With or Without South Stream ? Russia’s energy strategy between the European Union and Turkey

By Laurent VINATIER, Associate Fellow at the Thomas More Institute, Director of the Project on Emerging Actors (Brussels), author of La Russie de Poutine à Medvedev (director, Paris, Unicomm, 2008)

July 2009

On paper, Russia’s energy strategy could not be better. It is theoretically perfect. Connecting directly the huge Russian gas reserves to European Union’s markets, both in North and South, bypassing thus potentially unreliable transit countries, especially Ukraine and the Baltic States, appears to be a major geopolitical coup. It does not only reinforce European Union members’ dependency on Russian supplies, but it also significantly increases Russia’s bargaining levers with its closest neighbouring “satellites” (Belarus and Ukraine) and partners (Turkey), while building strategic economic ties with major energy European companies.