Russia in Conflict

Vladimir Putin's regional roulette has many fronts but just two primary stakes: oil and pride. Russia is nursing border disputes with Norway and Japan, but the real emotional outbursts come with the former Soviet states, many of whom are sidling up to NATO or the E.U. Among the weapons wielded: troop deployments, trade embargoes and immigration quotas. Late last year Russia hiked gas and oil prices to Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine, all countries resisting the Kremlin's political embrace. With former satellites like Azerbaijan planning oil pipelines that bypass Russia, expect more hurt feelings--and more rough play.

[This article consists of a...

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