“Crimea, Oil, and Gas” – Yulia Latynina Weighs In

In a Novaya Gazeta article last week, Russian journalist/author/radio personality Yulia Latynina presented some ideas on how pressure can be applied to Putin via Russia’s very important economic sectors, oil and gas. Latynina is known for her generally anti-establishment views (and science fiction novels, which is where I first encountered her), so her stance in this article should come as no surprise. In case you are not in the mood to read Russian or Google Translate, here’s a brief summary:

Ukraine and Poland need to tap into their shale gas reserves. This can then be used to disrupt Russia’s dominance in the European energy markets. [JK note: Of course, this strategy would take considerable time to implement, and I strongly oppose fracking.] Or the US could lift its embargo on Iran, which could in turn flood the markets with oil and drive prices down. It could also start exporting gas to the same end. This strategy could potentally bankrupt Russia’s energy-income dependent economy, Putin’s popularity would plummet, and problem solved. [JK note: This is a quicker solution and could take US-Iran relations in a very interesting direction. It would be quite the turnaround from the US using Russia to communicate to Iran to the US using Iran to communicate to Russia.]

However, Latynina is also highly critical of the West, which she views as divided and weak. I will quote here, since her language made me laugh:

On the other hand, Western resolve atrophies before our eyes. In modern Western democracies, there are many influential bureaucratic institutions that protect the rights of shellfish in the Thames Valley, regulate the curvature of cucumbers, and weigh rolls. The existence of institutions capable of implementing strategic decisions, or at least of providing heads of state with adequate information to assist them in this process is something more problematic…

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