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Event Summary

Natural gas supply and national security are pressing, long-term issues in today’s world. Russia has been using its gas supply lines to exert power over Ukraine, and Russia has increased its gas prices by around 80 percent. On Thursday, AEI hosted two panels of experts who discussed political and policy dimensions of these issues.

AEI’s Leon Aron kicked off the first panel by stressing that Russia is ready to make monetary sacrifices to maintain power and ensure national security. AEI’s Benjamin Zycher suggested that the European Union (EU) ought to invest in its coal-firing plants, which would make the EU less reliant on Russian energy and would avoid damaging the environment in a measureable way.

In the second panel, Tim Boersma of the Brookings Institution discussed the differences in the markets of Eastern and Western Europe, specifically highlighting low gas demands in Eastern Europe. Finally, AEI’s Gary Schmitt detailed how Europe can help itself by reducing its dependence on Russian gas.

Panelists collectively concluded that Europe and Ukraine need to become less dependent on Russian gas. Sanctions, unless imposed over the long term, do not seem to have an effect on Russia because the country is willing to make economic sacrifices.

–Jacqueline Goldman

Event Description

In the wake of Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, energy politics are back on the front page. Even more manifest is the fact that Russian pricing and supply policies with respect to the country’s exports of natural gas are heavily influenced by foreign policy and other noneconomic considerations.

But there is little agreement on the short- and longer-term responses that would serve the energy security and other interests of European consumers of Russian natural gas, and a US policy mix furthering both European energy security and US goals remains elusive. These difficulties stem in no small part from conflicting national energy, environmental, business, and foreign policy objectives, the difficult tradeoffs among which are exacerbated by competing interests and perceptions across governments.

Please join us at AEI for an event during which scholars will discuss the political and policy dimensions of European energy security in the context of Russian gas exports, and US policy alternatives.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


9:15 AM

9:30 AM
Panel I: The political dimension
Danielle Pletka, AEI

Leon Aron, AEI
Anders Aslund, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Benjamin Zycher, AEI

Desmond Lachman, AEI

10:45 AM
Panel II: The policy dimension
Marcus Noland, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Tim Boersma, Brookings Institution
Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Gary J. Schmitt, AEI

Mark J. Perry, AEI

12:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Regan Kuchan at [email protected]

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Leon Aron is a resident scholar and the director of Russian Studies at AEI. He is the author of the first full-scale scholarly biography of Boris Yeltsin, titled “Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). He is also the author of “Russia’s Revolution: Essays 1989–2006” (AEI Press, 2007) and, most recently, “Roads to the Temple: Memory, Truth, Ideals and Ideas in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987–1991” (Yale University Press, 2012). He is also the editor of “The Emergence of Russian Foreign Policy” (US Institute of Peace, 1994). Aron has contributed numerous essays and articles to newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, New Republic, The Weekly Standard, The New York Times Book Review, and Times Literary Supplement. A frequent guest of television and radio talk shows, he has commented on Russian affairs for, among others, “60 Minutes,” “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” “Charlie Rose,” CNN International, C-SPAN, and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Talk of the Nation.”

Anders Aslund has been a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics since 2006. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where he examines the economic policy of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe, focusing on the broader implications of economic transition. He worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 1994 to 2005, first as a senior associate and then from 2003 as director of the Russian and Eurasian Program. He also worked at the Brookings Institution and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. Aslund served as an economic adviser to the governments of Russia (1991–94) and Ukraine (1994–97) and has worked as a Swedish diplomat in Kuwait, Poland, Geneva, and Moscow. He was a professor at the Stockholm School of Economics and the founding director of the Stockholm Institute of East European Economics. Aslund is a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and an honorary professor of the Kyrgyz National University. He is chairman of the advisory council of the Center for Social and Economic Research and of the scientific council of the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition. Aslund is the author or coauthor of 13 books and is the editor or coeditor of 16 books.

Tim Boersma is a fellow of the Energy Security Initiative in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution. His research focuses on energy policy coordination, energy security, gas infrastructure and regulation, resource scarcity, resource nexus issues, Arctic resources, and unconventional natural gas extraction. Before becoming a full time academic, Boersma spent five years in the private sector, working as a corporate counsel to the electricity production sector in the Netherlands.

Gary Hufbauer has been a Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics since 1992. He was formerly the Maurice Greenberg Chair and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Marcus Wallenberg Professor of International Finance Diplomacy at Georgetown University, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, deputy director of the International Law Institute at Georgetown University, deputy assistant secretary for international trade and investment policy of the US Department of the Treasury, and director of the international tax staff at the Treasury. Hufbauer has written extensively on international trade, investment, and tax issues. He is coauthor of 16 books and coeditor of 14 other books.

Desmond Lachman joined AEI after serving as a managing director and chief emerging market economic strategist at Salomon Smith Barney. He previously served as deputy director in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Policy Development and Review Department and was active in staff formulation of IMF policies. Lachman has written extensively on the global economic crisis, the US housing market bust, the US dollar, and strains in the euro area. At AEI, Lachman focuses on the global macroeconomy, global currency issues, and multilateral lending agencies.

Marcus Noland is currently executive vice president and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and has been associated with the institute since 1985; from 2009 to 2012, he served as its deputy director. His research addresses a wide range of topics at the interstice of economics, political science, and international relations. He won the 2000–01 Ohira Memorial Award for his book “Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas” (Peterson Institute, 2000). He was previously a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers. He has held research or teaching positions at Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Southern California, Tokyo University, Saitama University (now the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies), the University of Ghana, the Korea Development Institute, and the East-West Center. He has received fellowships sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Council on Foreign Relations, Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, and Pohang Iron and Steel Corporation. Noland is also the author of “Korea after Kim Jong-il” (Peterson Institute, 2004) and “Pacific Basin Developing Countries: Prospects for the Future” (Peterson Institute, 1990). He is likewise the coauthor of 10 books and coeditor of 2 books. In addition, he has written many scholarly articles on international economics, US trade policy, and the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. He has served as an occasional consultant to organizations such as the World Bank and the National Intelligence Counci and has testified before Congress on numerous occasions.

Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for and the AEIdeas blog.

Danielle Pletka was a long-time US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia. In that role, Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel, and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia (Pakistan, India and Afghanistan). Pletka is the coeditor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the coauthor of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.

Gary J. Schmitt is codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI and the director of AEI’s Program on American Citizenship. Schmitt is a former staff director of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He was executive director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board during former President Ronald Reagan’s second term. Schmitt’s security work focuses on longer-term strategic issues that will affect America’s security at home and its ability to lead abroad, while his work in the area of citizenship focuses on challenges to maintaining and sustaining a strong civic culture in America. His books include “Safety, Liberty and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic Counterterrorism” (AEI Press, 2010), “The Rise of China: Essays on the Future Competition” (Encounter Books, 2009), “Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources” (AEI Press, 2007), “Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence” (Potomac Books Inc., 2002), and “U.S. Intelligence at the Crossroads: Agendas for Reform” (Brassey’s Inc., 1995).

Benjamin Zycher
is a resident scholar at AEI, specializing in energy and environmental policy. He is also a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute and a member of the advisory board of the journal Regulation. He served as a senior staff economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from July 1981 to July 1983, with responsibility for energy and environmental policy issues. Zycher has also served as a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research; a senior economist at RAND Corporation; an adjunct professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles; the vice president of research at the Milken Institute; and a senior economist at the Arroyo Center Jet Propulsion laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.

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