Putin’s Neo-Soviet Onslaught Begins

Newsweek reports:

Half a decade after a series of “colored revolutions” toppled Moscow-backed rulers across the former Soviet Union and replaced them with pro-Western ones, the Kremlin seems to be finally getting its payback. Already this year Russia can count two scalps—Ukraine’s Viktor Yushchenko and Kyrgyzstan’s Kurmanbek Bakiyev, both ousted by challengers friendlier to Moscow. While it would be a stretch to say that Russia was the sole architect and puppet master of Ukraine’s February presidential election and Kyrgyzstan’s messy coup in April, the country certainly played a key role. It sheltered and supported Kyrgyz opposition leaders and made it clear to Ukrainian voters that a victory for Viktor Yanukovych would usher in a new era of cheap gas and increased trade. Moreover, this year’s strategic victories have inspired the Kremlin to encourage further regime change in what Russians still call their “near abroad.”

Target No. 1 is Georgia and its fervently pro-NATO president, Mikheil Saakashvili. Pro-Kremlin Duma deputy Sergei Markov promises that Moscow is planning “a second Bishkek” to oust Saakashvili—a reference to the rioting last month that forced the Kyrgyz president to flee. That’s a piece of bluster—but one that has a hard grain of truth to it. Since last year Kremlin leaders have made a point of publicly meeting with top Georgian opposition figures. On May 9, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stood side by side with former Georgian parliamentary speaker turned opposition leader Nino Burjanadze at ceremonies to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Victory Day. Putin, Burjanadze, and Moscow’s Mayor Yuri Luzhkov also laid the foundation stone for a war memorial in Moscow identical to one in the Georgian city of Kutaisi that was demolished by Saakashvili last year. Hedging its bets, the Kremlin has also invited other Georgian opposition leaders—notably former prime minister Zurab Nogaideli and former Saakashvili aide Irakli Alasania—to Moscow for talks on how to topple the current Tbilisi government.

A key test for Saakashvili’s administration will be the mayoral elections for Tbilisi at the end of May, when Alasania will stand against a pro-government incumbent—and the opposition is ready for a fight.”[Saakashvili] and his administration are doing everything in their power to falsify the vote,” says Nogaideli, in Moscow for the seventh time in as many months last week. “If he does, he will regret it. We will riot. The government are writing the scenario for a repeat of the Bishkek revolution themselves.”

Russia, for its part, has been doing all it can to boost Saakashvili’s opponents. Last winter Nogaideli negotiated the release of three Georgian schoolboys detained by local militias in North Ossetia, and took credit for negotiating the resumption of direct charter flights between Moscow and Tbilisi. “By making peace with Russia, Georgians want to solve their practical economic problems—they want to be able to fly to Moscow and see their relatives, they want to export goods to Russia, go back home to occupied regions, and most importantly, have a guarantee that there will never be another war with Russia,” says Nogaideli.

But publicly palling with Moscow may be a dangerous strategy. True, a recent poll by the International Republican Institute shows that 52 percent of respondents disapprove of the Georgian government’s current policy toward Russia, and more than 80 percent want scheduled flights to be allowed. But at the same time, 38 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Alasania’s meetings with Russian officials, with only 22 percent in favor. Nogaideli’s own support hovers around 4 percent.

Saakashvili and much of the Georgian media have branded politicians friendly to Moscow “traitors” and “troublemakers.” And a delegation of Russian activists from the Kremlin-created United Russia party were attacked in Tbilisi earlier this month when they tried to hand out presents to World War II veterans.

Despite such mishaps, though, the Kremlin is sticking to its strategy: to befriend and empower groups that oppose Moscow’s enemies. Belarus’s mercurial President Alexander Lukashenko could soon be on the Kremlin’s target list after demanding rent for Russian military bases and sheltering the ousted Kyrgyz president. “Russia is terribly tired of Lukashenko and is looking for a decent leader to replace him,” says Igor Bunin of Moscow’s Center of Political Technologies. Moscow’s candidate of choice could well be Andrei Sannikov, a veteran Belarussian opposition leader who is not too close to the West and has declared that he is “ready to embrace Russian help if it comes from the right people.” Lukashenko, he says, “has been scared lately after he saw how Russia can support a revolution in former Soviet countries.”

The silver lining in Russia’s new strategy is that it could actually mark an end of Putin-era bullying tactics and the beginning of something more approaching real diplomacy. Instead of invading—as it did with Georgia in 2008—or cutting off gas supplies, as it has done to Ukraine in the past, the Kremlin is starting to cultivate relationships with regional opposition leaders not just on Russia’s terms but on the basis of mutual interest. “We have been telling the Kremlin that if they do not stop treating neighbors like enemies, somebody else will come and win their hearts,” says Alexei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center. “Moscow’s new approach means, I hope, that they will start listening to different opinions with more respect.” That may not sound as dramatic as orchestrating revolutions. But it could be the start of making the post-Soviet space a community, rather than a battleground.

79 responses to “Putin’s Neo-Soviet Onslaught Begins

  1. I can only imagine if anti-US and pro-Russian regimes began to mushroom in Canada and Mexico, and then in Central America and in the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

    Newsweek would be having a field day.

  2. Dream on dima, dream on.

    Next you’ll be telling us that Putin’s soviet Russian pigs can fly?

    Pravda.Ru would be having a field day.

    • Bohdan, I once cited a great poem on why one frog did not fly. Shall I repeat?:D

      • Don’t bother Dimwit DimiTry (or DDT?).

        Even an idiot like your good buddy ReTaRded, Voice of (unbelievably stupid) Reason knows that “frogs did not fly”.

        On second thoughts, ask him that question yourself, as he may not know?

        Remember DDT “show me your friends and so shall I judge you”, or “birds of a feather flock together”. In short you are ‘sooo’ lucky to have a buddy like him, or for that matter dima. A real LOL.

    • Bohdan,

      Did you even bother reading my post?

  3. Voice of Reason

    Actually, this is a fairly thoughtful article, except for a couple of silly sentences like: “Saakashvili and much of the Georgian media have branded politicians friendly to Moscow “traitors” and “troublemakers.”

    Of course, much of the Georgian media share Saakashvili’s hate for opposition, because Saakashvili controls most of the Georgian media. Just look how he ransacked, closed and then expropriated the opposition’s ImediTV from Badri P. and from Rupert Murdoch, turning it into his personal mouthpiece. Badri had to escape to London and died of “sudden heart attack, and Rupert just gave in.

  4. While we are on the subject of onslaught, here is an experiment for all the dear readers:

    Chomsky states that:

    <>

    and also,

    <>

    Would you apply these two standards to Russia and the US?

  5. Ignore above post.

    While we are on the subject of onslaught, here is an experiment for all the dear readers:

    Chomsky states that:

    “There’s virtually no correlation between the internal nature of some country and its commitment to external violence. And I think if you look back over history you’ll never find a correlation, back to the Greeks.”

    and also,

    “It is the totalitarian mindset that identifies state policy with the country and its culture.”

    Would you apply his two standards to Russia and the US?

    • Chomsky is an unquestionably great authority on linguistics, but not on anything else

      • Quite predictably, you’re not answering my question

        • What dima are you really that dense? that you sadly don’t understand RV’s sentence.

          Boy the KGB is definitely scraping the bottom of the pits employing Russophiles of your limited mentality.

          What else don’t you understand with, let’s say, the word stupid?

          • There is something seriously wrong with you.

            You’re also not able to answer my question.

            Do you suffer from poor reading comprehension?

            • Francis Smyth-Beresford

              Once again, Bohdan has been breathing deeply from the Bozone Layer – you know, that local atmosphere that surrounds stupid people, and prevents intelligent thought from penetrating.

              • “There is no correlation between the nature of a country and its commitment to external violence”

                The question #1 is quite simple, who of the two (Russia and the US) started more wars per capita during the last 20 years.

                “It is the totalitarian mindset that identifies state policy with the country and its culture.”

                The question #2 is more profound: Why did this country started more wars.

                • Sorry, thought to reply to RV below.

                • Define “wars” and “started wars.” I know you are salivating just thinking of Iraq, but would never admit Russian aggression in Chechnya and elsewhere.

                  Well, let’s see. If we count everything, in the last 20 years the U.S. has started war in Iraq, and Afghanistan. How to classify the situation with former Yugoslavia is unclear to me in this context. The U.S. definitely did not start it, but had some participation with a few bomb strikes to protect Kosovans and others.

                  Russia, involvement at differing extent in: Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetya, parts of Moldova, Georgia, Tadjikistan, Kyrgystan.

                  The question that begs the answer still is, what does it mean “start war.” This term has is very much loaded with negative connotations and is it always fair to put this in such a bad light?

                  Back in the 90’s I remember how President Clinton was severely criticized for not getting involved in genocide in Rwanda. If he had decided then to get involved, would not the enemies of the United States such as yourself, Mr. Voice of Reason and Mr. Chomsky scream from every rooftop that American imperialists are trying to subjugate Africa with the only purpose in mind: to make oil companies and Wall Street banks richer?

              • Ah, ad nauseam FSB the soviet fascist apologist and lying stooge is actually talking about himself. Interesting chum, do these voices in your little head do that often or is it still!

                Tell me, no seriously? what do you know about intelligence? as you have ZILCH! So keep on writing your fantasies.

                You would make a mediocre (‘great’ left out on purpose) science fiction writer – but whether you’d sell any, well that would be extremely questionable!!! In the meantime back to your fantasy writing.

                Be so good as to tell naive me? what the “Bozone layer” is, as you seem very familiar with it? Also be good enough to tell me about that “local atmosphere that surrounds stupid people,” you obviously can see what the average intelligent person cannot and more importantly you must hang around a lot of stupid people to “know, that local atmosphere” – or is it those little voices inside your skull, still!

                Finally, your quote “prevents intelligent thought from penetrating.” is 100% spot on! But since – and that’s obvious – you were born stupid and will die stupid, that sentence does not apply to you. Got that simple point right, simpleton.

                • Bohdan,

                  The only substance of your response are insults and put-downs.

                  Are you younger than eighteen years old?

                  And you are able to answer my question that I posed above yet?

                  • dima it is a well known fact that the truth hurts especially so when it is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me god! I only speak the truth, Almighty God’s truth and not the official soviet commie fascist propaganda so beloved by the likes of you, Dimitry, FSB, and VoR.

                    To put it in plain English, I detest soviet, commie, fascist lying scoundrels; who live a life of luxury at the expense of the poverty stricken and enslaved citizens of the country that was and is soviet ruSSia.

                    If I am “younger than eighteen years old? ” then you must be 6 months old and have recently been dropped on your head. Which explains your erratic nonsense comments. And “YES” I have answered the question that you posted above “AND” I know that you are not happy with the reply, but I’m not going to lie like you to appease your small mind!

                • Francis Smyth-Beresford

                  That’s funny, Bohdan. You’re quite a comedian. Were you in your study when you sweated out that gem, perhaps wearing your smoking jacket? You know, where you like to guffaw while reading internet jokes from your millions of friends? I can just imagine.

                  As to being born stupid and dying stupid, perhaps you’d like to match educations? I don’t think I’m in any serious danger from someone who thinks the route from Kiev to Moscow goes over the ocean, or that America is ruled by a parliamentary system.

                  • Wow FSB what a stupid comment of yours that “I don’t think I’m in any serious danger from someone who thinks the route from Kiev to Moscow goes over the ocean, ” seriously is it those voices inside that hallucinatory skull of yours at it again? tell me more! or are you lying still! But instead of your usual lying you piece of soviet commie fascist propaganda tell me when I was supposed to have said that. Better still supply all the details – otherwise you will remain the lying jerk that you are.

                    Besides dumbo, when I once referred to the house of representatives and congress in America as Parliament I was using the British, Australian and New Zealand etc. word for people elected to govern that nation by that country’s voters. So big deal that I did not use the American words – but the gist was there.
                    But I can understand your lack of reasoning power and your attempts at turning little mole hills into big Himalaya Mountains.

                    You are good at twisting the truth, to suit your side of the fantasy as truth has no resemblance to the facts of the case.

                    Furthermore I never compare myself to you as that would be a gross insult to me. PERIOD!!!

                    • How sad that you don’t know the difference between what “funny, comedian” and plain truth is. Look these three words up in the Oxford dictionary as it may help, but I won’t hold my breath, seeing as it’s you.

                      Besides I do not smoke! so FSB put that in your marijuana pipe and smoke it! you’ll feel so much better, especially in writing your LR comments.

                      Also whether I laugh or not is my private business, and no damn business of yours, as thank God I am – luckily – not in your beloved Putin’s ruSSia where you could summons or drag me to the Lubianka and have your evil way to turn me into a piece of history.

                    • Francis Smyth-Beresford

                      You’re quite right, Bohdan – it was not you who posted the laughable vignette about the plane’s wings “flapping like a bird” as it flew over the water between Moscow and Kiev. That was LES, AKA Georg/AKA Elmer/AKA VoroBey. I profoundly apologize for any embarrassment you may have suffered as a result of the incorrect identity. My thanks to the neoconservative macaque of mendacity, Voice of Reason, for the correction.

                      However, you did identify the U.S.A as being governed by a parliamentary system, and only a tool would make a mistake like that. Australia is governed by a parliamentary system; is there a president of Australia? Of course not – the titular head of Australia is the Prime Minister. Is there a president of the United Kingdom? No? See a pattern developing here? Let’s not even get into all the other red banners of stupidity regarding Obama’s alleged application to join the American parliament, it would be too painful for repetition.

                      Oh, and “ad nauseum” is spelt with a “u”.

                      “I detest soviet, commie, fascist lying scoundrels; who live a life of luxury at the expense of the poverty stricken and enslaved citizens of the country that was and is soviet ruSSia.”

                      Brave and selfless words, Bohdan. What makes you think VOR is living a life of luxury? Do you have a study, VOR? Nope, I haven’t either. Looks like you’re the one living a life of luxury, Bohdan. I hope you’ve the good grace to feel ashamed of your slothful lifestyle.

                  • Voice of Reason

                    FSB,

                    Actually, the person who claimed to have flown over the ocean to Moscow on Aerosvit is LES aka Georg, who is from New Jersey. It seems that Bohdan is from Australia. So, they are not the same person.

                    The way to keep them apart is to remember that the liar is LES, and the bigger retard is Bohdan. I am not even sure if Bohdan lies at all.

                    • Voice of (unbelievably stupid) Reason,

                      I had a good “guffaw” – to use your lying buddy FSB’s terminology – when I read your comment about LES and me that “The way to keep them apart is…”, I would have thought that since LES “is from New Jersey” and “It seems that Bohdan is from Australia ” That we already are “apart” by quite some distance, mileage wise. Right or wrong? And you are going to “keep them apart” LOL.

                      You are pathetically “funny” – again using your lying buddy FSB’s terminology. What next?

                      I could not help but notice, as most probably did all the rest of LR’s blog readers/users, your comment to FSB that “Actually, the person who claimed to have flown over the ocean to Moscow on Aerosvit is LES” proving beyond a reasonable doubt and conclusively that FSB is a compulsive lying piece of soviet commie fascist dirt!

                      After all if LES flew from the USA to Kiev and then Moscow. Than how did he get over the Atlantic ocean that amongst other things separates USA from the rest of Europe? I’ll wager that he certainly didn’t swim. And I’ll further wager that this is what he actually meant, before you soviet, commie, fascist ruSSian jerks jumped on a paragraph/sentence written out of context and twisted it into a federal case, and thereby attempted to turn a mole hill into a mountain.

                      The second and third lines of your last paragraph, I will treat with the utter contempt that they so richly deserve.

                      Bye, bye, ta, ta.

                    • LES’ posts are smaller.

                      Most of them are meaningful – lies, but still meaningful.

                      BOHDAN posts are beyond human comprehension. Ever.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Bohdan,

                      When I said “keep apart” I didn’t mean to physically prevent the two of you from being in the same room.

                      I meant to “tell apart”, to keep a mental image that allows to tell which of you is which.

                      With Georg sometimes using LES and several other names as his other nicks, people here get confused as to which Galician emigrant is hiding behind which nick. I was trying to provide guidance as to how to tell you apart from Georg and his numerous sockpuppets.

                • Francis Smyth-Beresford

                  Just a thought, Bohdan, but have you considered moving beyond the “talking about yourself again?” defense when you have nothing better to offer? Really, if you read a little (beyond yuk-yuk jokes sent you by your millions of friends), there is a rich and diverse field of comedy out there where you could actually learn to be funny! Imagine how great it’d be to start out the first post on a new editorial with a witty rejoinder, rather than your usual adulatory buttlicking to LR on what a great blog this is, you just can’t get over it. Ever wonder why she never replies? It’s because posterior-kissing bores her; she rarely jumps into the mix unless she scents battle. But you’d have a much better chance if you could be witty. There’s a world of difference between funny and clownlike.

                  Have you ever heard the expression, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question”? Well, that’s incorrect. A stupid question is one that you ask without trying to answer it for yourself first. If you google “bozone”, you’ll find I didn’t make it up. Your evident laziness and clumsy comedy are illustrative of how accurately it describes you.

            • Talking about yourself again dima! Bad, bad and naughty boy!

              If you have trouble reading my English, then ‘boy O boy’ do “you suffer from poor reading comprehension?” in which case no one can help you. Face the unpleasant music chum – you are a lost cause!

      • RV, notwithstanding clowns that are jumping around us, I would also like to hear the answer to Dima’s question.

  6. It is clear now that the pipe lines North Stream and others will not be built. The financing is not available.

    Shale gas has had a huge effect. LNG prices have crashed to a point that the Qatar representative said, “It is just not fair”.

    Live by commodities — Die by commodities.

    • I realize much of the west is rubber-legged following multiple orgasms
      over shale oil, and while it presents some exciting possibilities, it
      isn’t without some limiting realities. One, the extraction technology is
      extremely expensive and complex, and currently unavailable in Europe.
      Two, the extraction by-product is virulently toxic. The arguments in
      favour suggest the amount of by-product is proportionately very small,
      but it is as toxic as dioxin. It wouldn’t take much of a release into
      the water table to poison the drinking water for thousands. Medvedev
      wasn’t necessarily crying crocodile tears over the potential for
      pollution, although politics was probably part of it.

      http://www.commodities-now.com/news/power-and-energy/2303-shale-gas-may-
      boost-east-european-energy-security.html

      “Large-scale oil shale development would carry major environmental costs
      that must be considered in any assessment of the resource value. Direct
      environmental damage would include ecosystem displacement, groundwater
      contamination, and air pollution, and it is likely that even the global
      climate would be affected due to increasedgreenhouse gas emissions.
      Furthermore, the minimal energy efficiency of shale oil
      extraction means that these costs will more than likely outweigh the
      limited resource benefits. In terms of raw energy content, oil shale is
      vastly inferior to coal, firewood, and even manure. Pound for pound, oil
      shale contains around one-sixth the energy content of coal and only
      one-fourth that of recycled phone books (Udall and Andrews, 2004). Of
      this already nominal energy content only a portion is recovered in net
      because of the tremendous amount of energy required for retorting.”

      Canada knows this – although the article points out oil shale and tar
      sands involve somewhat different processes and entire life-cycle product
      differences, they share a common factor: both are inefficient. Tar sand
      extraction uses about 5 barrels of water per barrel of oil recovered,
      and return of contaminated water has killed both the Athabasca and Peace
      rivers in Alberta. Oil shale extraction expends more energy than the
      return realized, called EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested). I was
      able to find various figures, but the highest trend in favour of oil
      shale was 2.5 bbl per ton of shale (slightly higher than the figures of
      60 gal/ton reflected in the reference study). There have been several
      oil shale extraction plants built already in the U.S., but thus far most
      have had to close because they were operationally untenable, due to
      cost.

      Finally, Russia also has large known reserves of oil shale, and has a
      monopoly on the pipeline network that would be needed to transport it.
      That advantage could be offset; anything is possible if you’re willing
      to spend enough money. But that would achieve the opposite effect of the
      imagined unlimited quantities of fuel that is almost free. That’d be
      nice, but it’s not reality.

      • “unlimited quantities of fuel that is almost free. That’d be nice, but it’s not reality”

        There are going to be many possibilities, and as much problems caused by this.

    • Francis Smyth-Beresford

      Here’s the link from which the quotes above were taken;

      http://srb.stanford.edu/nur/GP200A%20Papers/elliot_grunewald_paper.pdf

      Before you perhaps fire back with a list of references suggesting oil extraction from shale is easy as popping down to Sainsbury’s for a bunch of onions, a note of caution. Was the reference prepared by a scientific body, with an extensive bibliography accounting for all its information, as this one is – or is it an infomercial prepared by an energy company, devoid of references and full of happy talk?

      Doubtless shale oil is an exciting prospect worthy of further study. A scientific investigation done by environmentalists is likely to err on the side of caution, while one done by an energy company will be damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. In any case, hoarse exultant screaming and fist-pumping is premature. It would also be wise to recall that commodities cover more than oil. People forget Russia produces nearly as much gold as does the U.S. and is gaining rapidly while U.S. production is in decline, and has the world’s largest unexploited timber reserves.

  7. FSB:

    All the talk about shale oils limitations is a lot of B.S. This comes from the UK’s Ofgem who are determined to screw over British users. Ofgem is on the take and splitting the profits with the Russians. This will not work for long. Even the dumb British users will catch on soon.

    Qatar’s loaded tankers are sailing the oceans with no place to sell LNG at extremely low spot prices.

  8. Shale gas development is accelerating in China

    http://www.glgroup.com/News/Shale-gas-development-is-accelerating-in-China-48357.html

    Dozens of companies, including world majors, have begun exploring or even drilling in search of shale gas, amid talk of huge reserves in the US, Poland and many other countries.

    Russian gas giant Gazprom’s deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev has reacted by branding shale gas projects as “dangerous”, provoking suspicions that Russia could be unnerved by the latest developments in the
    world gas market.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8609131.stm

  9. Over the past decade, a wave of drilling around the world has uncovered giant supplies of natural gas in shale rock. By some estimates, there’s 1,000 trillion cubic feet recoverable in North America alone—enough to supply the nation’s natural-gas needs for the next 45 years. Europe may have nearly 200 trillion cubic feet of its own.

    We’ve always known the potential of shale; we just didn’t have the technology to get to it at a low enough cost. Now new techniques have driven down the price tag—and set the stage for shale gas to become what will be the game-changing resource of the decade.

    I have been studying the energy markets for 30 years, and I am convinced that shale gas will revolutionize the industry—and change the world—in the coming decades. It will prevent the rise of any new cartels. It will alter
    geopolitics. And it will slow the transition to renewable energy.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303491304575187880596301668.html

    • Francis Smyth-Beresford

      “As oil flirts with prices that call to mind the shocks of the 1970s, the usual Cassandras have been warning of dwindling oil supplies and sky-high prices. But the danger is precisely the opposite. The next two decades will witness a prolonged surplus of oil, which will tamp prices down. This world of cheap oil will have serious political reverberations. Without rising oil revenues, such key states as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, and Colombia will face worsening crises at home. The same is true in spades for Central Asia, where Washington’s current wrongheaded policies could drag it into crises that make the Balkans look like a pregame warm-up. The world should worry less about a scarcity of oil than about a glut.”
      Amy Myers Jaffe wrote that in 2000, in Foreign Policy magazine. That’s after she tired of being the senior economist for Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, and kicked it for a more lucrative career of talking up energy and politics on such venues as The Glenn Beck Show and Fox News.
      Well, here’s your chance to be an historian, Boris. You were here as well as the rest of us – is that what happened in the decade that followed 2000 – a prolonged surplus of oil, with low prices? Shake your head “no”. In fact, oil prices peaked at an all-time record of $147.30 in July 2008. That should establish Amy Myers Jaffe as about as likely to be a reliable forecaster of energy trends as Elvis is likely to do a comeback tour. Ms. Jaffe speaks optimistically of what COULD happen with shale oil, without really knowing anything about it beyond what kind of clout it would give the United States to have a lot of it.
      But let’s assume for a moment she was right, and 2000-2010 saw a long trend of decreasing oil prices and an increasing surplus (in fact, alarm about the state of strategic reserves was one of the driving factors behind the surging price). Pretend that happened. Ms. Jaffe argues passionately that this is exactly what the world doesn’t want to see.
      Why, then, would she be credible when she argues that shale oil is going to be the biggest thing in cheap energy to come along since we were burning sticks to keep warm?

      • Voice of Reason

        Francis, you baboon!

        Don’t you remember how in the past 5 or 6 decades, all these new wonder technologies like nuclear power, solar power, wind power, bio-diesel fuel, cold fusion and hybrid cars came along, and the “experts” predicted that this will make Russia and Saudi Arabia dirt-poor? Well, shale gas is the latest such panacea, and it will be every bit as effective as all the previous panaceas!

  10. And to think that just a short time ago Putin was openly bragging about a new natural gas Opec.

    It was a stupid thing for a Russian leader to say in any case because immediately UC customers would be thinking of alternatives. It shows that Putin is too stupid to be a national leader.

    No wonder Russia is sinking into failure with no obvious way out. Putin has burned his bridges.

    There is a reason why diplomats typically use gentle language.

  11. Voice of Reason

    Gentleman,

    Those of you who think that energy (oil and gas) prices are about to drop down dramatically, there is an easy way for you to make $millions and even $billions in profits: sell oil futures two to three years out, or better still — buy out-of-the-money put options. Since the professionals don’t expect any drop in oil/gas prices, the futures prices are in line with the current prices, so you can just make $billions and $billions betting against the stupid professional oil traders.

    Put your money where you mouth is. And good luck! BTW, you will owe a 0.1% commission to me on your future mega-profits for my brilliant advice here.

  12. Oil price has held steady as consumption rises in summer because people drive more. Natural gas prices have been crushed by the huge amounts of gas that have flooded the market. Natural gas investors have been crushed also.

    Where price goes from here is as unpredictable as in any other commodity. Do not trade commodities unless you have an inborn instinct for that game.

    • Voice of Reason

      Short-term commodity price movements are indeed unpredictable and subject to seasonality.

      However, if you believe that the shale gas is inexpensive to extract and will make the energy prices drop – then buy multi-year put options.

      If you don’t buy them – then you admit that you don’t believe that the energy prices will drop.

  13. Natural gas prices have already dropped.

    • Voice of Reason

      You are absolutely right, Ron: oil and gas prices are not tied to each other, and the long-term prices of gas can drop, while long-term prices of oil will rise.

      Economists stupidly say that this cannot be the case, because if this happened, the consumers would switch form oil to gas, driving the gas prices up and oil prices down.

      What these economists forget is that oil is not the same as gas. Gas is odorless and doesn’t pollute the environment. Oil is a major polluter. Thus, if you are an oil consumer and are used to filthy air, you will never want to switch to gas, because you won’t be able to get that foul smell anymore.

      That’s why Europeans should stop buying Russian gas and buy Iranian/Saudi Arabia oil instead. That way, they will both destroy their environment AND help the great democratic pro-western countries of Saudi Arabia and Iran prosper.

      You also need to remember that Bin Laden’s funding comes primarily from oil, and by buying more oil, the Europeans will help this great humanitarian achieve his goals.

    • Goys, do you speak about spot trade, or long term contracts? B/c long terms are very well connected with the price of oil. It’s just they follow price of oil which was actual half a year ago – for most contracts.

      At least, if we look at the contracts for Russian gas for European market.

  14. Voice of Reason

    Ron,

    You will be happy to hear the great news that very soon, just as I predicted, Europe will not have to depend on Russian gas at all:

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE64C0IE20100513

    UPDATE 1-Gazprom says closer to gas price deal with China

    Thu May 13, 2010 10:42am BST

    * Possible supply of 70 billion cubic metres of gas to China

    * China could become Russia’s biggest gas importer

    MOSCOW, May 13 (Reuters) – Russian energy company Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said on Thursday it got closer to an agreement on gas prices for China, which may pave the way for the country to become Russia’s largest gas importer.

    Last October, Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) reached a preliminary agreement on Russian gas supplies.

    The preliminary deal between the companies, struck last year, could open the way for Russia, the world’s biggest natural gas producer, supplying 70 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year to China from Siberia and the Russian Far East, including Sakhalin.

    The agreement could make China the biggest buyer of Russia’s natural gas, overtaking Germany, which imported around 30 bcm last year.

  15. Voice of Reason

    There is more bad news for Russia and Saudi Arabia: a new source of fuel that will make oil and gas obsolete:

    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2009/01/04/coffee-beans-as-the-next-great-auto-fuel/

    Coffee Beans As The Next Great Auto Fuel?

    Not only will the fuel be cheap, but the exhaust will also produce the wonderful aroma of coffee.

    Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno, researching the prospect of extracting oil from used coffee grounds report that the process is not that difficult. The cheap and environmentally friendly biofuel is abundant enough to potentially manufacture several hundred million gallons a year to power cars and trucks.

    The idea was formed by accident says the chief researcher. “I had left my coffee out one night, and the next morning, I noticed that there was a kind of oil around the edge of the cup,” Mano Misra, a professor of engineering said. “Every cup of coffee has it. I decided to do some tests on the oil.”

    The analysis proved that the grounds contained roughly 10 to 15 percent oil by weight. The researchers then extracted the oil with standard chemistry techniques and converted it to biodiesel.

    For the study, the team collected leftover grounds of espressos, cappuccinos and other coffee preparations from the Starbucks coffee chain.

    Being that the process is not particularly energy intensive, the researchers estimated that biodiesel could be produced for about a dollar a gallon.

    According to the Department of Agriculture, the world’s coffee production is more than 7.2 million tons per year.

    The study was first reported toward the end of last year in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    The resulting coffee-based fuel –which smells like java– is more stable than traditional biodiesel due to coffee’s high antioxidant content, according to the researchers.
    —————-

    Russia kaput!

    • “I noticed that there was a kind of oil around the edge of the cup”

      So romantic a scientist. This person should write more.

  16. For my fellow countrymen here:

    Have you seen Brat 2? Did you enjoy it? Did you dislike it?

    Since it was released in 2000, how relevant is its message today in 2010?

    • Voice of Reason

      Больше всего мне нравится песня из <>: “Брат два, не стреляйте друг в друга!”

      Еще нравится гимн китайских десантников: “Лица желтые над городом кружатся…”

    • Дима, ну мы ж не филиал “Наших” на выпасе… “Брат” был очень замечательным фильмом. “Брат-2” был коммерческим проектом. В нем было больше от Задорнова, чем от первого “Брата”.

      И сам вспомни, как там показаны американцы? Как нормальные люди. Что те пограничники, которые “вот уроды”, что тот дальнобойщик.

      И сравни это с изображением русских – с “эхом войны”, пулеметами, “конференцией по защите компьютерных программ” и т.п.

      Я, конечно, enjoy it, но это совсем другой enjoy, по сравнению с первым “Братом”.

  17. Voice of Reason

    Correction:

    Больше всего мне нравится песня из “Брат 2”: Брат два, не стреляйте друг в друга!

  18. Voice of Reason

    Great news keep piling more and more. Here is one more American scientific discovery that will make gas cheap and Russia poor:

    Cold fusion
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Cold fusion refers to nuclear fusion of atoms at conditions close to room temperature, in contrast to the conditions of well-understood fusion reactions such as those inside stars and high energy experiments. Interest in the field was dramatically increased on March 23, 1989 when Martin Fleischmann, then one of the world’s leading electro-chemists,[1] and Stanley Pons reported that they had produced fusion in a tabletop experiment involving electrolysis of heavy water on a palladium (Pd) electrode.[2] They reported anomalous heat production (“excess heat”) of a magnitude they asserted would defy explanation except in terms of nuclear processes. They further reported measuring small amounts of nuclear reaction byproducts, including neutrons and tritium.[3] These reports raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy.[4]
    —————–

    This is even stronger than coffee and shale gas. Russia kaput!

    • “One more American” scientific discovery, meaning what? If your were not so obviously a Russian, you would know that it was (and always is) not an “American” discovery (good or bad) but that of two individual scientists, Mr. Fleischmann and Mr. Pons. They are not state slaves and speak for themselves, not for America.

  19. Russian “news” is mostly propaganda attempting to cover up Putin’s dumb mistakes. Selling gas to China is an example of cheap propaganda.

    In order for a country to make a decent living valuable things must me produced and sold to people in other countries. Selling oil will not do it. Selling bananas will not do it. You have to add value via hard work and smarts.

    Toyota and Honda, for instance, make cars that people want to buy at almost any price. This is why Japan does well.

    Putin is a short, vile and stupid and yet he is popular with the Russian people???? The Russian people are the problem. They have always been the problem even under the Czars.

    • “Russian “news” is mostly propaganda attempting to cover up Putin’s dumb mistakes.”

      TV or internet or newspapers or radio? TV is.

      “Selling gas to China is an example of cheap propaganda.”

      I disagree that he contract is used as a message. Please give links.

      “In order for a country to make a decent living valuable things must me produced and sold to people in other countries. Selling oil will not do it. Selling bananas will not do it.”

      100% agree.

      “You have to add value via hard work and smarts.”

      100% agree, but that is not the problem for Russians.

      “Toyota and Honda, for instance, make cars that people want to buy at almost any price.”

      Try and sell them for “any” price:)

      “Putin is a short, vile and stupid”

      Disagree with the latter too.

      “and yet he is popular with the Russian people????”

      Most of them would also disagree with the latter two.

      “The Russian people are the problem. They have always been the problem even under the Czars.”

      The world is in the eye of the beholder

  20. Regarding the divergence of oil and gas prices. Yes this is only short term. GTO (gas to oil) has already begun. The Saudi’s are already talking about some welfare payments.

    What happened was that horizontal drilling technology burst on the scene. Gas bearing rock is 4,000 feet thick and there are thousands of square miles of the stuff. The market was suddenly flooded with unlimited quantities of gas that was cheap to produce.

    The Europeans are having a nice time because they have not forgotten the time that smart ass Putin shut off the pipeline in mid winter.

    At this time only the British are dumb enough to still pay high prices for gas.

    The environmentalists are trying to think up something negative, but who would believe anything they have to say??? They have been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar one time too many.

    • Francis Smyth-Beresford

      You seem very passionate about any criticism of shale gas being b.s., Ron – I like passion in an energy expert. The trouble is, you’re just a bit light on things like “references” and “substantiation”. At least, those that are not written by oil-industry shills like Amy Jaffe.

      Horizontal drilling “bursting on the scene” is not necessarily the unraveling of the Gordian knot you seem to think it is, because “fracking” involves drilling hundreds of holes very close to one another. That’s considerably more difficult horizontally. As to contamination, it’s a real concern because it’s already happened.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=shale-gas-and-hydraulic-fracturing

  21. As a native English speaker I believe I understand English as well as, or perhaps even better than, you do.

    However, I don’t understand those Chomsky’s “standards.” They are vague. Your fellow Russian Dimitry told me that I have to read them as meaning: who started more wars in the last 20 years, Russia or America. I answered the best I knew how.

    • Well, nobody taught me how to speak English, I was just born here. Not like yourself, with all that fabulous schooling. So, I am sure you would understand why you speak English better.

      However, I am done playing puzzles. If you want me to respond to something, state your question in a straightforward way. Otherwise, forget it

  22. Здравствуй, дорогой:)

    I have no idea about these baptists, and never heard of a city of Seattle.

    О чем вопрос-то был для рв, откройся? А то я, видимо, чего-то не понимаю.

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