In the Caucasus, the United States and Russia are vying for control of the region. The great oil game is in full swing. Whoever controls the Caucasus and its roads, also controls the transport of oil that comes from the Caspian Sea.
Tbilisi, Erevan and Baku - the three capitals of the Caucasus. The oil from Baku in Azerbaijan is a strategic priority for all the major companies.
From the fortunes of the Nobel family to the Russian revolution, to World War II, oil from the Caucasus and the Caspian has played a central role. Lenin fixated on conquering the Azeri capital Baku for its oil, as did Stalin and Hitler.
On his birthday in 1941, Adolf Hitler received a chocolate and cream birthday cake, representing a map. He chose the slice with Baku on it.
On June 22nd 1941, the armies of the Third Reich invaded Russia. The crucial battle of Stalingrad was the key to the road to the Caucasus and Baku’s oil, and would decide the outcome of the war.
Stalin told his troops: "Fighting for one’s oil is fighting for one’s freedom."
After World War II, President Nikita Krushchev would build the Soviet empire and its Red Army with revenues from the USSR’s new-found oil reserves.
Decades later, oil would bring that empire to its knees, when Saudi Arabia and the US would conspire to open up the oil taps, flood the markets, and bring the price of oil down to $13 per barrel. Russian oligarchs would take up the oil mantle, only to be put in their place by their president, Vladimir Putin, who knows that oil is power.
The US and Putin‘s Russia would prop up despots, and exploit regional conflicts to maintain a grip on the oil fields of the Caucusus and the Caspian.
But they couldn't have forseen the rise of a new, strong and hungry China, with a seeming limitless appetite for oil and energy. Today, the U.S., Russia and China contest the control of the former USSR’s fossil fuel reserves, as well as the supply routes. The world watch on as they fought for control, a power war, between three ferocious beasts – The American eagle, the Russian bear, and the Chinese dragon.
Up next, the final installment in the series, Part Four, A Time for Lies.