Putin’s model of handling the internal and external partners, competitors and even enemies have long been known to all who are willing to look at things rationally. At the first stage, Putin offers a very good compromise. It is taken as a sign of weakness and rejected. At the second stage, the situation for those who rejected the compromise is rapidly deteriorating and a new compromise is offered, but significantly less profitable. And this continues up until there is no more compromise, or until a forever inflexible partner will “choke on a polonium scarf” in London. For example, in the situation with South Stream, we are observing phase two: the deterioration of EU’s position with a hint of a new compromise in the form of an extended “Blue Stream” and a gas hub on a border with Greece.
In fact, Putin is now forcing the EU to recognize the mess in Ukraine is not Russian, but a European problem. Having reached agreements on gas, in which the most important was the acknowledgement by the EU of Ukraine’s debt and not agreeing that Russia has the full right to demand pre-payment, one can expect that simply from a sense of self-preservation Brussels will either give Kiev money, or will pay for Kiev or will just look away while Moscow will bring order to Kiev. For political reasons, and under a pressure from United States, Brussels decided not to do it. To give money to Kiev for gas is useless and dangerous for that bureaucrat who will sign the payment order from the EU – his career will be over. To pay directly for Kiev is a disastrous humiliation, in front of the opposition, business, taxpayers and voters who will not forgive the politicians that they had a falling out with Russia in order to obtain the right to pay for the debts of the American puppets in Kiev. European officials also refused to turn away as Moscow cleans up in Kiev, because behind them are the terrifying American detachments armed with folders of dirt collected by the NSA over the last few decades. As a result, an ostrich approach has prevailed in the EU – the hope that Moscow will deliver gas to Europe at any cost, even if a theft on credit by Kiev regime has to be tolerated. In recent weeks, even for the most die-hard European politicians, it became clear that it is worthless to wait for concessions from the Kremlin. It is obvious that the Kremlin is very angry at the sanctions and will gladly arrange for Europe something worse than the remake of the past “gas wars” just so that European politicians will not think that their actions against the Russian Federation will remain without consequences and that Russia will continue to be an open and accommodating partner.
Ritual slaughter of South Stream, made before the eyes of the entire European press is a stark and clear message. European politicians had hoped that at worst Europe will have to endure one cold winter without gas and the destruction of “imperial ambitions of Russia” is worth the sacrifice. According to European logic (it is not much different from Ukrainian), Russia needs the European gas market so badly, that Gazprom will build South Stream for its own money, will give half of capacity to its own competitors, as required by the “third energy package of the EU”, and will sponsor Ukraine with gas supplies – all for the sake of access to the European market. Putin has destroyed this logic, drawing a new vector of Russia’s energy policy:
“We will reroute the flow of our energy resources to other regions of the world, including through the promotion and accelerated implementation of projects for liquefied natural gas. We will develop other markets, and Europe will not receive these volumes, in any case, from Russia. We believe that this is not consistent with the economic interests of Europe and undermines our cooperation. But this is the choice of our European friends” ( RIA Novosti )
In the analysis of the situation in Ukraine, published back in May, I have outlined the gas contract with China as one of the key steps necessary to untie the hands of Russia in other areas of foreign policy. Now we see the results of this work of the Kremlin in the Chinese pivot. Putin seems to say to the Europeans: “Be careful what you wish for, it may come true.” Europeans have released a Russian genie from a sanctions bottle, which began to fulfill European desires with generosity. Europeans are in panic and shock that Putin painted a very unpleasant future for them. As long as pro-American junta sits in Kiev, Europe will be cold and without gas every winter. Think about it! Each winter – huge economic losses and terrible political hell for European politicians. Putin promised Europe not a “Groundhog Day” but a “Groundhog Winter” – endless nightmare which will not be solved by supplies of expensive American LNG. And again, Europe faces a choice: to give Ukraine the money (every year!) or to pay for the Ukrainian gas (every year!) or to turn away while Moscow will bring order to Kiev (once!). This is the new “Putin’s compromise.”
Every cold day, every cold month, every billion euros of losses and every million of frozen voters who will demand that “Ukraine already be given to those Russians” – all of this will push the Europeans to the desired solution. In the process of “taming” of the European Union, part of the profits of Gazprom for 2015 may have to be sacrificed, but to break the will of Brussels to resist is much more important and this will provide us with significant income in the future and will protect our country from many problems in the Western direction. As practice shows, freezing Europe is a smart and flexible Europe. Russia, as its known, is a generous soul. Putin calls Europeans “friends” not for nothing, and a friend is revealed in trouble. Europe has a problem – it is sick with “Americanism” and “Obamamania”. A good friend and doctor Putin had prescribed the best medicine – the healing energy starvation. Judging by the screams of European politicians and media at the sight of the prescription, the treatment will be difficult, but effective.
Translated by Kristina Rus