Robert Cutler, a senior fellow at the Institute of European and Russian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, agrees that Russia’s political and economic strength is growing. He says it was clearly demonstrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his recent response to the European Union's call to sign on to a multilateral commerce treaty.
"Putin," says Professor Cutler,"renounced signing the Transit Protocol of the Energy Charter Treaty, which would have obligated Russia to treat foreign companies the same as Russian companies when it comes to investment and energy exploration. It would have also given non-Russian actors equal access to the Russian pipeline system. He said, 'no dice.'"
Carleton University’s Robert Cutler adds that as long as oil and increasingly natural gas remain to be the lifeblood of modern economies, tension and conflict over energy resources between Russia and much of the rest of the world will likely continue in the Caspian Sea basin.
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Excerpt from Jela De Franceschi, "Playing Oil Politics in the Caspian Sea," Voice of America , 26 June 2006.