, i.e. basic values and the essence of all things.

Nature Theatre of Oklahoma: Pursuit of Happiness

Foreign rocket engines for North Korea: Why?

For Russia, the path to a weakened China could be through a major nuclear accident in North Korea.