EU Commissioner Competition Gazprom EU Commissioner/Wikton Dabkowski/Flickr

Europa vs. Gazprom

NUEVA YORK – Durante años, el presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, ha esgrimido la dependencia de Europa del gas natural de su país como un arma de política exterior, sin miedo de que la Unión Europea lo reprendiera -hasta ahora-. Hoy que la UE está iniciando una causa antimonopolio contra Gazprom, el conglomerado de gas controlado por el Estado, Europa ha enviado una señal clara de que la brutalidad de Putin ya no es tan intimidatoria como lo fue alguna vez.

El mensaje del Comisionado de Competencia de la Unión Europea -de que las reglas del mercado se aplican a todos- es un mensaje que Putin desestimó durante años. La dependencia de medios económicos y legales para alcanzar sus objetivos políticos ha sido por mucho tiempo un sello de su mandato. Hace más de una década, el Kremlin expropió Yukos Oil, que en ese momento generaba el 20% de la producción de Rusia, y encarceló a su fundador, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, durante diez años bajo cargos de evasión impositiva inventados después de que se atrevió a oponerse a Putin.

Todos los actores importantes de la economía centrada en la energía de Rusia rápidamente se encolumnaron políticamente, lo que le permitió a Putin hacer uso de las exportaciones de petróleo y gas del país como un garrote geopolítico. Los países de la UE a los que no podía intimidar militarmente, debido a la OTAN, eran seducidos con descuentos -o castigados con alzas de precios.

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