It’s hard to say whether the Russians or the Saudis are more frightened of Western fracking. Tyrannies which depend on energy dollars view fracking with a great deal of alarm.
And while the Saudis might be working things on the US end, it appears that Putin and the ole KGB gang have been restoring their ties to the European left, even while cultivating other ties with the European right.
Russian intelligence agencies are covertly funding and working with European environmental groups to campaign against fracking and maintain EU dependence on Russian gas, the head of Nato has claimed.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Nato secretary-general, said, “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”
A Nato official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Financial Times that the alliance believed Russia was engaged in “a campaign of disinformation on many issues, including energy”.
Some experts have speculated that one of Russia’s motivations in fomenting separatism in eastern Ukraine is to stymie efforts to develop the region’s shale gas reserves.
Denis Pushilin, one of the most prominent leaders of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, was previously best known for organising sparsely attended rallies against shale gas exploration in Donetsk. In May, Mr Pushilin said the Donetsk People’s Republic had banned the extraction of shale gas in territory it controlled in eastern Ukraine.
This is the same old, same old mostly. The USSR abused the environment in spectacular ways while its leftist allies in the West pushed environmentalism to undermine industry. Putin’s Russia is simply continuing an old game.
The collapse of the USSR has forced the old KGB gang to become a little more agile, but it has also liberated them from any sort of ideological consistency. So Putin works with EU opponents on the right and environmentalists on the left. His RT propaganda network pushes conspiracies from across the spectrum in a kind of random tabloid journalism whose only purpose is to undermine the countries that he sees as the enemy.
Putin is running a massive money laundering operation. His regime depends on a pyramid of bribes. Like every oligarchy, it’s vulnerable to the disruption of its criminal business model. And it has to protect the business model above all else.
Fracking and problems with Russian energy supplies has made Putin more aggressive. Domestic opposition is growing and he comes from an organization that plays offense, not defense.
The environmentalists, as James O’Keefe already established, don’t care where their backing comes from. Even if it comes from the enemy.