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Demystifying Russia’s Energy Strategy toward China : Strategic Manipulation or Unwitting Vulnerability ?

Puce noire 16 avril 2010

This paper investigates the implications of Russia’s energy strategy for its international relations with China and stature as an energy supplier. The paper argues that, in spite of common interests and inter-dependence on the energy level, China and Russia hold antinomic conceptions of energy security. As a result, energy inter-dependence is perceived as a threat which, in turn, creates a division on issues relating to their mutual energy security and reduces the prospects for cooperation. The paper further argues that, in order to avoid dependency on foreign demand and to keep control on the production as well as on the flows of energy, Russia is conducting a strategy aimed at manipulating the behavior of its clients. The paper concludes that this ‘manipulative strategy’ has failed to gain leverage against China, thereby raising the stakes of Russia’s vulnerability to market dependency.

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