Russia's Foreign Energy Policy Towards the European Union
Prospects for Cooperation and Conflict
Keywords:Russia, Energy, Diplomacy, Europe, Foreign Policy
Much has been written on Russia's power over the price and supply of natural gas in Europe. But how exactly does Russia behave towards its European neighbours through its energy policy? In this article, I demonstrate that this energy policy is, in fact, bifurcated. Russia largely maintains a market-based policy towards its Western European customers, while its demeanour towards those in Central and Eastern Europe largely reflects its political ambitions. Russia is far too dependent on its energy relationship with the European Union to jeopardize it by abruptly altering pricing or supply. In contrast, the country uses its ability to provide (or revoke) preferential pricing and supply agreements in post-Communist Europe to maintain its political power in the region.