A lot of paper is used currently to warn of the energy dependence of the European Union (EU) on Russia and its dire political and – especially – security consequences.
The Baltic Sea Region is significant in the context of the EU as its members like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are even said to be in danger of losing their independence because of them being – even in comparison with other EU member-states – overtly dependent on Russian (Gazprom) natural gas supplies.
Instead of reaffirming and reifying the views stated above, this essay aims to provide a critical investigation into the question of the over-dependence of the Baltic Sea Region on Russian gas supplies and its possible security consequences.
So, the research question of this essay is:
Is the dependence on Russian gas a security threat for the states of the Baltic Sea Region?
Exploring the question this paper will deal first and foremost with the three Baltic states mentioned above and Poland, as they are especially in danger according to a common view and they claim to be in danger according to their policy-makers.
In examining the research topic the essay will first provide a critical definition of geopolitics from which it will depart in answering the question, then shortly state the views of those who claim that the energy – gas – dependence is indeed a security threat and finally examine this ,,security discourse” critically and contrast it with the reality of mutually, economically based, dependence between Russia, the states of the Baltic Sea Region and the EU in general.
Geopolitics and the energy security discourse
According to a new, critical view of geopolitics, it is not all about ,,natural” geostrategic interests of states which would be inevitable and constant and provide both a rationale and justification for the exercise of power over space.
In contrast, geopolitics is about discourse as it is:
“A discursive practice by which intellectuals versed in ‘statecraft’ spatialize international politics and represent it as a world characterized by places, peoples and dramas of particular types” (Paasi 1996, p. 14).