Not Everything It Seems To Be?

It was the late AJP Taylor who suggested that the efficient (or proximate) cause of the first world war was to be found in the the way the national railway timetables had been drawn up. Without wishing to take issue with Taylor (either for or against), it does occur to me that a certain amount of light may be thrown on the otherwise puzzling decision of Gazprom to throw the tap by taking a quick look through looking the election timetables of all the key players (in both Eastern and Western Europe). I was put in mind of this point by the following opening gambit in what is in fact a very interesting and to the point article in today’s FT:

Russia’s row with Ukraine has triggered fresh concern over the security of Europe’s energy supplies and some see nuclear power as the biggest beneficiary.”

Nuclear power, hmmmm. I hadn’t thought enough about this point when I knee-jerked my response yesterday.
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A Certain Irony

In a post back in May about the bloody repression in Uzbekistan I noted that Crooked Timber’s John Quiggin was suggesting that US troops should be withdrawn immediately (I didn’t agree if you read the post). Well he seems to have got his way, and the reasoning behind the Uzbekistan parliament decision is of course interesting. The parliament has backed a government order which gives the United States six months to vacate the Karshi-Khanabad airbase. The suggestion is that this order is not entirely unconnected with the U.S. decision to join international demands for an independent investigation into May’s bloody crackdown.

While I’m up posting on Uzbekistan,
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The Warrior Audrey.


Yulia Tymoshenko
2004 may be well the year of Ukraine’s warrior princesses. First, singer Ruslana managed to put Ukraine on Europe’s musical map by winning the Eurovision song contest with her Wild Dances in May, and now, in early December, it doesn’t seem unlikely that the other warrior princess, Yulia Tymoshenko, one of the most mysterious political figures in Ukraine, will become Prime Minister.

The Guardian’s Nick Paton Walsh claims that, “while for the time being she is proving a great and popular rebel leader, no one really knows what she stands for,” and, on Neeka’s Backlog, Veronica Khokhlova confirms The Economist’s warning (via The Independent) that, “though she may look like Audrey Hepburn, anyone who has got this far in a country where politics often resembles a Jacobean revenge tragedy must have an edge” by wrinting about Mrs Tymoshenko that

“she’s an awesome politician – full of dignity, full of class, soft yet has some very deadly poison hidden underneath, very convincing when she speaks, prepared wonderfully to any kinds of questions, be it about the opposition’s plans, her own finances or her alleged radicalism. She’s beautiful, too, but her looks are as much of an asset as they are not.

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Shoes, Other Feet, Fits

EU unilaterally blocking Russia’s entry into the very very multilateral WTO.

How many poles is this multipolar thing going to have, anyway?

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Putin Doesn’t Like EU Terms for Entry
October 9, 2003
By Natalya Shurmina

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin sharply
criticized European Union “bureaucrats” on Thursday for pressing the
country to raise domestic energy prices as a condition for joining the
World Trade Organization.

“We cannot move to world energy prices in a single day. It will ruin the
country’s economy. Eurobureaucrats either do not understand this or are
trying to impose conditions which are unacceptable for Russia’s entry to
WTO,” Putin told a Russian-German summit meeting in the Urals.

“Such a tough position toward Russia is unjustified and dishonest. We view
this as an attempt at arm-twisting.”
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