Energy and the Restructuring of the Economies of Eastern Europe and the USSR

  • Catherine Locatelli


The political events that have transformed Eastern Europe and the nature of economic reform undertaken in these countries have reopened the energy question and have made the development of new energy policies imperative. Faced with worsening energy production problems, the Soviet Union can no longer guarantee oil and gas supplies to COMECON countries, at least not under previous arrangements. Moreover, considering the urgent need to modernize its industry and the size of the investments required to do so, the USSR must develop new energy strategies that are fundamentally different from the old approaches based on state control of resources. The sweeping economic reforms undertaken in most of the former "East Bloc" may impart genuine substance to a new "made-in-Eastern-Europe" energy policy. However, it is futile to try to draw immediate conclusions about the changing energy patterns of Eastern Europe. At best, some general hypotheses may be ventured.