Shale Gas is No Threat to Russia’s Energy Dominance with Europe
From The Voice of Russia
By Mark Sleboda
America’s ceaseless interference into European-Russian relations should be taken for granted. It is not likely to ever stop. The US is locked into a paranoid post-Cold War conception of seeking “absolute security” (necessitating every other state’s vulnerability) amidst faltering Hegemony. Everything is a security threat for it, including a strong prosperous Russia and good European-Russian relations which is a challenge to the US’s hub and spoke conception of international relations, where every country’s relations with other countries must be moderated through Washington.
Russia should just ignore America’s machinations into European-Russian relations; their inevitability is equalled only by their increasing irrelevance. What Russia must seriously contemplate and reassess is its long-term economic and national security in its trouble-prone relations with Europe. Although the US adds fuel to the fire, the scaremongering towards Russia and Gazprom has plenty of homegrown European sources, especially the UK, Poland, and the Baltic States. The energy relationship is a two way street. Russia and Europe are presently interdependent and mutually dependent on each other and will be for the foreseeable future. As energy consumers and importers, European states seek to guarantee a constant supply of energy at the lowest price possible. As energy suppliers and exporters, Russia seeks to guarantee a high constant demand at the highest price possible.
The social benefits Gazprom provides to Russian citizens are often overlooked. With Gazprom’s profits as a state-owned strategic company paying such a large portion of the Russian budget in relation to GDP, Russia is able to afford such low personal income taxes and domestic energy utilities, well below global market prices. That all Russians benefit to some degree from the energy bounty that comes out of Russian soil seems only natural to us, although the reverse is actually true in other parts of the world such as the US where taxpayers actually subsidize big energy company profits.
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