Russia’s militarised energy doctrine

IISS defence and security analyst Roger McDermott has recently published two versions (here and here) of an article on Russia’s new draft security strategy through 2020, in which one thing becomes patently clear: Russia envisages possible military conflict over energy resources. However, the global economic crisis has overtaken the strategy document, rendering part but not all of its contents currently obsolete. The military aspects, in particular, remain topical:

Strident in its tone, once again portraying an “image” of a resurgent Russia, the new security strategy was conceived and written during a period when the Russian political elites were in denial about the economic downturn that the country is currently experiencing. The devaluation of the ruble four times within one month and the lower price of oil on the world market give reason to doubt whether the tone will be matched in practical terms. Much of that depends on how successfully the Russian government handles its economic challenges. The Kremlin, however, is sending out a powerful signal that it will, if necessary, protect its energy interests with the use of military force; a contentious issue as Russia “pushes” its energy interests in the Arctic Circle.

One comment

  1. Interesting article.

    Related to this topic is the idea that wars in the future will be fought because of climate changes. While global warming is all the rage right now, the evidence seems to be growing stronger that the weather for the majority of the land masses north of the equator is getting colder. (Polar ice cap melting inhibits the gulf stream, which brings warmer water north.) This will shorten the growing season for a large percentage of arable land, reducing the food supply as population increases. Competition for arable land in warmer climates will drive nations like Russia, who inhabit more northern regions, toward warmer regions to the south. This will not happen in a friendly manner, to put it nicely.

    Something not mentioned in the articles linked to is the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), which is similar to the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) that is mentioned. The SCO includes China, a country which few are wanting to connect with Russia in any strategically-meaningful way. This is a potentially dangerous oversight by Western geopolitical analysts.

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