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
Date Written: December 23, 2016
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
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