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Title: A critical evaluation of the securitisation process of EU-Russia energy relations : actors, audiences, and consequences
Author: Khrushcheva, O.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2013
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Russia started to export hydrocarbons to Western Europe in the middle of the Cold War, and for a long time, despite their ideological differences, Russia was considered to be a reliable energy supplier. Starting from the early 2000s, EU-Russia energy relations were transformed from a mainly economic dimension to a political one. Currently, energy trade is seen as part of national security for both Russia and the European Union (EU). The central question of this study: is how EU-Russia energy relations have become highly securitised? This thesis approaches this problem from the perspective of a critical reading of securitisation theory. Following Balzacq (2005) and Fierke (2007), the securitisation process is de-constructed into the follows elements: securitisation actors (in Russia and in the EU), the speech act (negotiation of energy security to the audience), context of securitising (economic, political, and cultural), the consequences of securitisation, and the potential for de-securitisation. The thesis applies combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. The thesis uses an interpretive constructivist account and a methodology which integrates that theory with the specific methods of inquiry. It uses some quantitative analysis, but rests primarily on a qualitative approach consistent with its roots in the Critical Security Studies (CSS) literature. The extensive analysis of EU-Russia energy relations demonstrates that the securitisation of energy relations resulted from a number of factors which are not necessarily directly connected with energy security. For instance, the Russian government securitises the energy sector because of its importance for Russian economic development and, consequently, its political stability. At the same time, the securitisation process within the EU is more complex and involves the clash between the supranational and national levels, and between the member states with different level of dependence on Russia. The national security and collective memory played an important role in the securitisation process in both Russia and the EU. For example, the media analysis demonstrated that the securitising actors use the shared knowledge to negotiate energy security threats to the audience. As a result of the securitisation process, both Russia and the EU have securitised energy policies and try to diversify energy demand and supply. This thesis demonstrates that the EU-Russia energy relations would benefit from managed de-securitisation and a move towards the international governance of their energy relations (via institutions and international 5 agreements). The thesis recognizes throughout that there are fundamental differences between the Russian government and the EU as energy policy makers; but at the same time there are sufficient similarities between the securitisation process in each that the theory can be applied to both. However, the aim is not to make comparative study of the similarities of the two institutional frameworks so much as to draw out the implications for energy security of their differences. The thesis is original because it: (a) rests on a set of wholly original interviews conducted in English and Russian in a range of a range of countries and institutions; (b) deploys a distinctive critical reading of CSS in both its theory and methodology; (c) draws original conclusions from the research; and (d) suggests policy implications which follow from these conclusions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available