The wall came down, the USSR was defeated, we exported Democracy and all is good in Russia; right? Wrong… the 90s was a disaster as their economy collapsed and her main wealth driver… gas and oil crashed to all time lows.
Putin rose to power during this and minded the lessons well of the cold war. He watched how the US defeated the USSR with perception alone. Star wars was a brilliant plan by the US. Convinced that we could knock their nuc’s out of the sky with lasers in space, we caused the Soviet Union to spend herself into oblivion trying to compete with a perception.
Putin and the ‘oil’garchs, took a lesson from Reagan’s playbook and up’d it to something they can control; oil. Gazprom is the largest energy company on the planet. It controls the largest resource of natural gas and second to only Saudi Arabia in oil. Its two leaders were both appointed by Russian leaders (Yeltsin and Putin) and the leader that nationalized (dubiously through some backed taxes owned scheme) it is now the ‘leader’ of Russia Dmitry Medvedev.
But would the Russians manipulate world energy prices? I thought they were our friends? I believe they tested how far they could go with price manipulation with their involvement in the Food for Oil scam in Iraq. They paid millions of dollars to their friends, made a deal with Saddam to keep the UN Security Counsel off his back and let people starve in the process. I’d be willing to wager a good chunk of our salaries they are now manipulating the IEA reports. Evidence of this was Gazprom recent call for 250 a barrel oil.
So by driving the perception of a world energy crisis… that current supply will not be able to meet future, not current demand is Russia’s imperial plot against the West. In the process, money flows to the Kermlin, its cronies with the effort to weaken the US. They are still paranoid about our nuclear arsenal and want us to do away with it and get as many of the missles out of their surrounding regions. They also are willing to flex their energy muscle to punish sovereign nation policy decisions by shutting off her gas (Prague).
Oh in case you were wondering… the boat is owned by a 36 year old Russian billionaire and to fill’er up would cost you a little over a million dollars at today’s diesel prices.