Putin's Eastern Gas Deals Are Just for Show

Russia is trying to present ongoing negotiations with China and Turkey as done deals to put on a brave face before the West. The fiction is beginning to show cracks.

Not quite ready to build a pipeline to China.

Photographer: Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

Ever since Russia became something of a rogue state in the eyes of its European energy clients, it has tried to demonstrate that it can mostly do without them -- if not immediately, then in a few years' time. Two major deals have been announced since the annexation of Crimea, one with China and the other with Turkey. It looks increasingly likely, however, that neither of these is a deal in any conventional sense and that Russia is merely putting on a desperate show.

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