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Dankov, Artem

Russia’s energy foreign policy in post-Soviet space: a case study in the Eastern Baltic region.

In post-Soviet space, as anywhere, energy and politics are closely intertwined. Energy exports have played a significant role in Russia’s economy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Moreover, according to Russia’s official energy strategy to 2020, which was published in 2003, “energy security is the most important element in Russia’s national security”. But Russia has already faced with dramatic changes in global economy, decreasing of the EU’s energy consumption and Russian oil and gas export. Political situation in Russia also has already changed. Therefore, there is a dramatic need to better understand new Russia’s energy strategy, capacities and motivation. On the one hand, Finland and its neighbors in eastern Baltic region (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are 100% dependent on a single supplier in gas – Russia. These states consume about 9-10 billion cubic metres a year of gas, 40 % of which are taken by Finland. But on the other hand, these countries have already extremely decreased gas import from 10,9 bcm in 2007 to 8,8 bcm in 2012. In addition, Finland and Estonia are strong contenders for the location of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal with capacity about 4 bcm to help eastern Baltic region countries cut dependence on gas imports from Russia. Lithuania also has decided to build a smaller, floating import terminal with capacity of 2-3 bcm at Klaipeda port. The eastern Baltic States also want to build at least 2 new nuclear power stations. All these events can affect Russian dominance in energy sector in the eastern Baltic region. I want to try to present results of my research and discuss key elements of Russia’s energy foreign policy in the Eastern Baltic region in 2008-2012.