Russian Gas Games or Well-Oiled Conflict? Energy Security and the 2014 Ukraine Crisis

Energy Research & Social Science, 2017 (Forthcoming)

13 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2016

See all articles by Thijs Van de Graaf

Thijs Van de Graaf

Ghent University

Jeff Colgan

Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Date Written: December 23, 2016

Abstract

This essay explores the link between energy security and the 2014 Ukraine crisis. Whenever there is an international conflict involving a major oil or gas producer, commentators are often quick to assume a direct link, and the Ukraine crisis was no exception. Yet, the various avenues through which energy politics has affected the Ukraine crisis, and vice versa, are not well understood. This paper seeks to shed light on the issue by addressing two specific questions. First, how exactly did energy contribute to the crisis in the region? Second, can energy be wielded as a 'weapon' by Russia, the EU, or the US? We find that Russian gas pricing played a crucial role as a context factor in igniting the Ukrainian crisis, yet at the same time we guard against 'energy reductionism', that is, the fallacy of attributing all events to energy-related issues. We also note that there are strict limits to the so-called energy weapon, whoever employs it. In the conclusion we provide a discussion of the policy implications of these findings.

Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, energy sanctions, oil and gas weapon

Suggested Citation

Van de Graaf, Thijs and Colgan, Jeff, Russian Gas Games or Well-Oiled Conflict? Energy Security and the 2014 Ukraine Crisis (December 23, 2016). Energy Research & Social Science, 2017 (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2889179

Thijs Van de Graaf (Contact Author)

Ghent University ( email )

Universiteitstraat 8
Ghent, 9000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.thijsvandegraaf.be

Jeff Colgan

Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs ( email )

111 Thayer Street
Box 1970
Providence, RI 02912-1970
United States

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