Lower prices in the oil market have a negative impact, especially on the US economy, but not so much for Russia. According to some experts, the current decline in oil prices is artificial, that the West is trying to coerce Russia into geopolitical surrender. They allege that the USA fully controls the global internet, and that it can kick Russia out of it at any time. Furthermore, these sources claim that Russian high-tech industry is largely (in some areas, critically) dependent on Western imports. Finally, they state that the West controls the lion’s share of the global news media, which allows it to form the informational picture that the world receives. Can Russia effectively face the West under such conditions and defend its national interests, in particular, in the Ukraine? To find out the answers, we turned to well-known journalist and political pundit A A Vasserman.
As for oil, the claim that the oil sheikhs of Arabia are in cahoots with the USA against Russia is without foundation. The real initiator of the partial collapse of the world oil market is Saudi Arabia, but it isn’t playing on the American side, rather, it’s against them. Fact is, the Americans are actively developing shale oil and gas fields, and want to sell on the world market. If they were to do so, it’d spoil the Arabs’ business. Therefore, Riyadh took preventive measures. Using a decline in world oil prices, the Saudis sought to make the development of shale deposits in the USA (the cost of which is very high) unprofitable. Such deposits are financially insolvent when the price of oil falls below 80 USD (3,350 Roubles. 490 Renminbi. 4,920 INR. 90 CAD. 92 AUD. 64 Euros. 50 UK Pounds) per barrel. The Saudis have accumulated sufficient financial reserves to wait about two years before the current American wells are exhausted. They calculated their budget upon a 90 USD (3,920 Roubles. 550 Renminbi. 5,530 INR. 101 CAD. 103 AUD. 72 Euros. 56 UK Pounds) per barrel oil price. Russia’s budget assumes a 95 USD (4,140 Roubles. 580 Renminbi. 5,840 INR. 107 CAD. 109 AUD. 76 Euros. 60 UK Pounds) price… the difference is insignificant. However, the cost of oil production in Russia is somewhere around 35 USD (1,470 Roubles. 215 Renminbi. 2,150 INR. 39 CAD. 40 AUD. 28 Euros. 22 UK Pounds)… American shale oil costs about 80 USD to extract. Therefore, even if the USA leaves the oil and gas market due to falling energy prices, we’d still make a profit. Consequently, even if we assume that the USA is playing this game to harm Russia, it’d be very difficult tor the Americans to win it.
As regards the so-called “critical dependency” of Russia upon Western goods, I’d emphasise that Russia isn’t Papua New Guinea (with all due respect to the Papuans); our country still has a strong scientific and engineering base, which is quite able to replace supposedly critical imports with articles of own development. They can bar us from the global internet, but it wouldn’t be as disastrous as some think. Fact is, RF sources already duplicate virtually all essential online internet resources; today, work in this direction has significantly accelerated. In addition, the West would hardly dare to take such a step, for the simple reason that it distributes the lion’s share of its anti-Russian propaganda through the internet. Therefore, it’s positively fruitless. If they do have a go at it, then, they’d realise that they’d landed themselves in a situation where they’d lose the information war. However, by then, it’d be over; it’d turn out like when people say, “It’s too late to drink Borzhomi“*. Don’t forget, Russia can use very effectively to its advantage in its confrontation with the West the fact that the modern West is extremely heterogeneous and internally contradictory. Playing on these differences, especially between the USA and the EU, Russia could come up with a very significant positive result. Therefore, in fact, Russia holds the trump cards in its confrontation with the West in its confrontation with the West… the West doesn’t.
25 October 2014
Ukraina.ru Rossiya Segodnya
* «Поздно пить боржоми, когда почки отказали»… “When your kidneys crap out, it’s too late to drink Borzhomi”. A Russian way of saying, “To lock the gate after the horse escaped”. This proverbial expression expresses the idea that something isn’t only futile; it’s fatuous and vacuous.