MOSCOW, Oct. 13 (UPI) — The building of the new Nord Stream gas pipeline means Russia is likely to play more pipeline politics with its former Soviet bloc neighbors, experts say.
The pipeline, which is to be built by Gazprom along the Baltic Sea seabed from Russia to Germany, will give Russia a direct supply line to the West that bypasses Eastern Europe — which unlike its other pipelines, allows it to pressure its Eastern European neighbors by manipulating their energy supplies without affecting its lucrative Western European customers, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser in the Carter administration, told the newspaper Russia’s ability to shut off one pipeline or the other “depending on whim” makes shutoffs to Eastern Europe more likely.
“The Central Europeans, the former coerced members of the Soviet bloc, are the more worried,” he said.
“Russia is one of the issues that divides the (European Union) the most,” added Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University in Washington. “Russia and Gazprom go and deal very well with individual countries.”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International