West were often described as deteriorating. Russia’s growing self-conﬁdence and
assertiveness in the international arena, the emphasis of its leadership on their
willingness to defend the country’s national interests, and particularly a far more
proactive policy in the states of the former Soviet Union, gave rise to growing
concerns over the future of Russia’s relations with the European Union (Marsh 2008).
In the context of the signiﬁcant dependence of a number of EU member states on
imports of Russian natural gas, much scholarly research has focused on the analysis of
the possible motivations of the Russian authorities and Gazprom, Russia’s state-
controlled gas monopoly. Are they purely economic? Are they geopolitical? Are they a
mixture of both, and if so, which ones are central and why?