Bulgaria Says “Thanks, But No Thanks”

Over at TYR, I argued that the explanation of the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute was an effort by the Russian side to break up the European gas customers as a negotiating block by exploiting the conflict between the transit states (like the Ukraine) and the customers (like Germany). This gave rise to further discussion down-blog right here on AFOE, in the comments to this post of Tobias’s, where this was said…

I think he was trying to play off the customer states against the pipeline states, in order not to deal with a European monopsony. Unfortunately, the pipeliners and customers were rather induced to hang together rather than swing separately, and he backed down in order to prevent the point of payment being moved to the Russian-Ukrainian border, which would have effectively put the Ukraine in the EU for gas purposes.
Posted by Alex at January 5, 2006 10:50 AM

“I think he was trying to play off the customer states against the pipeline states”

Interesting theory, but how do Moldova and Armenia fit into this. The former was cut off and the latter has been badly threatened?
Posted by Edward at January 5, 2006 11:02 AM

Armenia – rather different case. The pipeline/customer thing doesn’t apply (AFAIK), but as Armenia is a small customer relative to Russian gas production, the relationship is very different. No need for anything complicated, just a shakedown for more cash.

Moldova – interesting question. It’s not on the way to anywhere is it?
Posted by Alex at January 5, 2006 03:32 PM

“It’s not on the way to anywhere is it?”

Not that I know of. It just seems to have been……forgotten.
Posted by Edward at January 5, 2006 03:43 PM

It seems Moldova is sitting on the pipeline to Romania and Bulgaria.
Posted by Oliver at January 5, 2006 03:53 PM

That’s it, then: a power grab for control of (or at least cheaper rates on) two export lines, by trying to play off the customers against the pipelines. Armenia was pure opportunism.
Posted by Alex at January 5, 2006 04:43 PM

“It seems Moldova is sitting on the pipeline”

“That’s it, then: a power grab”

Fascinating! This certainly gives plausibility to the idea that they were going for control of the landline installation. The issue now is how will the customers respond.
Posted by Edward at January 5, 2006 09:28 PM

Now, though, we may be about to find out. Bulgaria has been faced with a demand from Gazprom very similar to the one to the Ukrainians, and it seems they’ve given them the brushoff in much the same way. A very similar logic applies, as Bulgaria is both a transit provider (it’s odd how this Internetworking terminology creeps into what is after all a discussion of networks) and a fair-sized gas customer. The Russians seem to have been of a mind to use the latter fact to force changes on the former, and the Bulgarians have adopted an identical strategy.

Which would predict a settlement in double quick time, if we’re right.

The Tainted Source

Book Review:
The Tainted Source
by John Laughland

A while back, I discovered that my great-grandfather’s estate in Ukraine, Apanlee, figures in a novel which is something of a favourite among neo-Nazis and Aryan supremacists. This led me to a number of websites that I wouldn’t regularly have frequented, including the Zundelsite and Stormfront’s webpage. There I found something genuinely intriguing: A new historical justification for anti-Semitism. They point to a book written back in the 70’s by Arthur Koestler called The Thirteenth Tribe. Koestler – himself Jewish – makes a case that Eastern European Jews originated in the somewhat mysterious medieval state of Khazar, located in part of what is now Russia. He puts forward evidence that many people in this multi-religious Turkic nation converted to Judaism, and that after the disappearance of the Khazar state these people remained Jewish and formed the core of the Eastern European Jewish population.

It is an interesting idea from a historiographic perspective. Others have taken up Koestler’s case since then. I am not a scholar of Jewish history and I make no claims as to the status or veracity of the Khazar hypothesis. What I found fascinating, in a sick sort of way, was how easily radical anti-Semitic movements in the Anglo-Saxon world manage to incorporate this notion into their worldview. For them, this leads them to the conclusion that the Jews aren’t really Jews, and therefore none of the Biblical status given to Jews applies to them. Modern Jews are, in their minds, merely a Turkic tribe that converted to the false Judaism that killed Jesus, and the real Jews were expelled into Europe by the Romans, becoming the Anglo-Saxon people.

It should go without saying that I find this latter hypothesis to be, to say the least, deeply suspect. In fact, laughable would be a better adjective to describe my opinion of it. I bring this up however, because the kind of thinking that motivates this radical reinterpretation of Jewish and Germanic history also motivates a book I have just read: The Tainted Source. Unfortunately, my finances restrict my ability to purchase books for review, and I have not yet had the gumption to write to publishers to ask for a reviewer’s copy. So, the books on Europe that I read tend to come from the discount rack, where many Euroskeptics seem to end up.

Just as Aryan nationalist justify their anti-Semitism by claiming that Jews aren’t really Jewish because of (in their minds) tainted origins, Laughland’s case against Europe is built atop the idea that Europeanism’s roots are tainted.
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