Russia’s secret vodka pipeline

European governments frequently accuse Russia of playing pipeline politics with its energy supplies, but a group of enterprising smugglers found a way to keep a different kind of liquid fuel flowing into Eastern Europe. Estonian authorities recently discovered a two-kilometer underwater pipeline that was set up to pump cheap Russian vodka under a reservoir into ...

European governments frequently accuse Russia of playing pipeline politics with its energy supplies, but a group of enterprising smugglers found a way to keep a different kind of liquid fuel flowing into Eastern Europe.

Estonian authorities recently discovered a two-kilometer underwater pipeline that was set up to pump cheap Russian vodka under a reservoir into Estonia where it could be sold at a markup without export tarrifs. The smugglers managed to pump 6,200 liters of the stuff under the border before they were shut down.

With this supply cut off, Western diplomats will, no doubt, soon be dispatched to strong-arm Caucasian states into an amibitious trans-Caspian project to pump Uzbek vodka into southern Europe.

European governments frequently accuse Russia of playing pipeline politics with its energy supplies, but a group of enterprising smugglers found a way to keep a different kind of liquid fuel flowing into Eastern Europe.

Estonian authorities recently discovered a two-kilometer underwater pipeline that was set up to pump cheap Russian vodka under a reservoir into Estonia where it could be sold at a markup without export tarrifs. The smugglers managed to pump 6,200 liters of the stuff under the border before they were shut down.

With this supply cut off, Western diplomats will, no doubt, soon be dispatched to strong-arm Caucasian states into an amibitious trans-Caspian project to pump Uzbek vodka into southern Europe.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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