Poisoned by Gas: Domestic Networks and Energy Security Strategy in Ukraine

Traditional views of energy security hold that states without reserves of oil and gas should seek to diversify their supply, therefore reducing dependency on any one supplier. Conversely, this view also holds that states with large reserves are believed to use this advantage as political leverage over their consumers. However, empirically we observe a wide variation in energy security strategies by dependent states. While some states do choose costly diversification, this paper introduces a new concept of energy security strategy: active dependence. Under active dependence, states that are reliant on a single supplier of energy do not succeed at pursuing diversification policies, but rather focus on increasing ties with their main supplier state across a host of issues. This active dependence often manifests through a number of cooperative initiatives with their supplier state and favorable energy contract renegotiations. Given the extreme variation in consumer state behavior, what explains variation in the choice of energy security strategy in energy dependent states? Using the case of European natural gas dependent states in the post-Cold War period, I present a theoretical model accounts for regional variation in consumer vulnerability and choice of energy security policy. I argue that two main variables contribute to the choice of either diversification or active dependence as an energy security policy: the presence of energy veto players and the presence of weak formal institutions. After presenting the puzzle and model, I provide a preliminary account of the origins of these variables. I then present a case study of Ukraine, with evidence gathered from primary and secondary sources, plus extensive regional fieldwork to elucidate the mechanisms of my theory.