Energy security

The Search For Independence From Russian Monopoly

By Ruslan Timashenka

Lately, the relations between Minsk and Kiev have intensified evidently. It is considered that they are stimulated by the EU program “Eastern Partnership” launched on May 7th and in the end of the project of “Union state”, marked by a scandalous statement of Russian Vice Prime-Minister and the Minister of Finance Aleksey Kudrin about oncoming collapse of Belarusian economy made on May 28th in Minsk. The following harsh and negative reaction of Aleksander Lukashenko guided Minsk to search for new various schemes with other states. And primarily with such neighbors as Ukraine and Lithuania on bilateral and multilateral grounds.

Astana Drifts Away From EU-Favored Energy Projects, Nazarbayev

By Farkhad Sharip

Gas and oil supplies to energy-hungry Europe have always featured as the key topic in talks between Astana and EU officials, concerning Kazakhstan's OSCE chairmanship in 2010. Stifled by the precarious situation in the energy sector, the EU has often ignored the heavy-handedness of the Kazakh authorities in dealing with the opposition press, and has toned down its criticism on the non-compliance of Kazakhstan's laws with democratic standards. In appreciation of western backing for Kazakhstan's coveted chairmanship of the OSCE, Astana invariably showed interest in European energy projects.

The Nabucco Carrot and U.S.-Iran Engagement

By Joshua Kucera

For years, analysts have argued that the Nabucco natural gas pipeline -- a U.S.-backed effort to transport gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe via Turkey, thus bypassing Russia -- needed to accept gas from Iran if it was to be economically viable. But Iranian involvement in the project, which is intended to reduce European energy dependence on Russian gas exports, has been anathema for U.S. policymakers: Washington's efforts to thwart Iran's ambitions have so far overridden its desire to thwart Russia's.