Vladimir Socor

Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to date), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on the former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies, focusing on energy, regional security issues, Russian foreign affairs, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs. Mr. Socor is a frequent speaker at U.S. and European policy conferences and think-tank institutions; as well as a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program. He is also a frequent contributor to edited volumes. Mr. Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983-1994). He is a Romanian-born citizen of the United States based in Munich, Germany.

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    Articles by Vladimir Socor

    Russia’s Invasion Manifesto to Ukraine

    Traditionally, imperial powers sending their armies into foreign countries for purposes of conquest issued explanatory manifestoes to the invaded peoples and to their own. The Kremlin issued the equivalent of

    Kremlin Announces War Aims Against Ukraine

    At 6 AM Moscow time, on February 24, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced in a televised address the start of a “special military operation” by Russian forces against Ukraine. At

    Ukraine in Play After Biden-Putin Discussion

    Presidents Joseph Biden of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia have agreed, in their December 7 video-dialogue (see EDM, December 8), to create working groups that would address

    Ukraine Looms Large in Biden-Putin Dialogue

    Presidents Joseph Biden of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia held a one-on-one video-conference, on December 7—their fifth direct dialogue (three by telephone, one in person, one by

    Zelenskyy Seeks a Summit With Putin Again

    Following United States President Joseph Biden’s example, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also blinked to the Kremlin. The US president solicited a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April

    ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’: Normandy Without Ukraine?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron conferred, on March 30, by video-conference on multiple international issues, including the intensification of the “internal conflict

    Moscow Declares Pause in Normandy Negotiations on Ukraine

    Russia’s presidential envoy for conflict-management in Ukraine, Dmitry Kozak, has unilaterally announced a pause in the Normandy negotiation process, pending “clarifications to Ukraine’s positions.” Kozak’s announcements concluded and followed the

    Kozak-Yermak Plan on Donbas: The Fine Print

    The meeting of the Minsk-based Contact Group, held by videoconference on March 24–26, had been expected to officially create a new negotiating forum, named the Consultative Council—in fact, an accretion

    Ukraine Goes to Risk-Fraught Normandy Summit (Part One)

    High-level political discussions about “the Ukraine crisis” (a diplomatic euphemism for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine) are scheduled to resume on December 9, in Paris, in the “Normandy” format—Russia, France, Germany,

    NATO Shows an Irresolute Flag in Ukraine (Part Two)

    *To read Part One, please click here. On October 30–31, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) main political decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council (at the ambassadorial level), visited Ukraine

    NATO Shows an Irresolute Flag in Ukraine (Part One)

    Ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council— the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) principal political decision-making body—visited Ukraine, on October 30–31, for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Ukrainian President Volodymyr

    Transnistria: ‘Freezing’ as the Lesser Evil (Part One)

    Ambassadors from Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United States, and the European Union, collectively the mediators and observers to the Transnistria conflict-settlement negotiations,

    Zelensky-Putin Direct Dialogue? A Whiff in the Air

    President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inaugural address to the country, delivered on May 20 in the Ukrainian parliament, includes an unprecedented offer to start a direct dialogue with the Kremlin (see EDM,

    Russia Punishing Ukraine After the Presidential Election

    The Kremlin is disappointed and angry with the Ukrainian presidential election’s landslide winner, Volodymyr Zelensky. The president-elect may have over-fulfilled Moscow’s forecasts by defeating the incumbent, President Petro Poroshenko, by

    Elections Staged in Ukraine’s East Under Russian Control

    Kremlin-orchestrated, internationally unrecognized “elections” were held on November 11 in the Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” (DPR, LPR), Russian-controlled territories in Ukraine’s east. The final returns, made public on November

    Georgia Plans Its ‘To Do’ Agenda for NATO

    United States President Donald Trump’s behavior at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) recent summit in Brussels (July 11–12) and in its aftermath has cast a shadow on this landmark

    NATO Summit Highlights Partnership With the EU

    United States President Donald Trump’s behavior at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) recent summit in Brussels (July 11–12) and in its aftermath has cast a shadow on this landmark

    NATO-Georgia: Varied Menu, Uncertain Financing

    It was a summit of modest expectations and modest results for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Warsaw on July 8–9. These results are of an interim nature: building-blocks

    John Kerry’s Unwelcome Message in Ukraine

    US Secretary of State John Kerry and Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland held talks with President Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian officials, in Kyiv on July 7. At the joint news

    Nord Stream Two in Ukrainian Perspective

    At Russia’s initiative, the Nord Stream Two natural gas pipeline project has advanced from agreements of intent to a binding agreement; and Gazprom has formed the project consortium with several

    Ukraine Rapidly Dismantling Gazprom’s Supply Monopoly

    Quantitative indicators show a dramatic reorientation of Ukraine’s natural gas supply strategy. Dependence on Gazprom has become a thing of the past. Kyiv demonstrates political resolve to pursue supply diversification

    Russia Subverting Armistice in Ukraine

    Russia is using the ceasefire as an opportunity to cement and expand its military presence, directly as well as through the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR). Following the

    Putin Suggests Own Terms for a Dialogue With Ukraine

    Addressing an international investment forum in Moscow yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin adopted an unusually restrained tone toward Ukraine. In effect, Putin seems to suggest a framework for political dialogue

    Putin’s Ceasefire Plan Sets Traps for Ukraine

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has Ukraine cornered on the battlefield and in diplomatic negotiations at this moment (see accompanying article). On September 3, Putin proposed a seven-point ceasefire plan to

    Russia’s Donetsk Proxies Anticipate Ukrainian Siege

    The newly-installed “prime minister of the Donetsk people’s republic (DPR),” Aleksandr Zakharchenko, was apparently asked to convey a reassuring message to Russia’s public in anticipation of a Ukrainian siege of

    Donetsk ‘Republic’ Leaders’ Morale Plummeting

    Intercepts of Moscow-Donetsk telephone conversations, made public by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), reveal pessimism and demoralization on the part of at least some of the secessionist “republic’s” leadership. On July

    Russia Pressures Ukraine to Prolong the Ceasefire

    Ukraine’s unilateral ceasefire, announced by President Petro Poroshenko on June 20, expires today (June 27). Russia and its proxy forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (Donbas) have actively undermined

    Russia Suspends Natural Gas Supplies to Ukraine

    On June 16, Russia suspended natural gas supplies to Ukraine over non-payment of debts for supplies already delivered. Russia would resume the supplies on condition that Ukraine pays in advance

    Dead in Geneva: The Compromise With Russia on Ukraine

    Russia is inadvertently helping Ukraine, the United States and the European Union to escape the trap of the April 17 Geneva Joint Diplomatic Statement “On the Situation in Ukraine” (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/04/224957.htm).

    Russia Completes the Annexation of Crimea

    Addressing Russia’s bicameral parliament on March 18, President Vladimir Putin announced Crimea’s incorporation into the Russian Federation. The founding documents on Crimea’s “admission” into Russia were signed on the same

    NATO and Ukraine’s Security Vacuum

    Russia has seized Crimea from Ukraine by military force, wholly unprovoked, and without having to fire a shot (see EDM, February 28, March 3–7, 10). Furthermore, Russia has “legislated” its

    Russian Putsch in Crimea Under Pseudo-Legal Cover

    In the pre-dawn hours on February 27 in Simferopol, some 50 heavily armed Russian men in camouflage uniforms without identification marks seized the parliament and government buildings of the Crimean

    Russian Energy Projects and Hungarian Politics

    Hungary’s Fidesz-led government under Viktor Orban, conservative and Europe-oriented in a traditionalist sense, and strongly anti-communist ever since Fidesz’s formative years, has turned toward Russia for solutions to some of

    Gazprom Advances in Germany

    Russian Gazprom is taking over most of the core business of its German partner, Wintershall, in the natural gas trade and storage business. The two companies had conducted that business

    Russia Conducts Trade Warfare on Multiple Fronts

    Russia’s trade restrictions against Lithuania (ban on Lithuanian dairy products since October 7, threats to ban meat and fish products, harassment of Lithuanian road transport at the Russian border—see EDM,

    Azerbaijan Earns Deferential Treatment from Moscow

    Among the six countries in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program, Azerbaijan under its President Ilham Aliyev seems uniquely impervious to Russian forms of leverage and, consequently, unique in receiving

    Ukraine’s Gas Storage System: A Unique Asset in Europe

    Addressing Gazprom’s annual general meeting of shareholders, CEO Alexei Miller warned that Gazprom would “never again, under any circumstances” use Ukraine’s gas storage system in the process of delivering Russian

    Ukraine Diversifies Gas Suppliers, Slashes Imports from Gazprom

    Ukraine has recently initiated procurement of natural gas from European suppliers. These volumes are small but growing, correspondingly eroding Gazprom’s market share in Ukraine.The German Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Elektrizitaetswerk (RWE) is providing

    Old and New Options Considered in the Post-Nabucco Era

    Planning the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe, the European Commission in Brussels had defined the Nabucco pipeline project as the corridor’s mainstay. With Nabucco-West’s official demise (see accompanying article and

    The Curtain Falls on Nabucco’s Last Act

    Nabucco-West, the pipeline project that was to have carried Azerbaijani gas from Turkey to the Central European Gas Hub near Vienna, is exiting from the stage. There will be no

    Azerbaijan Wins Tender for Gas Pipelines in Greece

    On June 21, Greece’s State Assets Development Fund announced that Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) has won the tender to acquire control of Greek DESFA’s (Public Gas Transmission System Operator)

    Igor Sechin Door-Crashing in Croatia

    Croatia is set to join the European Union as a full member on July 1. This makes Croatia a more attractive object of Russian energy interests. The head of Zarubezhneft

    EDM analysts cited in Eurasia Review article

    Jamestown analysts Roger McDermott, Vladimir Socor, Pavel Felgenhauer, Georgiy Voloshin, Richard Weitz, and Dumitru Minzarari were cited in an article by Ariel Cohen in Eurasia Review.

    Georgia’s Reset and Russia’s Response (Part Three)

    Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili supervises Georgia’s policy toward Russia through his special envoy, veteran diplomat Zurab Abashidze. This appointment has led to the establishment of a bilateral negotiating channel between

    Polish Government Sheds Light on Gazprom-EuroPolGaz MOU

    Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, has announced some strong measures in response to the April 5 memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between EuroPolGaz and Russian Gazprom, negotiated behind the Polish government’s

    Vladimir Socor quoted by Zawya

    Jamestown analyst Vladimir Socor was quoted by Zawya in an article titled Nabucco, TAP battle it out for Azeri gas deal.

    Ukraine Importing Gas from Germany via Hungary and Poland

    Denting Russian Gazprom’s monopoly, Ukraine is procuring small but growing volumes of natural gas from Europe. The German Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Elektrizitaetswerk (RWE) is providing the volumes through its subsidiary, RWE Supply

    Angela Merkel Opens a European Perspective for Moldova

    Visiting Moldova on August 22 (see accompanying article), German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared twice unambiguously that Moldova does have a “European perspective”—albeit in a “step-by-step process”; and “we shall accompany

    Croatia Can Call Gazprom’s Bluff on South Stream

    Moscow is “pressuring” Croatia to join Gazprom’s South Stream project urgently, before Croatia’s accession to the European Union takes legal effect in 2013. An internal analysis, prepared by Croatian government

    Gazprom’s Shtokman Project: Relic of a Past Era

    On August 7, Norway’s Statoil announced its exit from the super-giant Shtokman gas field development in the Russian Arctic. The Norwegian company, majority state-owned, is writing off its investment into

    Hungarian MOL Goes Upstream in Kazakhstani Projects

    On July 19, Hungarian-based MOL entered into a partnership with Kazmunaigaz E&P (Exploration & Production, the upstream subsidiary of the national company Kazmunaigaz) to develop the North Karpovsky oil and

    NATO and Georgia: Beyond the Open Door

    NATO’s summit on May 20 in Chicago has brought Georgia slightly closer to the “open door” of membership in the Alliance. The Chicago summit’s declaration reaffirms earlier decisions, committing NATO

    Nabucco-West in Synergy with Trans-Anatolia Project

    Hungary’s critique of the Nabucco project (see accompanying article) has prompted the other partners in the consortium to express their own views. On the whole, these reflect the stakeholders’ common

    Hungary Casts Serious Doubt on the Nabucco Project

    Hungary has raised some serious questions about the viability of the Nabucco gas pipeline project and the performance of the project company’s management. The Hungarian critique has strongly reverberated in

    Chevron Postpones Shale Gas Exploration in Romania

    After Bulgaria (see EDM, January 24), Romania might unnecessarily miss its own chance to explore a promising shale gas potential in partnership with the Chevron Corporation. Unlike the Bulgarian situation,

    Russian Oil Companies Buying West European Refineries

    Russian oil companies Gunvor, Rosneft, and Lukoil are spearheading what looks like an acquisition spree of refining capacities in Western Europe. Some West-European authorities accept without qualms and even welcome

    Lithuania Contracts for LNG Terminal

    In 2011, Lithuania became the first European Union member country to enact EU energy market reform on national territory (see EDM, July 7, 2011). Lithuania opted for the most far-reaching

    Confidence in the Nabucco Project Fading

    Confidence in the viability of the Nabucco project – at least in its version envisaged from 2004 to 2011 – seems to be fading all around. On January 25, the

    Russian Oil Business Targeting EU’s Entrant Croatia

    Croatia has become the newest member of the European Union, with a national referendum on January 22 capping the accession process. The government-controlled JANAF (Jadranski Naftovod – Adriatic Oil Transportation)

    Russia Blocks Consensus At OSCE’s Year-End Conference

    On December 6-7 in Vilnius, the OSCE’s year-end ministerial conference dramatized this organization’s vulnerability to sabotage by the Kremlin. That vulnerability is inherent in the OSCE’s own structure and modus

    US, NATO Acknowledge Russian Kill of CFE Treaty

    In December 2007, Moscow killed the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) officially, declaring a unilateral “moratorium” (suspension) of indefinite duration on Russia’s compliance with the CFE treaty and

    Inspections At Gazprom In the EU: Why Now?

    The European Commission has launched a round of inspections at Gazprom’s affiliate companies in EU member countries. This is the opening stage in an anti-trust investigation of the Russian monopoly’s

    Turkey Seeks Price Cut On Russian Gas

    Turkey has joined the growing ranks of claimants to revision of their contracts with Gazprom. On September 29, Turkish Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, warned that Turkey would end a 25-year-old

    Nabucco’s Rivals Deploy Their Counter-Arguments

    Baku expects three gas transportation consortiums to submit competing bids by October for the gas production of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field, Phase Two. The rival projects are Nabucco (Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria, potentially

    Russia Proposes to Codify Intervention Right Via CSTO

    CSTO’s Secretary-General, Nikolai Bordyuzha, has expatiated on proposals to use the Collective Security Treaty Organization as a tool of Russian intervention within member countries. His latest statements focus on managing

    Major Gas Discovery Announced In Azerbaijan

    The French company, Total, and Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) have announced a major gas discovery at the offshore Absheron field. According to Total, the first results from the exploration

    Nabucco Project Can Advance Faster Than Rivals

    Nabucco, the strategic project for transportation of Caspian gas to Europe, seems threatened by the non-strategic pipeline projects, ITGI (Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy) and TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline). These are less advanced, compared

    Hungarian MOL Harassed In EU Entrant Croatia

    Within days after the European Commission had cleared Croatia to join the EU (Financial Times, June 22), political harassment of Hungarian MOL has intensified in Croatia. Russian interests are conveniently

    France, Russia Sign Contract On Mistral Warships

    As a highlight of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (see EDM, June 20), Russian President Dmitry Medvedev witnessed the signing of the contract for two French Mistral-class warships to

    German Initiatives Favor Russia On Transnistria Talks

    (Part Two) In the context of Russo-German special relations, the German government proposes to restart international negotiations on the Transnistria conflict from a modified basis, one largely favorable to Russian

    Russia to the West’s Rescue in Libya?

    As predicted from the outset of the Libya crisis (EDM, April 21, 26), Russia now officially proposes to “help” extricate the Western belligerents from their difficulties in Libya. Moreover, Moscow’s

    Surgut’s Exit From Hungary Is a Success for Europe

    Hungary’s government has successfully completed negotiations with the Russian government and Surgutneftegaz about the latter’s exit from Hungary. The government is purchasing Surgut’s 21.2 percent stake in the oil and

    Moscow Encourages Turmoil in Georgia

    Moscow has stimulated the radical opposition’s actions in Tbilisi (see EDM, May 24), and stands ready to exploit the unrest. Russian state television channels provide sympathetic, over-dramatized coverage of the

    NATO in Libya: An Improvised Intervention

    The United States kick-started the Libya operation on March 19, in charge of Operation Odyssey Dawn, and launching air and missile strikes until April 3. The French, British, and several

    Russia Seeks China’s Support on Libya Crisis

    On May 6 in Moscow, President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov each received Lavrov’s Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi. According to Lavrov at the concluding news conference, Russia

    NATO Clarifies Goals in Libya

    NATO allies seek additional military, political, and financial means to overcome the unanticipated stalemate in Libya. Alliance leaders are also addressing incipient symptoms of fatigue with the seemingly protracted operation,

    Russia Unveils Political Objectives In Libya

    Russia’s abstention on the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 helped open the door to Western military action on a limited scale in Libya. The Obama administration led the military action

    Moscow Positioning To Exploit Libya Stalemate

    The United States and Western Europe’s residual military powers have undertaken in Libya another war of choice. Russia ushered them into it by not vetoing the UN Security Council’s resolution

    Putin Persists With LNG-Zing the South Stream Project

    On March 21, at his Novo Ogaryovo residence, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to negotiate German Wintershall’s accession to Gazprom’s South

    Moscow Backs Surgut’s Push in Hungary

    Co-chairing a session of the Russian-Hungarian Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation Commission in Moscow, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov asked Hungary to eliminate “subjective” obstacles to Russian investments there (MTI, March 21).

    Putin Looks For LNG Exit From South Stream

    On March 9, the Russian government’s official websites published a transcript of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko’s “working meeting,” held that day in Putin’s office. Putin

    Southern Gas Corridor Risks Loss Of Strategic Focus

    “Achieving the objectives of the Southern Corridor,” in the European Commission’s phrase (EurActiv, February 19), implies commitment to its strategic purpose. This is to supply countries along the Nabucco project’s

    Cost And Supply Issues Delay The Nabucco Project

    The Nabucco pipeline consortium has discreetly postponed its final investment decision by another year, this time until early 2012, with construction to start in 2012 “at the earliest” (Dow Jones,

    Russia Mothballs Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline Project

    On February 17, the stakeholders and supervisory board of the Russian-led Burgas-Alexandropolis oil pipeline project shelved the project in all but name. The host countries, Bulgaria and Greece, had (each

    South Stream CEO Makes The Case For The Project

    Launched in 2007, Gazprom’s South Stream project ran out of potential gas resources by 2009 (thanks primarily to Turkmenistan’s reorientation), and out of potential financing at the same time (due

    Made In Germany For Russia’s Army

    Germany is joining a scramble among West-European producers of military equipment for Russian orders. NATO and the United States are silent bystanders to this growing trend, which challenges the Alliance’s

    Georgia Provides More Security Than it Consumes

    Addressing the annual international security forum in Munich –the highest-level NATO event between the Alliance’s summits–Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, had the temerity to talk strategy. His address stood out in

    Lithuania Assumes the Chairmanship of the OSCE

    Chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010, Kazakhstan showed that it is possible to bring a successful chairmanship to a failing organization. Prerequisites to a

    France, Russia Sign Mistral Agreement

    “Paris is well-worth a [Catholic] mass” (“Paris vaut-bien une messe”), King Henri IV, a Protestant, remarked when told that his attendance at a Catholic Church service was the price for

    Russia Prepares to Re-Enter Afghanistan

    Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, and Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, received the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, on January 21-23 for an official visit. It was the first Russian-Afghan presidential-level meeting since

    TAPI: The Audacity of Pipeline Hope

    On December 11 in Ashgabat, the top officials of four participant countries signed agreements on a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, favored on and off (currently on again) by the

    Turkmenistan Encourages Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline

    Framework agreements on a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) are scheduled for signing by high-level officials of the four countries on December 11 in Ashgabat (Turkmen Television, Press Trust of India, December

    NATO Disinclined to Debate Mistral Affair

    Debate on the implications of military sales to Russia is stifled in NATO. The proposed sale of French Mistral-class warships to Russia is by far the largest among possible Russian

    Wikileaks Perturb US-Azerbaijan Relations (Part Two)

    The US Embassy’s February 25, 2010 report from Baku opens an almost panoramic view on the current state of the bilateral relationship (http://cablegate.wikileaks.org). Two aspects stand out in this comprehensive

    Wikileaks Perturb US-Azerbaijan Relations (Part One)

    Perhaps more than the WikiLeaks themselves, it is the massive security breach and counterintelligence failure that will, for some time to come, discourage candid conversations between the US government and

    Bulgaria Rejoins Gazprom’s South Stream Project

    On November 13 in Sofia, Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, and his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borissov, witnessed the signing of Bulgaria’s accession to Gazprom’s South Stream project (Interfax, BTA, Novinite,

    Russia Targeting Oil Assets in Poland and Lithuania

    On October 30, Poland announced its intention to privatize the state-owned majority stake in the country’s second-largest oil industry concern, Lotos Group. The Polish government is inviting interested parties to

    Croatian Government Hesitates on Gas Sector Reform

    European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, recently indicated to the visiting Croatian Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor, that Croatia’s accession talks to join the EU may be completed by the end

    Another Chance for the Odessa-Brody Pipeline

    Using the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline as originally intended, south-north, is under active consideration again; this time, by the governments of Ukraine and Belarus. The pipeline is being used since 2004

    Demand Growing for Azerbaijani Gas

    On October 7 in Baku, BP signed a production sharing agreement with Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) for the exploration and development of the Shafag and Asiman gas blocks in

    NATO Secretary-General Pays Unedifying Visit To Georgia

    Thirteen months into his tenure, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen travelled to Georgia, the number one troop-contributing country on a per capita basis to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. Rasmussen’s October

    Warsaw Wavers Between Brussels and Gazprom

    Moscow has apparently chosen Poland as a ground for testing the European Union’s common energy policy. In ongoing negotiations for a new supply agreement, Gazprom seeks to pressure Poland to

    Russia Inhibits U.S. Defense Assistance to Georgia

    Visiting Washington on September 15-17, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov asked for the US to consider military equipment sales to Russia. Conversely, Serdyukov announced despite US objections that Russia would

    Gazprom’s South Stream Set Back On Several Fronts

    Turkmen President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s, September 16 statement, explicitly linking the Turkmen East-West gas pipeline with the European Union-backed Nabucco project (EDM, September 17), is not only a boost for Nabucco,

    Russia Deploys S-300 Air Defense Systems in Abkhazia

    Russian state news agencies announced today (August 11) that Russia’s armed forces have deployed the advanced S-300 air defense missile systems in Abkhazia, a territory that Moscow recognizes as “independent.”

    EU Supports Nabucco Against South Stream

    On July 30 in Berlin, Gazprom’s Vice-President, Aleksandr Medvedev, deprecated the EU-backed Nabucco project and claimed that Russia would imminently proceed with the rival South Stream. “There is complete certainty

    Loopholes Opening in US, EU Sanctions on Iran

    The United States and the European Union have imposed on July 1 and July 26, respectively, a new round of sanctions of unprecedented severity, presuming to hinder Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.

    Mistral Saga: Igor Sechin Se Moque De Paris

    The French ambassador to Estonia, Frederic Billet, has asked the host country to look positively at the French sale of Mistral-class warships to Russia. The ambassador told Estonian media that

    MOL Well Placed to Fend off Surgut’s New Move

    Russia’s Surgutneftegaz has filed a case in Budapest’s Metropolitan Court, seeking legal registration as a stakeholder in Hungarian MOL, the national oil and gas company. Surgut is asking the court

    Interest Surging in Azerbaijani Gas (Part Two)

    International demand for Azeri gas (EDM, July 1) is also rising outside the European Union. It is mostly driven by the anticipation of post-crisis industrial recovery and by considerations of

    Interest Surging in Azerbaijani Gas

    Demand for Azerbaijani natural gas is surging, with potential buyers scrambling to Baku. The gas transit agreements, signed by Azerbaijan and Turkey on June 7, have opened prospects for unimpeded

    Russia Defends Soviet Occupation of Moldova

    On June 24, Moldova’s interim president Mihai Ghimpu issued a decree instituting June 28 as the Day of Remembrance of the Soviet Occupation—an event that occurred on June 28, 1940

    Gazprom Again Reconfigures the South Stream Project

    Bulgaria’s suspension of the South Stream project on its territory is forcing Gazprom to reconfigure South Stream’s overall geography, with uncertain options and prospects (EDM, June 14, 18, 22). Gazprom

    Gazprom Seduces Romania With South Stream

    On June 16 in Moscow, Gazprom CEO, Aleksei Miller, and Romanian Economy Minister, Adriean Videanu, agreed on steps to bring Romania, instead of Bulgaria, into the South Stream project; and

    Will Russia be Cast as “Peacekeeper” in Kyrgyzstan?

    Kyrgyzstan’s interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, has taken the desperate step of requesting Russian military intervention to quell the violent civil conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan. She presented that request to Russian

    Bulgarian Government Disavows Three Russian Energy Projects

    Bulgarian government statements on June 11-12 have conclusively disavowed Russia’s projects to build the South Stream gas pipeline, Burgas-Alexandropolis oil pipeline, and Belene nuclear power plant, on Bulgaria’s territory.These announcements

    NATO Can Use Article Four to Consult About Arms Sales

    Russian officials have hinted all along that Russia’s four naval fleets (Northern, Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific) would receive one French Mistral-class warship each, if the Franco-Russian deal materializes as

    Moscow Keeps Paris on Edge Over the Mistral Affair

    Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, paid an official visit to France on June 8-9, back-to-back with Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin’s, June 10-11 visit there. The proposed sale of French Mistral

    Turkmen Gas Export Diversification: An Overview

    The start of construction on the East-West Turkmen pipeline (Turkmenistan Starts Construction of East-West Pipeline, EDM June 8) marks the third phase of Turkmenistan’s gas export diversification strategy. In just

    Georgia Develops Functional Relations With Iran

    On May 20-24, a delegation of Tehran journalists, led by the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast (with deputy minister’s rank), visited Georgia. The group included journalists from Iranian

    Biden Proposes Moving Beyond the CFE Treaty

    US Vice-President, Joseph Biden’s, landmark article (Biden Proposes New Tasks for the OSCE, EDM, May 14) also heralds new US proposals on conventional arms control in Europe. These would seek

    Vice President Biden Envisions New Tasks for the OSCE

    The Obama administration is about to launch policy initiatives regarding Europe’s eastern neighborhood and conventional arms control in Europe. US Vice-President Joseph Biden has unveiled a number of ideas through

    Moscow Grooming a Political Team in Tbilisi

    Each spring from 2007 to date, Georgia’s radical opposition has linked its regime-change campaigns with a powerful patron, in the hope of counterbalancing the state authorities. Initially that patron was

    Putin Calls For Naftohaz Ukrainy-Gazprom Gas Merger

    Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has proposed a “merger“of Ukraine’s national energy company Naftohaz Ukrainy with Russia’s Gazprom. The proposal emerged during Putin’s April 30 meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister,