Russia is, for all intents and purposes, a corporation with the trappings of a nation-state. The core business of the Russian corporation is energy, its production and transport (as a result, Gazprom, Russia's key subsidiary, will likely become the world's most valuable publicly traded corporation, valued at over $1 trillion). Internally, production consolidation has led to the destruction of corporate competitors, to include domestic corporations (Yukos) and foreign partners (most recently BP). Externally, the focus has been on consolidating control over energy transportation (pipelines) and downstream integration (Europe, via soft pressure). Recent actions to control energy transportation include:
- Estonia. Estonia had a lucrative business shipping Russian energy resources via its ports (i.e. Muuga). To protect this business, Estonia tried to block the construction of a Baltic pipeline that would have allowed Russia to send resources directly to Europe. The result was a Russian economic blockade of the country and a cyberattack by "patriotic" Russian hackers on Estonian computer systems.
- Ukraine. To protect its low cost purchases of Russian energy, Ukraine began to exert control over Russian pipeline traversing its territory. Russia cut off supplies.
- Georgia. The construction of the BTC pipeline (1 million barrels a day, currently Azeri and potentially Kazakh oil) that bypassed Russian control led to intentional systems disruption that led to a weeklong energy blackout, support for domestic insurgents, and (most recently) a military invasion.
The Poison Pill
Georgia's mistake, and it is a common one, is that it thought that connectivity to the global system (as well as the US) was a viable defense against a hostile Russian takeover. As a result, it became a vital cog in the BTC and a willing participant in the US adventure in Iraq. That defense proved mostly hollow. In short, the only real defense against hostile takeovers by aggressive corporate states is to make the cost of the acquisition too expensive for the acquirer. The way to do this is through the development of a poison pill: the intentional disruption of Russian energy pipelines (see, "The Example of Georgia" January 2006 and "JOURNAL: Can Georgia become a micropower?" October 2006 for more on this). Global guerrilla methods, particularly cyber/physical disruption, compliment interconnection as part of a Micropower defense strategy.