Nr 56 • Aprill 2008

An Alarming Wake-Up Call

“The question comes up whether a very strong financial recovery in Russia is a stimulus for the new Russian leadership to return to the Cold War. Russia wants to dominate and dictate.” These words were spoken by Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus in an interview with the Financial Times last January, yet they could have been taken from Edward Lucas’s book, The New Cold War. How the Kremlin Menaces Both Russia and the West.

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Azerbaijan’s New Oil Wealth: A Blessing or a Curse?

As has been the case with most countries, Azerbaijan’s newfound oil wealth has been a mixed blessing for that country. On the one hand, the oil has made Azerbaijan a far more important actor on the international scene than it might otherwise be and the earnings from the sale and transit of oil have brought unprecedented resources into the country. But on the other hand, it has increased outside intervention in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs, exacerbated social tensions by radically increasing income differentiation, and allowed the government to function without the constraints that having to raise money via taxation inevitably imposes.

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English summary

Adviser to the Estonian Ministry of Finance Hannes Hanso analyses the impact of high energy prices on world politics. Even though it is hard to demonstrate a direct correlation between energy prices and global security, Hanso claims that it is possible that high energy prices will induce the transition from the present unipolar world to a multipolar world. “There is a danger that its dependency on oil and gas will not allow the West to pursue a foreign policy based on values. In an indirect way, this dependency inhibits the spread of liberal democratic models of society all over the globe,” claims Hanso.

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