Russian Energy Weapon in Europe | Freedom House

Russian Energy Weapon in Europe

< back to Freedom At Issue Blog

Russia’s natural gas supplies are potent economic weapons in the crisis with Ukraine – and in Russia’s relations with other eastern European countries and the European Union. On March 7 Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company, threatened to cut off supplies to Ukraine, a reminder of the Kremlin’s sway over the region’s economy.

No Alternative Suppliers

A Gazprom facility across from the Moscow River. Photo Credit: Greg Westfall

European Union states receiving 100 percent of their natural gas from Russia: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden.

Gazprom holds a 100 percent stake in Armenia’s natural gas distribution company. Even though some of Armenia’s gas supply originates in Iran, Russia’s control of the distribution system allows it to determine supply levels and prices.

Gazprom is also the sole supplier of natural gas to Belarus.

Very Dependent on Russia

Ungheni pipeline. Photo Credit:

Ukraine produces about 30 percent of the natural gas that it consumes, depending on Russia for the remaining 70 percent.

Pending completion of the Iasi-Ungheni pipeline between Moldova and Romania, Moldova relies on Russia for 100 percent of its natural gas.

Czech Republic: 80 percent
Slovakia: 63 percent
Slovenia: 57 percent
Austria: 52 percent

Less Dependent on Russia

Hungary: 50 percent
Belgium: 43 percent
Germany: 40 percent
Croatia: 37 percent
Luxembourg: 27.9 percent
Italy: 20 percent
France: 17 percent
Netherlands: 6 percent

Georgia, which imports most of its natural gas from Azerbaijan, receives about 10 percent of its supplies from Russia as payment for allowing Russian gas to transit its territory.

*Figures for EU member state are for the year 2012, as reported by Congressional Research Service’s “Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification”, available here:

Analyses and recommendations offered by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of Freedom House.

Share this story