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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