China’s threat to Russia’s Far East: Real or perceived?
The vulnerability of Russia’s Far Eastern and Siberian regions to Chinese expansion has become a truism. Yet most Russians seem to favor closer ties with China, and bilateral relations may be at their best in history, without a trace of military or political tension. There are also few signs of Chinese economic penetration, at least on a level that exceeds Japan’s or South Korea’s. Migration pressure from China into the underpopulated Russian north may be the hollowest of these popular myths.
Turkey’s energy foreign policy at a crossroads
Energy cooperation between Turkey and Russia has ramped up in recent years. If it grows any closer, it could threaten EU interests, especially the key Southern Gas Corridor project. But Turkey's own interests are also at risk if its dependence on Russian gas supplies grows. The question is whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will prioritize diversification – and therefore cooperation with the EU and Azerbaijan – or placating his domestic political allies.
GIS Dossier: Europe as a global player – the basics
As tensions increase within the transatlantic alliance, Europe has begun to reconsider its own place in the world. With the U.S. continuing a long-term strategic retrenchment, its allies across the Atlantic may need to grow beyond their role as Washington’s junior partners. From the migrant crisis to the Iran nuclear deal, from trade wars to dealing with Vladimir Putin, Europe is being forced to declare itself. Will it act like a great power or an imposter?
Turkey’s energy dilemma: Brussels or Moscow?
The relationship between Turkey and the EU has been rocky ever since the political crackdown after last year’s coup. Moscow has stepped in to enhance cooperation with Ankara, especially in energy. While Turkey is attempting to limit its dependence on Russian gas imports, all its options are complicated. This new relationship between Turkey and Russia has stark consequences for Europe’s energy security.
The limited global impact of Trump’s ‘America First’ energy policies
Coal is back in the U.S., with production and exports rising. This has coincided with a President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies in the energy sector. But coal’s comeback is more a function of market forces than politics. And it could be short-lived. Despite all the sound and fury, Mr. Trump's initiatives to support fossil fuels will have far less of an impact on energy markets and global efforts to reduce climate change than his critics claim. Europe, however, could still benefit.
Another twist in the Gazprom saga
Until recently, the EU deliberately shielded its gas business with Russia from the disruption caused by turbulent East-West politics. Now a new round of anti-Kremlin sanctions imposed by the U.S. Congress and the shale gas revolution threaten to upset the complicated energy relationship.
The myth of cheap Russian gas
As arguments swirl over the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, one thing is taken for granted – Gazprom can sell gas cheaper than rival suppliers. But reserves of low-cost gas from Russia’s West Siberian fields are dwindling, while output from the new Yamal fields must be heavily subsidized to offset high production and transport costs. The European Union could be entering an era when U.S. LNG is fully cost competitive or even cheaper than Russian gas, if it doesn’t let Russia distort the market.
The risks of German unilateralism on Nord Stream 2
Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the most controversial energy project in Europe, is putting strain on Germany’s relationship with other European Union members. Berlin’s support of the project at the expense of other partners could deepen rifts in the EU and lead to a renationalization of energy policies, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
The South Caucasus – a conflict zone
South Ossetia’s land grab by a vital east-west oil pipeline in Georgia and more fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh illustrate a key fact about the South Caucasus – Russia is just fine with the status quo.
Russia’s pivot to China: a bridge to nowhere
For Moscow, strategic partnership with China was supposed help put wind in Russia’s economic sails – in particular through diversifying its exports and improving its economic footprint in Siberia. More recently, this “pivot to Asia” is also being used to balance off the West politically, after the war in Ukraine ratcheted up tension between Russia and NATO. The problem is that China refuses to see things quite the same way.