A Tokyo-based economist and a noted western economic geographer, both specializing in the hydrocarbon resources of Russia, apply the framework of governance studies in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the recent changes in the country's energy policy-making. The authors argue that, unlike the international relations paradigm prevailing in studies of Russia's energy policy, the country's multiple roles in the international energy arena (as producer, consumer, exporter, importer, and transit state) warrant a more nuanced approach, reflecting Russian energy policy's flexibility over time and diversity across space. This paper endeavors, therefore, to apply a political economy and governance perspective to an understanding of the significant changes in Russia's energy policy-making regarding its dynamic energy relations with the Northeast Asia (NEA; China, Japan, and South Korea). In exploring the complex interactions between Russia's internal energy policy-making and its emerging energy relations in NEA, the authors addresses three key questions, namely: (1) how Russia's Asian energy policy corresponds to its domestic needs, (2) how much coherence in energy governance and cooperation exists between Russia and the Northeast Asian states at the institutional and organizational levels, and (3) the extent to which Russia's expectations for increased energy cooperation with the Northeast Asian states are likely to materialize.
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