Gazprom hikes Georgia gas prices


Gazprom hikes Georgia gas prices
Russian energy giant Gazprom is to almost double the price of the gas it provides to Georgia.

Political pressure is thought to be behind the decision, which would see the state-controlled energy firm charge $230 (£120) per 1,000 cubic metres of natural gas for its Georgian market from 2007.

With the current price standing at $130 (£68) per 1,000 cubic metres, analysts of the geopolitical situation in central Asia have concluded that pressures separate from those influencing the market price of natural gas in the region are at work in Gazprom's announcement.

As Gazprom's decision comes in the wake of wide-ranging anti-Georgian measures supported by Russia's duma, the link between the two is clear to Georgia's finance minister, Kakha Bendukidze.

"I don't know if this price is final but to me it is clear that this is not a market price, this is a political decision," the Reuters news agency reported Mr Bendukidze as saying.

Russia has imposed a series of repressive measures on its southern satellite state since Georgia expelled four people whom it accused of being spies in September.

Postal and transport links have been cut, illegal immigrants in Russia have been deported back to Georgia and Georgians living in Moscow have been forced to endure anti-Georgian demonstrations.

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