Month: March 2022

Background Briefing: March 31, 2022


Is Putin’s Real Target in Ukraine the Energy Riches in the East of the Country?

We begin with President Biden’s announcement of using one million barrels a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help lower the price of gas and ease the pain at the pump and today’s announcement by Germany that Putin’s demand to pay for Russian gas in roubles is blackmail as Putin issues a deadline of Friday to give in to his blackmail. Joining us to discuss how democratic countries are dealing with the devil since so much of the world’s oil and gas comes from countries ruled by despots and dictators is David Knight Legg, a Canadian energy expert. He is the founding CEO and Board Senior Advisor of Invest Alberta and the former Chairman of the Environmental, Social and Governance Working Group of the Province of Alberta. We look into his quote in The New York Times that “under the guise of an invasion, Putin is executing an enormous heist” in Ukraine where his real target is the energy riches in the east which contain Europe’s second-largest known deposits of natural gas after Norway. Furthermore Putin’s earlier seizure of Crimea captured huge offshore energy fields and the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk contain part of an enormous shale-gas field.


How Much is Putin Vulnerable to a Backlash from Parents of Dead Sons?

Then we assess the extent to which Putin is vulnerable to a backlash from Russian parents as the bodies of their sons are returned from Ukraine since the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee is one of the few non-governmental organizations Putin has not closed down. Joining us is Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Professor; Professor of Politics at New York University who studies authoritarian leaders. He is the author of a number of books including the Dictator’s Handbook and The Logic of Political Survival and we discuss the growing possibility of an inside coup against Putin.


“Finally, a Road Map to Hold Trump Accountable?”

Then finally we speak with Fred Wertheimer, the Founder and President of Democracy 21, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes campaign finance, lobbying, ethics and related reforms to accomplish these goals. Wertheimer has spent 35 years working on government integrity issues and we discuss his article at CNN, “Finally, a road map to hold Trump accountable.”