Putin to give up South Stream ...Not!

By Kostis Geropoulos

As Russian and EU leaders met on 9-10 June in Nizhny Novgorod for the twice-yearly summit, avoiding the risk for another winter gas dispute with Ukraine was likely to be discussed between Brussels and Moscow. It’s no secret that Kiev wants to re-negotiate the terms of the gas formula agreed by Ukraine’s previous administration. However, earlier last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will not change the gas agreement it has with Kiev. The problem for Ukraine is that the deal linked the gas price to the oil market and, based on the current oil price trend, it’s facing a possible price of $500 per 1,000 cubic meters in the fourth quarter, said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Moscow’s Uralsib bank. The first quarter average price was $264.30. READ MORE

Uncertain World: SCO’s 10 year search for balance

By Fyodor Lukyanov

Created for the purely practical purpose of settling border disputes between China and the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has evolved into a major regional and global political player since its founding 10 years ago. READ MORE

New era for Sino-Russian ties

By Wu Jiao & Qin Jize

China and Russia deepened their strategic relationship on Thursday by vowing to support each other on core security issues. READ MORE

SCO Fails to Turn Into an “Eastern NATO”

By Pavel Felgenhauer

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan was officially created on June 15, 2001. At the time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, while the secular dictators of the impoverished, weak and corrupt former Soviet Central Asian “Stan” states were panicking. A radical Islamist insurgency, supported by the Talibs and (or) Osama bin Laden then resident in Kabul, could engulf one or several “Stan” states, eventually destabilizing the entire region. The SCO was formed to promote security and economic cooperation to fight the terrorist threat and poverty in the “Stan” states and make them less susceptible to Islamist Salafi agitation. READ MORE

South Stream’s Credibility Problems Deepen After Brussels Promotional Event

By Vladimir Socor

Russian Energy Minister, Sergei Shmatko, and Gazprom’s top hierarchy, along with their West-European business allies, advertised the South Stream project at a promotional event on May 25 in Brussels (Interfax, Euractiv, May 25, 26). The European Commission had agreed to be represented at this event, at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s insistence, during the EU-Russia energy summit in February. The Russian side used the intervening months to prepare elaborate presentations of the project and deploy an unprecedented mass of lobbying power. It hoped through this all-out effort to demonstrate South Stream’s viability, neutralize legal objections to it within the European Union, and obtain EU financial backing for the South Stream project. Meanwhile, Putin and Shmatko had cast fresh doubts on this project by proposing a switch in the transportation mode, from pipeline to LNG, across the Black Sea. READ MORE

"Snub" just a snag in Russia-India ties

By Sudha Ramachandran

India's defense relations with Russia have hit a bit of rough weather with Moscow canceling two important bilateral military exercises in recent months. READ MORE

Ariel Cohen: Moscow is willing to use energy as foreign policy tool

Despite its vast resource base and its formal assurances of its reliability as a partner, Moscow has already proved that it is willing to hike up oil and gas prices to match the general trend of higher energy prices, engage in anti-free market practices, especially at home and in Europe, and use energy as a foreign policy tool, Ariel Cohen , a leading expert of the Heritage Foundation for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, said in his speech at U.S. Congress on June 2. READ MORE

Russia frets over Eurasian domino theory

By Yong Kwon

Post-Soviet Russia has been consistently perceived as anti-American. Despite several shifts in Moscow's foreign policy during the past two decades, the Kremlin's opposition to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in former Yugoslav republics, its war with Georgia and the recent protest against military action in Libya have all been attributed to Russia's designs to leverage its influence against the West. READ MORE

What Russia Fears in Asia

Despite its growing military and economic power, Russia doesn't see China as a threat. The potential chaos in Central Asia is another matter. READ MORE

Poland seeks independence from Russian imports through shale gas despite pollution concerns

Poland is planning a major investment in shale gas, a potentially huge source of energy — and environmentally dangerous chemicals — to break free of dependence on Russian imports and boost its economy. READ MORE