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The Russia/Belarus Oil Standoff
25 January 2007
The Russia/Belarus Oil Standoff

This year began much like last year for Russia, with an "energy crisis" related to the price Russia charges CIS countries for hydrocarbons. Much of the media coverage of these event has called Gazprom's raising prices an example of how Russia "bullies" its neighbors. Most of the articles, of course, do not bother mentioning that even after seemingly astronomical price increases, Russia is still, in fact, subsidizing the economies of it's neighbors. By many estimates, Russia was actually losing money on the gas it sold to Belarus. The following collection of news articles are meant to provide a brief overview of the information and arguments surrounding the recent hike in prices for Belarus and the temporary shutdown of the Druzhba pipeline.

The Belarusian Crisis: An Opportunity for Germany
The first part of this article from STRAFOR gives an excellent and generally impartial overview of this and last year's events.

Putin and LukashenkoRussia, Belarus Reach 'Balanced' Energy Agreement
Gives a Russian account (released by RIA Novosti), with facts and figures, of the agreement that allowed the pipeline to be reopened.

The Price Is No Object
The following was published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, which is officially controlled by the Russian Government. It can therefore be seen as Russia's official stance on the issue.

Belarus 2007 isnТt Ukraine 2006
This article from The Economist focuses largely on comparing and contrasting the two events.

Russian Oil Cutoff Rouses Europe's Doubt
The Wall Street Journal published this article on the potential negative effects of the events on Russia's politics and economic efforts in Europe. Many other more recent stories have concentrated specifically on how the events will affect relations with Germany, which lies at the end of the Druzhba and has taken over the Presidency of the European Parliment this year.

Why Russia's Imperialism is Good for the West
The New Republic remarks that Russia's increasing gas prices for Belarus may have positive effects on the small country's internal and external politics. 

Belarus Inc.: Cooking the Books
Transitions Online gives a wide-ranging account of how the higher prices will affect the Belarussian economy.

Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: Another New YearТs Gas War
This roundtable discussion gives a range of opinions about the events and their economic and political meaning.

Opinions of Russian Politicians
Quotes from major politicians on the "damage to Russia's reputation."

Just Passing Through
Offers the opinion of a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

 

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