Book review on “The energy of Russia: hydrocarbon culture and climate change”

Jesse Swann-Quinn (PhD, Department of Geography, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University) wrote a review on Professor Tynkkynen’s book “The energy of Russia: hydrocarbon culture and climate change”. The review is published in the “Eurasian Geography and Economics” journal.

As COVID-19 spread globally in the winter and spring of 2020, the governments of Russia and Saudi Arabia upended oil markets. They had failed to agree on a response to collapsing demand within the global oil supply chain, causing crude prices to temporarily drop below zero in some markets. Though shocking, this crisis response was presaged in a letter to Vladimir Putin a year earlier when Igor Sechin – the head of Russia’s state oil and gas company, Rosneft, and a Putin confidant – purportedly argued that agreeing to cut oil output within the OPEC+ coalition posed a “strategic threat” to Russia. While framing Russia as threatened by external geopolitical and market forces, Sechin simultaneously characterized Russia as a global energy superpower, fortified by “the availability of quality recoverable oil reserves, necessary infrastructure and personnel.” (Korsunskaya and Astakhova 2019). In making this argument to Putin, Sechin invoked powerful scripts of Russia’s energy, identity, and space, which Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen deconstructs in his short and illuminating book The Energy of Russia: Hydrocarbon Culture and Climate Change (2019).

Read the full review on the journal website.