Turkmenistan tilts to West following pipeline blast?

After Turkmenistan accused the Russian state energy company Gazprom of causing a pipeline explosion by giving less than a day’s notice before abruptly cutting its imports, observers see heightened tension between Moscow and Ashgabat. Dimitri Alexandrov, an analyst for the investments company Financial Bridge, said “that kind of explosion can only happen when the pipes are defective…. [T]he tone of the Turkmenistani Foreign Minister’s accusation suggests that this is a political issue.”

In late March, Turkmenistan refused to sign an agreement which Moscow had presumed was guaranteed, which would have meant that gas from Turkmenistan was distributed through Russian pipelines. Turkmenistan’s recent statements relating to the possibility of taking part in a Nabucco project loan weight to the fear that Ashgabat is aiming to weaken Russia’s position in Central Asia. (AGI, BBC News, April 10)

See our last posts on Turkmenistan and the Great Game for Central Asia.

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