EPRG public lecture by Margarita M. Balmaceda on "Energy and State Building in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania: Between Domestic Oligarchs and Russian Power"

January 13, 2015 - 17:00 - 18:30
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Popper Room
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CEU organizer(s): 
Philipp Thaler
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Margarita M. Balmaceda

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine focuses our attention on the various means of Russian pressure on the region, including energy policy. Indeed, the war raging in the very heart of Europe has everything to do with energy – but not necessarily in the way we normally think about it. The power of energy is not simply about a resurgent Russian state using energy as a means of external leverage – it is also about the way energy policy choices have helped shape state building in the former Soviet states. Drawing on the speaker’s two new books on the subject, this talk will focus on how Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania’s unique location, not only between a major energy producer (Russia) and its main market (the EU), but also between powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (“oligarchs”), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy tool in the region – and these states’ own political development.


Margarita M. Balmaceda (PhD, Princeton University) is Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University and Research Associate at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. A specialist on the political economy of the post-Soviet states, she is the author of, among others, Energy Dependency, Politics and Corruption in the Former Soviet Union (Routledge, 2008), The Politics of Energy Dependency: Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania Between Domestic Oligarchs and Russian Pressure (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013), and Living the High Life in Minsk: Russian Energy Rents, Domestic Populism and Belarus’ Impending Crisis (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2014). Under a Marie Curie Fellowship from the EU and fellowships from Fulbright, Alexander von Humboldt and other Foundations, she has conducted extensive field research in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Moldova on the links between energy policies and political development.