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Russian Challenges

Between Freedom and Energy

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Edited By Galina Michaleva and Andrey Ryabov

This book analyses the influence that oil and gas have on various sides of Russia’s contemporary internal and foreign policy. On the one hand, the factor oil and gas enabled the ruling elite to strengthen the state institutions and to stabilize Russia’s political and social system after decades of instability. Relying on the new economic opportunities contributed to the growth of revenues of the mass sections of population, and owing to the increased export of natural fuel resources Russia significantly strengthened its influence on international politics. But on the other hand, authoritarian tendencies increased in politics. The contributions of this book inquire into the gradually declining role of independent actors in relation to the government, and the increasing authority of the elites in power who continue to represent their corporate interests as being national ones.

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Fyodor Lukyanov - Russia–EU Relations: The Impact of the Energy Boom - 93

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Fyodor Lukyanov Russia–EU Relations: The Impact of the Energy Boom It is a well known fact that oil and gas export play an extremely important role in Russian foreign policy. The export of hydrocarbons is considered by Russian officials as an advantage of the country in international relations and simultaneously as a strategic resource to strengthen Russia’s influence in the global policy. During the last years the energy agenda has been turning the score in Russia–EU relations. Despite their mutual economic dependence, both sides have unsuccessfully attempted to impose their own strategy and vision of cooperation in this sphere upon the other. The future of Russia– EU relations in energy issues causes many questions and different assessments. The goal of this article is to examine different factors related to Russian oil and gas export that have influenced Russia– EU relations during the energy boom and try to predict what effect energy issues will have upon these relations in the closest future. In mid-2003, crude oil prices on global markets exceeded the aver- age world price in the period from 1947 to 2007 ($ 26.16 per barrel). Since then, oil prices – and the demand for oil – have been quickly and steadily growing.1 As opposed to previous peak periods – in 1974 after the Arab oil embargo, and in 1980 after the Islamic Revolution in Iran – it is reliability of supply, rather than oil prices per se, that is now on top of the agenda for the developed world....

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