The myth of Russia’s energy strength

Vladimir Putin claims to lead an oil and gas superpower. But the West’s concerns about being held hostage by its energy needs are groundless

The World Today Updated 5 January 2021 Published 6 February 2015 3 minute READ

Ilya Zaslavskiy

The idea that Russia could achieve a strategic advantage over its neighbours through its energy resources is well known. After the start of the conflict in Ukraine last year, western media and energy experts suggested that Russia could use its energy power as part of its ‘hybrid war’. It is therefore worth looking closely at what is real and what is false in the Kremlin’s capabilities in the oil and gas sector.

In the early 2000s when global oil and gas prices began to rise, Vladimir Putin’s government formulated the idea that Russia should become an energy superpower. His doctoral thesis from late 1990s at the St Petersburg Mining Institute focuses on the advantages of state management of natural resources in Russia at a time of transition from a planned economy to capitalism.

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