Energy Security and Germany's Response to Russian Revisionism: The Dangers of Civilian Power

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This article examines the impact of German dependence on Russian gas supplies for Europe’s ability to apply effective sanctions against Russia. It demonstrates that by focusing on the environmental dimensions of energy policy and a policy of rapprochement with Russia, Germany has neglected the security of supply implications of its dependence on Russian gas. The article argues that Germany’s excessive energy dependence on Russia has limited the ability of the EU to challenge Russian revisionism by targeting its energy sector through sanctions. The article makes a number of energy policy recommendations which will be essential for Germany to avoid undue Russian influence on its foreign and security policies. The article concludes by exploring the utility of Neoclassical Realism in understanding Germany’s approach to energy security. In doing so it highlights the dangers of allowing ideology to cloud a sober assessment of the imperatives of the balance of threat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-518
Number of pages19
JournalGerman Politics
Issue number4
Early online date10 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Energy security
  • Neoclassical realism
  • Civilian power
  • Germany, Security, European Union
  • Energy Union
  • Energiewende

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