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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill


If It's Not Clear What Vladimir Putin Is Up To Yet, This Should Help

Russia doubles gas prices on the former Soviet Republic of Georgia (Stalin's home):

Fears that Russia is using energy supplies as a political weapon increased last night after Moscow forced Georgia to accept a doubling of gas prices.

The deal came within hours of a threat by Gazprom, Russia's statecontrolled energy giant, to cut off supplies to the former Soviet republic from January 1.

Georgia had called the price increase 'unacceptable' and 'politically motivated'.

Relations between the Kremlin and Georgia's pro-West leadership were already at their worst for a decade after a spy row in September.

The Georgia 'agreement' is another example of what alarmed EU officials see as the Kremlin's heavy-handed tactics in dealing with energy clients.

It came the day after Gazprom took control of a massive oil and gas project from Royal Dutch Shell, which had suffered a long campaign of bureaucratic harassment.

Gazprom has 25 per cent of the EU gas market and is aiming for 33 per cent by 2010. The company is also investing in distribution as well as supply.

In the UK, it bought Pennine Natural Gas, a small marketing company, this summer, and there is speculation that it wants to take over Centrica, the owner of British Gas.

While Gazprom insists its motives are commercial, critics say it often acts as a political instrument for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

When it comes to a choice between embracing the mad mullahs of oil-rich Iran or his good buddy Dubya, which do you think Putin will choose?

Keep in mind that Putin has diverted a huge proportion of Russian energy revenues to his own pocket before you answer.


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