Oil, Guns, and Imperialism:

Do Energy Prices Influence Russian Foreign Policy Behavior?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Brian Whitmore

Maria Snegovaya

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With oil prices at a two-decade low, many Kremlin-watchers believe that Russia will be forced to scale back its revanchist foreign policy ambitions. This conclusion is largely based on the experience of the last oil glut in the 1980s, which coincided with a marked retrenchment in Soviet foreign policy aggression. Compounded with these economic challenges to Russia’s geopolitical aspirations, the coronavirus adds an additional threat to the Kremlin’s stability.


This CEPA virtual discussion considered: is there a relationship between oil prices and Russian foreign policy; are the lessons of the 1980s relevant today; and what role will the coronavirus play in factoring into Russia’s foreign policy calculus?

Brian Whitmore, Director, Russia Program, CEPA


Maria Snegovaya, Fellow, Russia Program, CEPA

Angela Stent, Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian & East European Studies, Georgetown University

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