Date of Graduation

Fall 2012


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


Russia, European Union, natural gas, energy weapon, instrument of state power

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The European Union relies on a mixture of energy supplies to meet its energy demands, but the most contentious is its reliance on Russian energy. Russia currently supplies almost thirty percent of the European Union's natural gas energy needs, and each country in the European Union is dependent on Russian natural gas to a different extent. In recent years there have been charges made against Russia that it wields its natural gas supplies as an "energy weapon” against its customers. What exactly is an "energy weapon?” How can it be wielded by one country against another? Is it uniformly used against all Russian customers? This thesis will 1) cite examples of historical uses of energy in the international arena, 2) explain each side of the debate surrounding Russia's use or nonuse of energy as a weapon or tool of statecraft, 3) examine Russia's stated energy policy and how it applies to various countries, 4) look at European alternatives to Russian natural gas for its energy needs, and 5) examine the factors that could influence Europe's continued reliance or rejection of Russian natural gas to meet its future energy requirements. The European Union has alternative energy options than relying on Russian natural gas, but outside factors will influence the future of each country's energy policies as the European Union does not currently have a unified energy policy. Russia has and will continue to exploit the divided energy policies' of the European Union while employing energy as an instrument of state power.


© Meghan B. Morgan

Campus Only