Russia and Caspian Oil

Moscow Loses Control

by Abraham S. Becker


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This paper examines Russian policy and behavior in recent years regarding the exploitation of Caspian Sea oil, in terms of three broad issues: ownership of the seabed resources; participation in the international development consortia formed to exploit these resources; and the routes, construction and ownership of the pipelines linking the Caspian to world markets. The paper identifies major factors helping to explain Moscow's failure to secure control over the Caspian basin, of which the decisive one is Russian economic and military weakness in a new and unfavorable geopolitical environment.

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