In June 1997, a stone-faced former KGB lieutenant colonel, fluent in English and German, received his Ph.D. from the St. Petersburg State Mining Institute for his 218-page thesis "Mineral Raw Materials in the Strategy for Development of the Russian Economy."
Yes, the name of that former KGB agent is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation.
Putin knows very well how important a geostrategic commodity energy is.
As far as natural resources are concerned Russia's hand is very strong: It holds 6.6 percent of the world's proven oil reserves and 26 percent of the world's gas reserves.
In addition, it currently accounts for 12 percent of world oil and 21 of recent world gas production. In May 2007, Russia was the world's largest oil and gas producer.
How about Russia's energy customers? They are becoming more dependent on imports. For example, in the EU, Russia's largest customer, domestic production of oil and gas is declining while consumption is increasing.