Russian President Vladimir Putin's visits to Hungary and the Czech Republic last week were intended to disperse the emerging anti-Russia front in Brussels and secure a "safe passage" towards the countries that really matter in Moscow's opinion, like Germany or Italy.
A larger conclusion stemming from Putin's argument is that the liberalization of the European gas market strongly pushed by the EU Commission is obviously a bad idea. Gazprom is busy building ties with giants like E.ON or Gaz de France and does not want any competition that could break the clearly artificial link between the prices of oil and of natural gas. This vision of tightly controlled and essentially monopolized "energy security" has its supporters in Europe, and Putin is trying to recruit new "agents of influence." Havel is certainly a hopeless idealist, but his words remind that the European values of human rights and economic freedoms are deeply interlinked – and significantly differ from the values of Mr. Putin.
Read it in Eurasia Daily Monitor