Gas Unity Move from Russia: Transforming Energy and Economic Elements to Political Instrument

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Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Aleksandr Novak, who spoke at the fourth Russia-China Energy Trade Forum organized in Moscow, stated that Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan have had a single gas-carrying system since the Soviet Union and big opportunities to widen reciprocal cooperation Another issue that Novak mentioned in his speech was oil prices. In this context, he pointed out that even if it is more profitable, Russia will not make oil shipments at the ceiling price. The issue that is lastly mentioned and of utmost importance in terms of both global economy and politics is that the central banks of Russia and China have developed various payment systems in order not to use the SWIFT system, and in this way, payments will be converted into national currencies for oil, petroleum products and coal shipments.

At the fourth Russia-China Business Forum, economic options, and preferences, which are specifically expressed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and from time to time by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and other senior decision-makers, are to be read as the financial interests of the regional-oriented foreign policy of Moscow in the short term is deficient. Rather, these options can be interpreted as attempts to implement the global vision.

As it is known, there is only one gas transportation system that has been used since the Soviet Union in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. However, both Novak and other economic and political elites are working out that there are great opportunities to develop cooperation, including the supply and processing of natural gas.

After the end of the Cold War and therefore the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which can be called an empire, the Kremlin administration, which solved its internal problems to a large extent, regained self-confidence in the context of regional and global geopolitics, and realized a challenge with a revisionist foreign policy, the challenge could only be met with military instruments and methods. He realized that he was unlikely to be successful. In line with this awareness, it can be said by Putin and his team that the use of soft power tools is important in addition to hard power tools to affect global balances rather than regional balances and to establish a balance in favour of Moscow. These developments also show that these tools have been adopted.

It took time for Russia, which was idle for a while in the political and economic system on a global scale after the 1990s, to both read the current conjuncture and structural dynamics, and put forward a strategic vision for it. In the 2020s, the European-oriented Russian revisionism, which was expected by some Western strategists, especially US strategists, has become the reality of international politics. The fact that Russia, which succeeded in achieving its goals with military methods in the examples of Georgia, Syria, and Crimea, is very unlikely to approach its global targets with these means in the Ukraine adventure, brought new cards to the game.

What is meant by the new cards; in fact, they are energy and economy cards that have been used in international relations since the past and have recently become indispensable tools of foreign policy with the necessity of transnationalism and interdependence. These two phenomena are not separate from each other; on the contrary, they are two significant components that have a direct and indirect relationship between them and affect the power and influence capacity of actors in international relations.

Along with the expansion and aggravation of the sanctions imposed by the West with the Russia-Ukraine War, the existence of a China-centered imperial threat in the Central Asian geography, which Moscow treats as its “backyard” and living space, has revealed the necessity for Russia to face competition and conflict on two fronts.

Although there is a cooperative relationship between Moscow and Beijing and an informal alliance against the global hegemony of the US, in the famous words of the famous British politician Lord Palmerston, states (Britain) do not have eternal enemies and friends, they have unchangeable interests. What is emphasized from the unchanging interests is not the constancy of the interests; is the constancy and immutability of the phenomenon of interest.

Nowadays, Russia, because of the desire to become a power on a global scale, first in Eurasia, and then return to the empire, or because of the conditions pushing in this direction, on the one hand, while struggling with the West; on the other hand, it is to forestall China in the backyard, that is, in the center of the East. Therefore, Russia declares that it has entered the global competition with Western actors in the West and East.

In a nutshell, the Kremlin, which planned to build economic cooperation and, accordingly, integration and then hegemony in the region, which it considered as the former imperial area, did this rather than just an economic design; considers it as a strategic tool to achieve political goals and achieve global-scale goals.

As the next move, it can be suggested as a very reasonable future scenario to wait for new options to come to the fore, in which the steps of rapprochement with Germany will intensify.

Dr. Kadir Ertaç ÇELİK
ANKASAM Uluslararası İlişkiler Danışmanı Dr. Kadir Ertaç ÇELİK, lisans eğitimini Uludağ Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde, yüksek lisans ve doktora eğitimini ise Gazi Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda tamamlamıştır. Günümüzde Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü öğretim üyesi olan Çelik’in başlıca çalışma alanları Uluslararası ilişkiler kuramları, Amerikan dış politikası, Türk Dünyası, güvenlik ve stratejidir.