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Russia’s pipeline politics

At St Petersburg, the old G7 countries will find a newly confident Russia willing to exploit energy policy to fulfil geopolitical objectives. What can they do about it?

As leaders of the old G7 club of industrial democracies prepare for top-level discussions on energy at the G8 summit in St Petersburg, they are uncomfortably aware that the humiliated Russian eagle they invited into their nest as a gesture of encouragement a few years ago has developed a sharper beak and stronger talons than anyone could have imagined.

Under President Vladimir Putin, a combination of steely political will and sky-high oil prices have transformed Russia into a more centralised, self-confident and focused nation state, albeit still vast and multiethnic. National interest, not ideology, is the new leitmotiv. Greater democracy,…

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