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Posted on on July 23rd, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

Russia claims a sphere of influence over its “near abroad” – a message that involves Belarus and Kazachstan with whom Russia has special trade agreements and the GUAM States – Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova that eye the European Union.

President Obama visited Moscow in order to “reset” US-Russia relations and coordinated a visit by Vice President Biden to Kiev and Tbilisi in order to reassure both Ukraine and Georgia that this reset will not sell out their interests.

For us what is of interest here is the talk in Kiev about the way the Ukraine is handling its energy sector, and we are in full agreement that the Ukrainians are totally forfeiting their independence of Russia, and by the way also endangering their own standing in their relations with Europe, all this by sticking with insane dependence on the pipelines of oil and gas – and mind you subsidizing this addiction on their own will.

The disparity between market prices and the cheap government-sold gas that arrives on the Russian pipeline, has in addition created a black market and vested interests that led to rampant corruption, economy distortions, and make it hard to solve the problem. These subsidies have strangled the economy by forcing Kiev to rely on below-market-price imports from Russia and submitted themselves to Russia’s direct influence on the Ukrainian economy, while at the same time making themselves into a handy tool for Russia disrupting supplies also¬† EU parts of Eastern and Central Europe.

Mr. Biden lectured publicly in Kiev: ” Your economic freedom depends more, on your energy freedom than on any other single factor,” he said. Energy efficiency will be a boon to your economy and an immeasurable benefit to your national security, he continued.


Further, Mr. Biden lectured that “Friendship requires honesty” and continued by saying that: “Mature democracies survive because they develop institutions such as free press, a truly independent court system, an effective legislature – all of which serve as a check on the corruption that fuels the cynicism and limits growth in any country, including yours.” How true! If above are looked at honestly, so will emerge the desire to decrease the dependence on outside supplies of energy by promotion of energy efficiency.

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