Ukraine's Orange Revolution
Yanukovych's Rise, Democracy's Fall
An Association Agreement With the EU Will Transform Ukraine -- and its President
Yanukovych Must Go
Ukrainians Will Protest as Long as His Corrupt Regime Exists
Is There One Ukraine?
The Problem With Ukrainian Nationalism
Ukraine's Big Three
Meet the Opposition Leaders at the Helm of Euromaidan
No One Wins in Ukraine
Letter From Kiev
Ukraine's Crisis of Legitimacy
How the New Government in Kiev Can Save Itself
Putin's Plan For Overturning the European Order
Putin's Search for Greatness
Will Ukraine Bring Russia the Superpower Status It Seeks?
Watching Putin in Moscow
What Russians Think of the Intervention in Ukraine
Putin's Own Goal
The Invasion of Crimea and Putin's Political Future
Is Losing Crimea a Loss?
What Russia Can Expect in Ukraine's Rust Belt
The EU After Ukraine
European Foreign Policy in the New Europe
Get Ready for a Russo-German Europe
The Two Powers That Will Decide Ukraine's Fate -- and the Region's
Gas Politics After Ukraine
Azerbaijan, Shah Deniz, and Europe's Newest Energy Partner
Ukraine Isn't Europe's Biggest Energy Risk
In the wake of the European Union’s failure to conclude an association agreement with Ukraine, one could be forgiven for thinking that it is losing its touch in the former Soviet Union. It isn’t. This week, EU leaders signed a deal with Azerbaijan to build a pipeline for importing gas from Azerbaijan into Europe. All told, the arrangement is expected to bring billions of investment dollars into southern Europe and will, in the construction phase alone, create about 30,000 new jobs in the countries that the pipeline will eventually link: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and Italy.
The timing of the Shah Deniz project, as it is called, could not have been better. By now, Russia’s record of attempting to prevent former Soviet states from expanding their trade with Europe is well known. In Ukraine, Russian pressure seems to have worked. In Azerbaijan, too, Russia has meddled in domestic politics (it fronted a Russian citizen in recent Azerbaijani national elections), exiled Azerbaijani workers from Russia, and drummed up anti-Azerbaijani sentiments in the Russian media. Unlike in Ukraine, however, Russian interference couldn’t prevent the deal.
Azerbaijan’s steadfastness is partly the result of years of EU and U.S. diplomacy. In the run-up to this week’s meeting, Brussels blocked Moscow’s acquisition of energy infrastructure along the pipeline route and doggedly investigated Gazprom, Russia’s gas monopoly, for violating EU antitrust laws in the region. Helping matters along is Baku’s firm belief that cooperation with Europe is the path to security and development. A tiny state surrounded by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, Azerbaijan needs the West, perhaps more than Ukraine did, to ensure its independence. It also wants the Europe’s help resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between itself and neighboring Armenia.
The pipeline deal is also great news for Europe, opening up its first new major source of gas in decades. Shah Deniz is a mega-field, containing 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, equivalent to almost
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