Journal Article - Geopolitics
Uncovering the Domestic Factor in the Sino-Russian Energy Partnership
What explains the differences in the Sino-Russian oil and gas cooperation? Overall, I suggest, the several trajectories are explained by the dissimilarities of oil and gas as commodities and potential foreign policy tools. These differences, along with other factors, such as corporate culture and individual personalities, shed light on the strategies of Russia’s gas conglomerates, Gazprom and Rosneft. Yet, if a more nuanced understanding of variation within these energy markets illuminates the reasons behind the sequencing of oil and gas cross-border pipeline projects, what explains the particular timing of the landmark 2014 gas deal? Why after 15 years of stalemate in the Sino-Russian gas cooperation did breakthroughs occur in 2014? And what explains the modesty of the record in gas cooperation to date? Many factors are undoubtedly involved, both economic and political; however, I contend that the conclusive factor can be found in underlying domestic politics.
The article outlines the role of national narratives in driving both Russia and China’s energy foreign policy and goes on to argue that the Sino-Russian gas breakthrough in 2014 was due to the peculiar way in which domestic factors paired with international circumstances to produce the outcome at that particular moment.
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In the Spotlight
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