Pipelines and geopolitics – the real reason behind Putin’s visit to Italy


June 15, 2015

Nikolay Starikov

Translated by Kristina Rus

Putin trip to Italy – geopolitics and reasons

Last week several closely related events took place. It was the meeting of the heads of the seven Western states, Putin’s visit to Italy and the opening of the “European games” in Baku.

Let’s analyze the causes and meanings of these events.

The meeting of the heads of the seven leading countries of the West took place in the framework of the meeting of the heads of eight states. Russia used to be added to the Western states. Our President, along with leaders of the USA, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and the UK discussed the pressing issues of world politics. This format has not been formalized. Just every time the leaders of the eight countries were invited to the meeting. After the crisis in Ukraine Russia is no longer invited.

The reasons are obvious – expression of displeasure, demonstration of pressure on our country.

There are absolutely no consequences for Russia – simply one less platform where the leaders of the West spoke with Putin all together and one at a time.

To worry about it is a waste of time. There is no international isolation of Russia. The visit of Vladimir Putin to Italy clearly showed it. That is, we already knew that the “world” that expresses dissatisfaction with our policy represents a SMALLER part of humanity, living mostly in Europe and North America. Putin’s visit to Italy has shown us that it is difficult to speak of isolation even in Europe.

On June 7th and 8th of 2015, in the German resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where, by the way, in February of 1936 the West allowed Adolf Hitler to hold the Olympics, the meeting of the so-called “G7” took place.

The leaders of the group of seven announced that the sanctions will be removed if the Minsk agreements are fulfilled, otherwise – and CNN quoted some sources — in the coming months a new package against individuals and financial companies may be implemented. 


[Note that other member-countries of the European Union have no say in this – is this democracy or a rule of the strongest ?- KR]

At a meeting of seven leaders Russia was routinely accused, although it is obvious that it is Russia that is interested in peace in Ukraine. But the fun started after this meeting.

On June 7 and 8, 2015, Italian Prime Minister was at a meeting in Germany, full of solidarity with his partners. Blaming Russia, agreeing that sanctions are needed. And on June 10 and 11 he met President Putin … in Italy.

It turned out very interesting. If you imagine that Italian Prime Minister Renzi really considers Russia an “aggressor” and its President responsible for the crisis in Ukraine, then it was very strange to see in a couple of days after the “G7” summit him shaking the hand of Vladimir Putin in Italy. That means Italy does not consider Russia neither the aggressor nor the guilty party. Otherwise, the visit of the President of Russia would be cancelled.

Even more telling was the meeting of Putin with the head of the Catholics. Pope Francis gave our President a last century medal with the image of an angel, which, according to the head of the Catholic Church, “brings peace, and justice, and solidarity, and protects”. It is obvious that the signal sent to the 1.5 billion Catholics and political elites was unambiguous. Peace with Russia, an end to the confrontation. The number one enemy of Christianity today is American-grown ISIS, and not Russia. It is Barack Obama, who considers Russia an enemy, the head of the Catholics takes a different position.

The results of Putin’s visit to Italy were beautifully expressed by one of Italian political analysts: 

The visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Italy suggests that in the West there is a disagreement in relation to Russia, said in an interview with RT France the head of the program “Eurasia” of the Institute of Higher Geopolitical Studies of Italy, Dario Citati. “First of all, Putin’s visit means that there is no unanimous position in the West on the Ukrainian issue and the crisis with Russia”, — said Citati. According to Citati, this visit is important to Italy, because the Italians understand that the sanctions introduced against Russia are counterproductive: they have not changed the position of Russia and were too burdensome for the economy of Italy… Therefore, this unanimity, which is well observed when European countries speak on behalf of the EU or in formats such as G7, so to speak, is shattered against reality,” – writes Citati. The meaning of the President meeting with the Prime Minister of Italy, according to the analyst, is the resurfacing of differences within the EU, because we could expect the cancellation of this visit, however, it was not cancelled, and, in addition, a visit was paid to the Vatican, which is an important player in international relations.”


Now a few words about why Putin went to Italy. And why now.

We are once again talking about geopolitics and pipelines. An invisible struggle is raging for routes for transporting the Russian gas to Europe. Russia’s goal is to build a “pipe” to bypass Ukraine to deprive US the opportunity to blackmail Europe and Russia with the hands of the Kiev puppets, the termination of deliveries of gas through Ukraine. The goal of the US is not to allow Russia to lay a “pipe” bypassing Ukraine, to be able to put pressure on Europe and Russia. After blocking “South Stream”, Moscow made a deal with Turkey on the construction of the “Turkish stream” pipeline. The plan is for the pipe to go first to Turkey, then to Greece. Further plans were to Macedonia, but suddenly Maidan was started in this country and attacks of Albanian fighters , after which Prime Minister of Macedonia “understood” the hints and stated that the pipeline will be built only after the signing of the agreement between the European Commission and Gazprom. Because the lack of such arrangements killed “South Stream”, Russia has to look for new opportunities for the pipeline route.

Our side is pulling the heavy artillery – our President. He flies to Italy to explain to the Italian colleagues the obvious thing. After Greece, the pipeline can go to Italy, from where the gas will go to Europe. To resist this is to force Russia … to finish the pipe in Greece. Or even in Turkey. It is therefore right and logical to extend the pipeline to Italy. This is an excellent prospect for all of Europe, and for Italy itself it is just perfect.

It is not accidental that during his visit to Italy, Putin spoke about bilateral relations with this country and operated in a manner as if there are no “European Commissions” in sight.

“Talked about the need to maintain the momentum of development of bilateral relations in all fields, not allowing the bilateral relations to become hostage to the various difficulties that are currently observed”, – said the press secretary of the Russian President.


That the Italian “partners” answered, we will understand a bit later.

However, the following travel route of our President is very telling. On June 12,  2015 he flew to the opening of the “European games” in the capital of Azerbaijan. Sport is great. Our team must be supported. But the main thing for the Russian President is meeting with the head of Turkey that took place in Baku behind closed doors.

Everything is very logical. First, talk to Italy about the destination of the route of the “Turkish stream”, then tell all eye to eye to Turkey itself. First hand, without intermediaries and journalists.

Large energy projects, including construction of “Turkish stream” today was discussed by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Baku, where both came to the opening of the first ever European games. The talks were held behind closed doors and details became known literally an hour ago … We could guess what the presidents of Russia and Turkey will talk about behind closed doors, by looking at the composition of the delegation. Participation in negotiations of the heads of Gazprom and the Energy Ministry clearly hinted that we will be talking about energy, and more precisely – gas deliveries. Although in front of the cameras, Putin and Erdogan discussed only the latest news — the opening in Baku of first European sport games, without missing the opportunities to joke about a United Europe. 


Meanwhile this exchange in Baku has another aspect. Turkey and Russia can discuss the “gas business” with Azerbaijan. The fact is Americans want to use the gas from Azerbaijan as an alternative to gas from Russia.

Azerbaijani gas supplies in the coming years will be the only real alternative to the Russian gas for Europe… The “Southern Gas Corridor” is one of priority projects for the EU, which envisages gas transportation from the Caspian region via Georgia and Turkey to the European countries. At the initial stage, the gas produced from the second phase of development of Azerbaijani gas condensate field “Shah Deniz” is regarded as the main source for the “Southern Gas Corridor” project. At a later stage other sources can be connected to the project. Gas from the second stage of field development will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus pipeline and construction of Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) pipeline.


To summarize:

  • Again, as a few years ago, world politics is concentrated on the web of pipelines.
  • The battle is very intense and its outcome is difficult to predict. We have no less chances to win than our rivals.
  • Our President is forced to take the initiative in the most difficult times and act as heavy artillery to “break through” enemy’s positions.

We wish him success.

And helpers, who can be trusted with the most important missions…

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