When the EU talks of a 'Common Foreign Policy' on energy, you need to be aware
of exactly who you propose to do business with.
President Putin is on record as saying:"The Commission should be under no illusions, if it wants to buy Russian gas; it has to deal with the Russian state".
Gazprom is not a private company; it is a state controlled tool of Russian foreign policy.
It is, moreover, in the hands of Putin's political henchmen, and allegedly organised crime.
Take for example Alisher Usmanov. This gentleman, the son of a Communist apparatchik, is chairman of Gazprom Invest Holdings, the group that handles Gazprom's business activities outside Russia. He is the man you will be dealing with. He is the man who cuts off gas supplies if client states dare to question Gazprom's demands.
Allegedly a gangster and racketeer, he served a 6 year jail sentence in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, his eventual pardon coming at the behest of Uzbek mafia chief and heroin overlord Gafur Rakimov, described as Usmanov's "mentor".
Usmanov bought the newspaper 'Kommersant'. 3 months later, the journalist Ivan Safronov, a critic of the Putin regime who just weeks earlier had been "vigorously interrogated" by the FSB, as the KGB is now called, mysteriously fell to his death from his apartment window still clutching a bag of shopping.
According to Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, it was Usmanov who ordered the cutting off of supplies to Georgia earlier this year. Please take note, Mr President, that the Kremlin has now refused to sanction the construction of a pipeline to the EU over Georgian territory.
These are the people you want to do business with. These are the people you are moulding your 'foreign policy on energy' around.
Mr Commissioner, good luck: You'll need it.
I do hope that Mr Usmanov has not paid that latest invoice from Schillings yet...