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EU-Russia Relations in the Context of Energy Security : Analysis of Energy Securitization Discourses 2014-2017

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Title: EU-Russia Relations in the Context of Energy Security : Analysis of Energy Securitization Discourses 2014-2017
Author(s): Vanhanen, Katja
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master's Programme in (European and Nordic Studies)
Specialisation: Social Sciences
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2019
Abstract:
For long energy trade has been viewed as an important element of EU– (Soviet) Russia relations. The West European energy engagement with what was then Soviet Union that emerged in late 1960s over the next decades evolved into an important strategic partnership in between the European Union (EU) and the Russian Federation (Russia), with considerable degree of interdependence surrounding their energy ties. Although the EU-Russia energy relations are, in general, concerned with both oil and natural gas, in the present research the author narrowed down the notion of energy to natural gas assigning this commodity a unique importance in the analysis of energy politics between the two. This is given the difference in the structural and economic terms of its trade when compared to other types of fossil fuels, which leads to path-dependent nature of energy relations between the actors involved. The disruptions of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe in 2006 and 2009 as a result of Ukraine-Russia gas disputes already contributed to concerns in regards to security of Russian energy supplies and corresponding natural gas demand from the side of the EU in the light of long-standing interdependence of the energy trade between the two. That being said, the subsequent 2014 Ukrainian crisis involving Russia’s annexation of Crimea and yet another Ukraine-Russia gas dispute can be seen as a turning point in the EU-Russia relations in the context of energy trade. The present study drew from previous research on the topic and, using a securitization theory coined by Copenhagen School of Security Studies as an analytical framework, deploys discourse analysis as a methodological tool in order to examine series of political rhetoric over the years 2014-2017 pertaining to the issue of EU-Russia relations when it comes to security of energy supplies. The analysis of the content of both EU’s and Russia’s energy securitization discourses revealed a presence of some cross related key themes that demonstrate certain similarities as well as differences in actors’ interpretations of their mutual energy trade and the implications of such for each of the party’s respective energy securities. It may be argued that over the years 2014-2017 Russia has been going through the process of de-securitization of its energy relations with the European Union. That being said over the same period the EU has been going through the processes of securitization of its relations with Russian Federation.


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