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The Central Eastern European Region, including the Southeast of Europe, is heavily dependent on Russia’s energy resources. This includes gas, oil and nuclear technology. The ability to cement through physical infrastructure and human capital during Communism established a robust connected system of resources and expertise between the region’s countries and Russia. The headlines hold that gas security is the most contentious issue. But finding a solution to this dependency requires a complex and stable energy investment climate. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and eastward expansion of the EU, diversification away from Russia was the overall most important headline issue.
There are three stages I outline here demonstrating evolution of the region’s energy system and the political-economic strategies involving Russia and the CEE and SEE countries. Stage one, fully dependent on Russian resources and technology; stage two, building an energy system semi-independent of Russia; and stage three, ‘(in)Dependence’ on Russia’s energy wealth, the recognition of benefits gained from dependence coinciding with diversification of energy sources. The energy landscape of the region remains the same with traversing pipelines and Russian supplied power plants, but diversification with neighbors and other EU countries improves the energy security of the new EU Member States.