BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2019/21

President Vladimir Putin last week (May 13) approved Russia’s updated energy security doctrine. The document includes a list of general challenges and threats to Russia’s national energy security, as well as desirable policy measures. Energy security is interpreted to comprise of both uninterrupted domestic energy distribution as well as smooth flow of energy exports. Energy security in Russia’s case is an inextricable part of its foreign, fiscal and national security policies.

While the energy security doctrine notes that the global shift to renewable energy poses challenges for Russia, the proposed response is to increase support for the oil & gas sector rather than fund development of renewable energy sources or new technology. The policy of import substitution has particular prominence, and import substitution was strongly evident already in the economic security strategy approved in May 2017. The energy security doctrine takes a positive view of international efforts to mitigate climate change as long as they do not interfere with Russia’s national interests. The document gives only scarce consideration for domestic security threats such as mismanagement and corruption, which may partly explain events like the contamination of the Druzhba oil pipeline.

Energy sector development goals will be tackled in detail in a separate energy strategy. The current energy strategy, which extends to 2030, was approved in 2009. The updating of the strategy has taken years. Its most recent cabinet discussions was postponed from April to December this year. The energy strategy update (ES-2035) was supposed to be approved already in 2014.