Chapter 7: Russia’s Central and Eastern European Energy Transit Corridor: Ukraine and Belarus
Margarita M. Balmaceda INTRODUCTION This chapter looks at the formation of Russia’s energy policies by examining the coexistence, synergy and competition between various frames guiding the behaviour of Russian actors in foreign energy relations. It takes as a case study Russia’s energy relationship with its main transit partners, Ukraine and Belarus. In addition to their transit role, these two countries are both heavily dependent on Russia for energy. This is an important element that affects their interaction with Russian players. In addition, their common feature of transit specifically to European markets implies a similar role in the value-added chain of Russian energy actors. The chapter first briefly presents the prevailing approaches to Russian energy relations with the energy-poor transit states. The second section proposes an alternative explanatory framework for understanding this relationship. The third section applies the model to shed light on important instances of Russian oil and gas policies vis-à-vis Ukraine and Belarus during the period 1994–2010. CONVENTIONAL EXPLANATIONS AND THEIR LIMITATIONS Our knowledge of energy relations between Russia and post-Soviet transit states such as Ukraine and Belarus has so far been rather superficial. While this has partially to do with the inherent difficulties of data-gathering in an area marked by lack of transparency, part of the problem may lie in our explanatory frameworks themselves. Conventional knowledge about Russian energy interactions with its energy-poor transit neighbours comes in two main varieties, focusing on the energy superpower and business frames (see Chapter 2). 136 Russia’s central and eastern...
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