Bullying the neighbours is a traditional sport in Russia – so it’s no wonder that after the Ukrainians decided to go pro-Western, the Russians decided to make them freeze by cutting off their gas.
However, it’s interesting to see that, because Russia is so poor and dependent on the West for everything, the Kremlin effectively backed down. The new gas price is in line with Ukraine’s demands, not with Russia’s intentions.
So as long as Russia remains poor, Europe’s energy supplies are safe. It’s lucky, then, that any prospect of liberal reform has been replaced in that country’s electoral landscape by populist, militaristic strongmen like Vladimir Putinâ€¦