Russia and the Energy Charter: Long, Thorny and Winding Way to Each Other

Andrey Konoplyanik


The commentary analyses Russia’s ‘behavioural spiral’ in regard to the Energy Charter, starting with strong support since early 1990s and ending in exit from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) provisional application in October 2009. The improper evaluation of the ECT’s pros and cons for Russia and for withdrawal by the country’s authorities are examined, based on myths and misconceptions, generated, inter alia, by the European Union (EU). The article propones, that both the EU and Russia originally demonstrated a high interest in Energy Charter and its instruments, but since 2003, with further liberalisation of EU energy markets, expansion of the EU eastwards, signing of the Energy Community Treaty, the practical significance of the ECT for the EU began to sharply decline. The article argues that both the EU and Russia are equally responsible for Russia’s withdrawal from the ECT provisional application. It concludes that the Energy Charter is the only mutually beneficial legal fundament for Russia-EU energy cooperation and for creation of the common energy and economic space within the “broader energy Europe” and means an inevitable full return of Russia to the Energy Charter community, though the multi-facet Energy Charter process would change as well.


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