Thursday, May 17, 2007

Getting Chilly

More evidence that Russia's keen on presenting itself once again as a challenger to the west. Not only has it reportedly stepped up its dispute with Estonia by the means of cyber-sabotage, but it's also going to build a nuclear reactor for the very bad men who run the military government in Myanmar (that's Burma to you and me). If not exactly a second Cold War, things are certainly getting a bit chilly.

Russia's becoming more bullish, you could even say brazen, partly because it holds one big ace - energy. Its oil and gas reserves are going to become more crucial to the rest of Europe in the coming years, and western nations are in no position to take issue with how Russia sometimes behaves politically, if taking a stand would risk turning the lights off and leaving the pumps dry. This growing power allows Vladimir Putin to flex his political muscles here and there, as Russia tries to recover the prestige it gave up during the Yeltsin years. It'll be interesting to see how far Mr Putin wants to push his luck.

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