Every year they roll this one out and why not? People are suckers for either disaster stories or narratives with heroes, villains, and easy answers. And every year they fall for this one.

Like the Tories with deficit spending, many people still can't quite come to terms with a post Cold War world.  They equate Putin's Russian eagle with a Soviet Hammer and Sickle.  At least the Soviet Union as threat scenario hung on at least remotely credible back story of a global ideology replete with millions of fellow travelers ready to use gas as a weapon to strangle Europe.  Although as we now know, the CCCP threat was seriously overstated to serve both a variety of domestic political agendas. The specific reality of Soviet gas supply was that it ran uninterrupted throughout any number of cold war crises: Afghanistan, KAL 007, Chernobyl, Olympic Boycott etc etc.

It's hard to see what fate would befall us in Europe if we gave in to Russian "demands".  Would Russia stop sending tourists filled with money to Harrods and stop investing in Monaco or St Moritz?

But most Januarys lately, the story is Russian holding Europe hostage to energy by asking Ukraine to pay for it's gas.  Some reality checks here:

  1. If Russia and Ukraine have a fight over gas, you as a customer of Gazprom UK, or anyone else wont be impacted.  It sounds unbelivable that people would think they might, but some really stupid people do.
  2. If this is a battle between economic liberal democracy as represented by Ukraine's US neo-con pals on one side and Russian statism on the other, why shouldn't Ukraine pay full world prices for energy like the rest of us?
  3. Are we missing something here, but if Ukraine don't pay for their gas, and use the Russian gas being transited across their country for their needs, isn't it Ukraine holding Europe hostage?
  4. The other side of import dependency is export dependency.

  5. Sowing fear over "security of supply" non-issues pushes prices up.  There is no gas shortage anywhere on earth.  Why on earth pay more for it?

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