Russia, Germany and Energy Politics
By Ron Fraser
Monday, January 16, 2006
Russia and Germany are caught up in a high-stakes game of energy politics. The fallout will shape the order of European international relations for the foreseeable future.
Halfway through her first 100 days in office, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has been thrust into stormy waters that are proving both a test and a serious challenge to her government’s tenuous hold on foreign policy. At stake is a trade-off between territory and energy in Europe.
During the previous chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder, Germany appeared to enjoy warm and close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was a convenient politico-economic relationship: Russia got German investment to kickstart its ailing economy, and in return Germany received preferred access to Russia’s massive energy resources.
However, the Russian president’s clever and deliberate ploy to use energy colossus Gazprom as a lead arrow in his pouch of foreign-policy quirks has the German public suddenly realizing that they appear to have placed too many eggs in the Russian energy basket.
Germany presently relies on Russia to supply a whole third of its oil and gas supplies....
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