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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Crybaby Russia is Taking its Ball of Gas and Going Home

The Associated Press reports that if Georgia won't allow Russia to win the imperialsm game, then crybaby Russia will take its ball of gas and go home:

Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly threatened to cut off supplies to Georgia if it does not agree to a 125 percent increase in the price of gas imports, a company official said Wednesday.

OAO Gazprom asked Georgian authorities to finalize the amount of Russian gas imports they want for next year at a price of $235 per 1,000 cubic meters, or risk receiving no gas at all, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said in a statement.

Georgia, which now pays $110, has accused Russia of using its energy resources as "political blackmail" and as a means of punishing the small, ex-Soviet republic for its efforts to join NATO and shake off the Kremlin's influence.

Russia denies the accusations, saying the price is similar to what it charges other European consumers.

Relations between the two countries hit a new low this fall when Georgia briefly detained four Russian military officers on spying charges in September. Moscow retaliated with an economic and transport blockade and a crackdown on Georgian migrants.

In a related development, officials in Armenia, which borders Georgia to the south, said Georgian authorities have pledged by Thursday to restore gas supplies after an avalanche damaged a pipeline that transports Russia gas to Armenia.

Gazprom officials warned that the disruption, which occurred on Sunday, created dangerous gas import shortage for Armenia and suggested Georgia would be unable to repair the pipeline promptly.

Shushan Sardarian, a spokesman for ZAO ArmRosGazprom, said no customers had suffered gas shortages as a result of the avalanche.

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