Last January, Russia, unhappy with Kiev's shift to a western oriented foreign policy, threatened to quadruple gas prices for Ukraine and triggered supply disruption. Robert Cutler, an energy specialist at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada says Moscow's action called into question its reputation as a reliable supplier. "The current presidential administration did something that no Soviet leadership ever did during the cold war. They cut off gas," he said.
Cutler and other speakers say the Russian leadership miscalculated in assuming that Europe would agree with Russia that Ukraine caused the disruption by refusing to pay western prices for Russian gas. "Even the fact that this [action] was taken against Ukraine was felt by western Europe. It was a little heavy handed for some political leaders in Moscow to try to blame Ukraine for any shortfalls in Europe. That was taken very badly," he said.
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Excerpt from Barry Wood, "Russia Seeks to Rebuild Reputation as Reliable Energy Supplier," Voice of America, 4 April 2006.