As it is hard to believe that the disclosure of the activities of British spies by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is just a coincidence of the calendar, it is certainly very unlikely that the activities of Project Syndicate dealing with the Ukrainian issue are not a veiled response. Thus, the staff of George Soros spreads columns in affiliated media questioning the Russian energy policy and the political orientation of the country. Considering their audience and the effect of their reiteration, it is easy to understand that the arguments presented by Project Syndicate have an impact not only on public opinion but also on the analysts who usually deal with these topics. Therefore, anyone can see in the background of this issue the concern of the big financial organizations about the re-distribution of world energy power.
On January 23rd, the FSB, the Russian intelligence service, announced that it had discovered a network of British spies who worked in the British embassy in Moscow. Then, the FSB said that the identified agents had contacts with Russian organizations that claim to work in the defense of Human Rights. But this revelation was not made in a politically neutral moment. The agents were discovered in late 2005 but the agents were unmasked when they are supposed to approve a law to strengthen the state’s control over associations financed from abroad. This law is presented in the western mainstream media as a new obstacle to democratic freedoms established by an ever more authoritarian Kremlin, while Moscow affirms that its goal is to prevent destabilizing operations organized by foreign states through NGOs.
Oddly enough, the western media have given little space for the issue of the false NGOs in their “opinion” pages. On the contrary, they have echoed the Russia-Ukraine controversy on the gas price, always from an approach adverse to Russia. In this campaign, the work of Project Syndicate – a staff for the spread of articles financed by George Soros’s Open Society Institute, an organization threatened by the Russian law of associations, like others financed by the American millionaire - is significant.
As it is hard to believe that the disclosure of the activities of British spies by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is just a coincidence of the calendar, it is certainly very unlikely that the activities of Project Syndicate on the Ukrainian issue are not a veiled response.
Thus, the staff of George Soros spreads texts in affiliated media questioning the Russian energy policy and the political orientation of the country. Considering their audience and the effect of their reiteration, it is easy to understand that the arguments presented by Project Syndicate have an impact not only on public opinion but also on the analysts who usually deal with these topics.
Alexander Etkind, professor of Russian studies at the University of Cambridge, describes the Russian government in the Taipei Times, La Vanguardia, the Korea Herald, the Daily Star, the Daily Times and certainly in other media outlets, as an archaic and even “evil” regime. He affirms that Moscow’s arrogance in its controversy with Kiev has revealed the true nature of the Kremlin in the “West”. Etkind affirms that, today, the Russian oil and gas only serve a reduced minority that gets richer and richer and bases its power in the harassment against intellectuals and the opposition. The Kremlin would be seeking to build a sub-educated society that can be controlled, limiting itself to buying foreign technology. In order to fight this trend, the author urges western societies to mobilize and to boycott Russian energy raw materials.
The usual readers of our articles have not been taken by surprise by this increase of tensions regarding world energy and, in this sense, the controversy of the Russian gas is foreseeable. Indeed, Voltaire Network has described these circumstances, mainly linked to the reserves and world distribution of hydrocarbons, and symbolized by “peak oil”, that is, the point beyond which the main and more versatile energy source of our civilization, oil, will inevitably decrease in quantity and quality. In addition, the traditional diversity of supply sources will be replaced in the future by an ever-increasing dependence of highly-consuming countries on the Middle East and Russia. This phenomenon has a clear example in the current tensions between Iran, Russia and Iraq, on one side – three of the four countries with the largest reserves of oil and gas – and the Atlantist countries, motivated by their way of consumption and economic dominance, traditionally based on the control of cheap and abundant energy.
The virulence of the articles currently being published thus tends to mask the true causes of the problem, taking advantage of the lack of information of a reader who, even if he has a post of responsibility in the public or private sector, may not be aware of the underlying geological pressures. So, it is very easy to portray Vladimir Putin or Mahmud Ahmadineyad as totalitarian leaders, while they carry out very popular policies that consist of nationalizing the huge profits generated by hydrocarbon prices to re-distribute them later. Of course, the recent social measures taken in Russia, including the increase of minimum social funds, have been ignored by the Atlantist media. The same phenomenon is taking place in Venezuela (and very soon in Bolivia), in this case also with a popular movement, but without any political complexes and openly socialist, which makes it more difficult to ignore.
The financial elites of consuming countries make strong political pressures aiming at obstructing the nationalization of profits in hydrocarbon producing countries as it implies less revenues for stockholders of the big western oil companies that, at the same time, feed national budgets. The increasing aggressiveness against the above mentioned leaders, in articles promoted by speculators like George Soros, is taking place in the context of this pressures by the financial groups and makes their role clearer in the mechanics of war.
In a more virulent way, a former assistant to the US Defense Secretary, Democrat Joseph S. Nye, also called on a article by Project Syndicate published by the Korea Herald and the Daily Star, to diversify the European energy sources.
The former Ukrainian Prime Minister and former hydrocarbon magnate, Yulia Tymoshenko, is less interested in the nature of the Russian regime than she is in the relation between Kiev and Moscow. Thus, she denounces in the Taipei Times, the Daily Times and El Tiempo Russia’s refusal to find other alternatives than the RosEkrEnergo company, in charge of supplying Ukraine with the gas coming from Central Asia, which goes through Russia. It also criticizes the construction of a gas pipeline crossing the Baltic Sea to directly supply gas to the Western European countries without passing through Eastern Europe. In her opinion, this pipeline is a strategy that allows Russia to interrupt its gas supply to the former communist countries without losing the profits of its supply to the western countries. It is the same argument already used by former Lithuanian president Vytautas Landsbergis, in an article also spread by Project Syndicate. Thus, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister believes that it is necessary to denounce the Russian-Ukrainian agreement and to accelerate Ukraine’s integration to Europe in order to avoid Russia’s control over that country.
This point of view is commented in the Moscow Times by former Swedish diplomat Anders Aslund. The author is an expert of Project Syndicate (although this text has not been spread by this organization), who signed the call of the 115 Atlantists against Vladimir Putin and a former crawler of the “orange revolution”. Aslund continues the comments of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister in regards with the RosUkrEnergo company and says that the agreement reached by Moscow and Kiev only solves the gas problem in the next six months. However, being less bitter than Mrs. Tymoshenko, he affirms that the agreement is favorable to Ukraine. In his opinion, if Tymoshenko’s party abandoned the Ukrainian government in this issue it was because they are now the opposition, not because it is a bad deal for Ukraine. Thus, without challenging the accusations of funds diversion made by the ex muse of the “orange revolution”, he grants Viktor Yushchenko the benefit of the doubt as to his negotiations with Russia.
The former president of the Aspen Institute, Frederick Starr, and the former Georgian Economy Minister Vladimer Papava, show their concern in the Korea Herald, the Daily Star and the Taipei Times about the influence that the Russian gas gives to Moscow in Armenia and Georgia. They beg “western” countries to help Georgia prevent Gazprom from buying the pipeline that supplies gas to Georgia and Armenia in order to avoid that these countries fall in Russia’s orbit.
After the publication of this article the pipeline exploded due to an attack on that weekend, with Georgia openly accusing Moscow. These points of view face a crude geological reality. With half of the natural gas world reserves, Russia controls the regional market, specially considering that the transportation of gas requires an important infrastructure. The presence of Gazprom - a Russian national company – in the region seems more logical than, for example, that of the British Petroleum, whose stockholders are mainly from the other side of the English Channel or the other side of the Atlantic.
Project Syndicate is not, however, the only one denouncing Russia’s influence.
The British conservative former Transportation and Energy Minister and also spokesman of the House of the Lords, David Howell, shows his concern in the Japan Times about the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. He believes that this shows that Russia is not a reliable partner and that Europe, and particularly the United Kingdom, can not count on the Russian gas at the risk of endangering their energy security.
In Los Angeles Times, Rajan Menon, of the New America Foundation, and Oles M. Smolansky, professor of Foreign Relations at the University of Lehigh, express their pleasure after the Kiev-Moscow accord but regret that “the West” did not do more to help Kiev. The authors affirm that Ukraine won the battle against Russia, which was trying to extort money from Ukraine and trying to punish Kiev for getting closer to NATO. The authors believe that if the controversy emerges again, “the West” should use Russia’s candidature for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to press Moscow and to prevent Russia from taking it out on Ukraine. However, the terms of their recommendation are contradictory. Precisely, Russia should liberalize its gas market to enter the WTO and, thus, eliminate preferential prices that benefit some of its neighbors, like Ukraine.
As it is clear, the snake systematically bites its own tail in any strategic reflection when it tries to ignore our dependent position, certainly humiliating, with respect to the Russian, Iraqi or Iranian resources. Retaking a recent comment by the Iranian president, we need Iran more than they need us. Let us sit and have a dialogue, since calling them totalitarian for their willingness to control their own resources will lead us only to a conflict. The people of Russia, Iraq and Iran are more educated than what common prejudices may lead us to think they are, and they will not let themselves be easily deceived.