Russian President Vladimir Putin endured a most unpleasant dinner with the EU heads of state and top officials in Lahti, Finland.
Putin insists on increasing the role of coal in a new energy strategy, but such a shift can be accomplished neither in two weeks nor in two months, since the coal industry needs massive investment to achieve the required growth. Quite possibly, the perspective Putin is really interested in is closer to 20 months, when a carefully chosen successor would have to launch the unpopular reforms that are now deliberately postponed by the Kremlin. That “kamikaze” cabinet would invite a tsunami of public wrath -- and then Putin could make a “surprise” comeback and harmonize the flows of energy and money. He might even offer a new “real deal” on Shtokman to the Europeans -- but that would hardly eliminate the danger to their energy security.
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