Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Russian energy power in Europe and war: positioning, preparing?

Fri31  Mar01:15pm(15 mins)
Humanities Lecture Theatre 255


Ingerid Opdahl1
1 Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, NDUC, Norway


Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia’s use of its role as energy provider to Europe to influence European support for Ukraine has warranted much public discussion. The use of energy, especially gas, to put Europe under pressure has often been obvious. However, it is important that scholars analyse Russia’s positioning in Europe’s energy supply in the years preceding the full-scale invasion. It is now possible to understand that positioning in a context of war preparations. This paper analyses Russian energy power the better to understand war preparations (2014–22) and as an element of economic warfare during the war. The aim is twofold: first, to discuss how developments in deliveries, market presence and infrastructure affected Russia’s options for power projection towards Europe ahead of and following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Second, to analyse Russia’s power projection through energy within a framework of prevailing Russian ideas about its role as a great power in Europe. The analysis will include a timeline for the period 2014–23, with details of Russian gas supplies, market presence, control of infrastructure such as pipelines and storage collected from openly available sources. It is an additional aim to contribute to the discussion about when preparations for a full-scale invasion started.