This is not the first time that Russia has used hydrocarbons as a tool to increase political pressure.
In 2003, Latvia saw its oil supply cut off under the pretext of mistreating the country’s Russian-speaking minority. Shortly after the 2005 election of the pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s gas supply dried up during the depths of winter. In 2006, Gazprom doubled the price of gas exported to Georgia after Russian officers were accused of espionage. 2006 also saw Russia citing a ‘leak’ as the reason for reduced supplies to Lithuania - after a Lithuanian refiner was sold to a Polish company in preference to a Russian bid.