New Approaches To Energy Security In The Baltic Sea Region: Russian Viewpoint
NEW APPROACHES TO ENERGY SECURITY IN THE BALTIC SEA REGION: RUSSIAN VIEWPOINT By 2050, we can expect dramatic changes in the global energy balance. At the beginning of 21st century, the configuration of the global energy market has begun to change due to a wide variety of both political and economic reasons. The formation of a European common gas market in the world of fierce competition among world exporters for short-term and long-term contracts, the growth of energy consumption in China, Japan, India, the growth of trade in liquefied natural gas 'shale revolution' are the most important. Russian energy policy nowadays is based on the fact that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and partly Poland are mostly focused on importing energy resources. For a long time during the Soviet period, Russia had a monopoly on the supply of natural gas to the Baltic states, but at that time the RSFSR was a friendly republic. Now Russia is politically perceived as an external threat to the energy security of these countries. Global political risks and the changes in the international security sphere forced the region to look for ways to stabilize energy supplies. A so-called 'third energy package', adopted in 2009, became a challenge and a threat to Russia's energy policy towards the countries of the European Union. Russian 'Gazprom' and other energy companies with state participation seek to maintain a stable relationship with the traditional consumers of Russian energy. But at this point and in this region they realize what is known as 'geopolitical' approach, defending national interests, for economic prosperity largely depends on exports. Is it possible to change their ways and to go from a geopolitical approach to geostrategic (integrative) one for the region - that is the question. This will depend on whether the Baltic countries are willing to transform from 'the last bastion of the West' to 'the bridge between East and West.' Signs of geostrategic (integrative) approach can be found in the energy policy of Russia in regards to Poland. In our opinion and according to the geostrategical approach, for a successful energy policy in the region Russia has to balance its own interests with those of the Western European countries, consumers of Russian resources. Perhaps, it would be a wise long term strategy to accept the 'third energy package' in the future. Energy Policy of Russia in the Baltic Sea should be determined by the following three ?i? notions: involvement, integration and innovation. We consider them to be not three different approaches, but three components of Russian geostrategy at present, including the energy dialogue between Russia and the EU.
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