Russia’s oil and gas wealth has been central to the country’s economic revival and the recovery of its strength and self-confidence since the 1998 default. These energy resources are also a tool of foreign policy. The most well-known instances concern the cuts in gas supply during the last decade to Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia—with European states further west suffering collateral damage.
Yet the relationship between oil and Russian foreign policy has received much less attention, even though Russia is currently the world’s largest producer. By building new pipelines and terminals, using supplies to gain control of key infrastructure, keeping other CIS oil producers’ dependent on Russian pipelines, and opening a new window on Asia, Russia’s state agencies and oil companies have helped to shape the country’s relations with neighbours from west to east.
Dr Nicholas Redman is Senior Fellow for Geopolitical Risk and Economic Security, as well as being the Editor of the Adelphi book series, the Institute’s principal contribution to policy-relevant research. He joined the IISS from the Economist Intelligence Unit, where from 2005-10 he was editor in chief of ViewsWire, a daily online service providing political and economic analysis, and was a senior analyst in the Eastern Europe/CIS team from 2002-10. He has a DPhil in International Relations from St Antony’s College, Oxford, and lectured for a year at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London.
This meeting was chaired by Adam Ward, Director of Studies at the IISS and took place in the Virginia Woolf Room at Bloomsbury House, 2-3 Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1A 2RL.