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You're reading: New Russian gas gambit

Winter has always given confidence to Russia in pursuit of military and geopolitical
victories. Today the sphere for these geopolitical victories has become the gas sector. It is no
accident that Russia tends to launch its “gas wars” in winter, and 2012 is no exception.

In using gas as its weapon, at whom is the modern Russian geopolitical game directed?
Russia’s new gas debut is a gambit. It is clear that the main task in this game is to gain
substantial financial positional advantage by playing the victim in this acute and complicated
struggle. Who is the victim and who is the victor in this game? Sacrificing the confidence of the
European consumers to “Gazprom”, Russia has once again tried to persuade the EU that Ukraine
is an unreliable transit country, using this as the reason for building South Stream whereby
Russia will bypass Ukraine. Europe was reminded once again of its critical dependence on
Russia and its energy policy in the cold of winter. This gambit attack on Europe was to make it
more compliant in relations with the Kremlin.

As for Ukraine, since independence it has failed to ensure its energy security. Russia
has used this failure in an attempt to control Ukraine. Gas conflicts between Ukraine and Russia
are a series of economic conflicts between Russian “Gazprom” and Ukrainian “Naftogaz”. The
key word in this definition is “economic”, which, de facto, does not match the reality faced by
Ukraine. Among the key attributes of the gas conflicts are political pressure and information
wars. For Ukraine, 2012 began with a new “gas war” with Russia. In 2009, Europe was
convinced that Ukraine was the main culprit and responsible for its own problems. Since this
year a similar situation was observed, the Europeans experienced a case of deja vu.

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