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Russian Natural Gas: Regional Dependence

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Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22562

Topic: Energy (Natural gas industry)

Coverage: Russia (Federation)


Russia is the dominant natural gas supplier to Europe and neighboring former Soviet states, as well as a major provider of oil. Some countries are entirely or largely dependent upon Russian energy supplies, particularly other Soviet successor states. As such, Russia has some ability to dictate natural gas prices. Russia cut off the gas supply to Ukraine and to Moldova in January 2006 and threatened to cut off gas supplies to Belarus and Georgia during late 2006 price negotiations. These and other actions in the interim damaged Russia's reputation as a reliable energy supplier, spurred importing countries to seek other sources, and provoked criticism that it is using energy as a political tool.