Russian Energy Aggression 2000-2008: A Multiple Case Study of Russian Energy Aggression During Vladimir Putin’s Presidency
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This thesis seeks to explain what triggered cases of Russian energy aggression during Vladimir Putin's presidency. Previous studies on the subject have largely focused on single cases or a small sample of cases, whereas this thesis has performed a comparative multiple case study on 13 cases of Russian energy aggression in seven former Soviet Union republics (Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine). The thesis addresses the research question through an analysis of three hypotheses. The hypotheses are concerned with whether economic interests, political considerations, or interest in energy infrastructure triggered the cases of Russian energy aggression. The comparative analysis shows that although all three hypotheses to a varying degree explain two or more cases of Russian energy aggression, the relative merit of the hypotheses shows that interest in energy infrastructure is the strongest explanatory variable. Nine out of 13 cases are primarily or secondarily explained by Russian interest in energy infrastructure. The dissolution of the Soviet Union left Russia in a situation where it no longer controlled the distribution network of oil and gas exports to Europe. The importance of oil and gas revenues for the Russian economy increased throughout Putin’s presidency, which led the Russian state to exert energy aggression on neighbouring countries through state-controlled companies in order to acquire ownership in their oil and gas infrastructure.