Energy Security in the Visegrad States and in the Caspian Region. A compared perspective (Report from the two Open Lectures of Mirees organized by Sonia Lucarelli)

On 12th of April 2015 and on the 28th of May 2015, I attended two open lectures organized by MIREES in Forli, and both were about Energy Security, concerning the Visegrad (with Matteo Verda) and the Caspian Region (with A. Bininashivili, A. Molis and M. Valigi). Some points were stretched in both lectures while others not, and also there was a common “thought” of the speakers.
The main aspect was the diversification of energy for the EU, since Russia had the monopoly as gas and oil exporter and still today has an important role even if countries like Norway and Persian Gulf Monarchies have increased their closeness with Europe. Because of the “quite” monopoly Russia had, mainly on gas market, state companies like Gazprom succeeding in selling with high prices resources to Europe injecting a lot of money in the federal budget. We have to say that this “economic success” was related to a political closeness and participation between Europe and Russia that lasted almost a decade from Putin’s first presidency. The 2003 Iraq war, the 2004 EU enlargement to the Baltics, the various enlargement of NATO in the former “communist block” and in the Baltics, the colored revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan and finally the conflict in Ossetia in 2008, became point of disappointment and disagreeing between Europe and Russia, but never “crossed” the line and until the end of 2010, the situation was quite “peaceful”. From the beginning of the so-called Arab (fake) Springs, two countries “ally” of Russia since the time of the Soviet Union like Libya and Syria has been attacked by international terrorism, founded from the Gulf Monarchies (mainly wahabites) (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates), supported by the Muslim brotherhood (a political Islamic salafi movement), the neo-ottoman policies of the president of Turkey Erdogan, the Sionist regime of the state of Israel, the United States with their geopolitics of Chaos, obviously followed by their dogs the Europeans. While Libya suffered a neo-colonial intervention made by France and UK, supported just as non-fly zone from the UN. Following the facts of Libya, and the infamous end of the Colonel Gaddafi, Russia together with China decided to stand for Syria and for is legitimate president Bashar Al-Assad. Assad was and is supported by Hezbollah, Islamic Republic of Iran and obviously Russia and China that didn’t want another Libya even if the outcomes were obvious from the beginning. This was the first real point of break between Russia and Europe, since majority of EU members are also NATO members and so their foreign policy was mainly oriented at the so-called West. In the moment in which, Russia, stopped the dominion of the West, started a new “cold” war. Russia became this time the target, provocations were made from a military point and from a cultural and political one. About the Cultural and Political, I’m talking about: the Pussy Riots, the LGBT community and Conchita Wurst, Greenpeace actions, Amnesty defamatory campaign against Vladimir Putin, martyrization (in the West) of figure like A. Politkovskaja and B. Nemtsov, support to non-existing parties like Jabloko, or to political and criminal figures like Prokhorov Navalny and Khodorkovski and in general to all the (mainly Pro-Westeners) Oligarchs, the presence of many ONG without a clear and reliable reason to be and finally the attack on
Russian elections both for the Duma in December 2011, and also for the Presidential Elections of 2012, considering false the results and accusing V. Putin and the Party who supports him “United Russia” of changing the results (without considering the fact that liberals have a small support while “after” Putin both the Communist Party and the “nationalist” Liberal-Democratic party are really supported). All that has been embarrassing for Europe, because was throwing away a strategic partnership with an important country, damaging totally its image towards Russia and finally following a strange logic, based on some individual rights (called human rights) and to the criteria of democratization of country (considering Europe) showing how the West was not able to understand the differences between itself and other actors of the international arena.
Military provocations instead were the ones made against Syria, threatening an intervention of NATO even without UN approval, and despite the Russian military presence in Tartous. Since Russia played well its cards in this situation, the West was not able to overthrown Assad, without losing the face since there were no possible reason to declare war to a sovereign country like Syria. Not succeeding in that US decided to open a “second front” in Ukraine, a territory near Russia, that for many years was part of Russia itself, dividing the country in a half, turning the citizens against each other’s. The West firstly supported the violent rebels, and discredited the legitimate president Janukovich, that on the contrary didn’t really use the force, letting the “Westerners” overthrowing him, and fleeing in Russia. Of course, half of the country voted Janukovich, half of the country considered itself part of the bigger “Russian World” and did not want NATO, America, and generally the West inside their houses. At this point, the referendum of Crimea was non legitimate, while were legitimate Ukrainian elections (from which the Communist Party, for example, was excluded), as it was not possible according to the West that in Donbass they didn’t recognize the new Kiev government as their own. So, at this point, the West decided that who rose against the new government: or was paid by Putin, or was part of Russian Army, or was a reckless terrorist. Despite the fact that Ukrainian Army together with some military groups like “Pravyj Sector” and “Svoboda” started to wage war against all that were not recognizing the new government, (burning them alive in Odessa, bombing the Donbass and killing the so-called political opposers) the West didn’t recognize the actions of Kiev as threatening for the population of Ukraine, and when Crimea with all its reasons, decided to secede and rejoin Russia, the West started a to put economic sanctions against Russia without a clear reason. So, the West advocated that there was the need to support Ukrainian territorial integrity (In Jugoslavia, in Sudan, in China, in the Soviet Union and Russia after, in Iraq and etc.. the West was supporting separatists). Russia was excluded from G8, and in the NATO Wales meeting in 2014, Russia was considered a threat, decided for military exercises on Russian Borders, and giving military support to the NATO members (like Poland, Romania and the Baltics) or to NATO supporters (like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia) near the Russian borders. I do not want now, to analyze American behavior towards Russia, since we’re speaking mainly about Europe and Russia, but as I said, since majority of EU members are also NATO members, and their position in the international arena is on the wrong side (with America), their relations with other states is damaged for their alliance with the US. Matteo Verda said, with the exception of Poland that thanks to its economy succeeded in differentiating energy resources the other Visegrad are totally dependent from Russia, and I would
add, it should be a good reason for having good relations with Russia not only bilaterally but also at an European level. Arunas Molis, described Russia as a “non-reliable partner” for Europe, I would have said the contrary, Europe is not anymore a reliable partner for Europe, because prefers to follow the US totally even against its own interest. And then after all I said about cultural, political and military provocations against Russia, why should Russia be interested in a partnership with Europe, which elites are “enslaved” to Washington and to the international finance. Albert Bininashvili, instead considered the Pro-Russian lobbies inside Europe an element that cannot really guarantees energy security, because (like ENI) they prefer to have a good relationship with Moscow and to “support the Kremlin”. So, it’s the American way (according to A. Bininashvili) to follow, and I’ve found quite ridiculous, it’s comment regarding the Italian “Pro-Russian” behavior during the Ossetian conflict in 2008, saying that Italy loosed its face; in my opinion Italy loosed its face (with other European countries) in 1995 and 1999 when they’ve decided to bomb Jugoslavia, in 2001 in Afghanistan, in 2003 in Iraq, in the Neo-Colonial Libyan intervention in 2011, (where Italy helped British and French Multinationals to took the resources while with Gaddafi and the Libyan state oil and gas, there was a special deal with a discount, going against the Italian interests and the Italy-Libya treaty of friendship and cooperation signed an year before), and finally with the Syrian and Ukrainian crisis. All the three speakers in both Open Lectures finally found as a solution the connection of Europe to Baku resources (Oil and Gas) as an alternative to Russia that together with other partners. I will analyze them all.
It is beautiful to dream about Baku’s natural resources that fulfill the same amount of energy that Russia used to, I personally do not believe, that Azerbaijan has this capacity, but despite that, let’s suggest that Azerbaijan is able to substitute Russia, but the infrastructures from Baku to Europe? And to Europe where? Can we imagine Finland (100% energetic dependent from Russia) that is supplied from Baku? With a little bit of geography we understand that this utopia is not realizable, and that Baku resources could supply Southern Europe but not the whole Europe. And then, how can we think to Azerbaijan as more reliable than Russia, while the only link between Azerbaijan and Europe are the money that Alyev receives from oil and gas.
Gulf Monarchies
I want to raise an issue, how are/were Saddam Husseir, Moammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad dictators and terrible regimes, while nothing it is said for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and United Emirates? Are the economic interests in this case more important than the so-called Western Values. Also with China, Russia and Iran there are economic interest, but without any reasonable reason, Europe acts following the US.
Islamic State
The Islamic state is financially supported by someone, and the majority of its revenues are from the oil sold at the black market, I’m sure that who buys that oil is not Russia, neither Syria or Iran
neither China. Europe and US could be the most probably buyers, closing their eyes when their doing it, but without refusing low price oil despite the fact that they should stop in any way possible the Islamic State. Alternatively, it is not a real threat, because it depends from the West, and the simple fact that Israel doesn’t fear it, no Jihadist attack Israel (do not mistake Palestinians who want to free their lands with Islamic extremism) and Iran is the first problem for Tel Aviv, tells me that there is something that is not really clear.
The USA have become thanks to the “fracking” technology one of the biggest producers of natural gas, unfortunately it is seriously concerning from the environmental point view. Strangely Europe doesn’t put an embargo on it, as it doesn’t put an Embargo on Gulf Monarchies for “social and humanitarian” reasons. In addition no ONG is concerned from USA and their allies whatever they do, while against Russia and China there is always someone that is ready to point a finger against it.
Norway is the biggest European producer of Oil and Gas (and it’s not part of the EU, is it a case?), unfortunately it is not cheaper as Russia or Iran resources, but really costly, like US resources. Like the other solutions, no of this is cheap, and the (totally political) attempt to isolate Russia has a cost. Who is going to pay that? Are the scholars that made these lectures able to explain to the European citizens that for serving the US, in their attempts of isolation of Russia, they will pay with their money when the eating, the gasoline and the electricity will cost more?
To conclude this report, I’m sorry to notice how two events on Energy Security, presented the situation following the Western Pro-Usa point of view, and there was no scholar representing or at least trying to understand the role of Russia and its national interest as energy producer. A mistake of the organizer or a lack of reliability?