In his new book "The Bridge. Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe", Thane Gustafson, a noted expert on Russian oil and gas, offers a compelling narrative on the genesis of Russia's gas relations with Europe. Thoroughly researched and eloquently written, the book tracks the economic and political role of natural gas in West-East relations.
During the Cold War, a dense network of gas pipelines served as the bridge between Russia and Europe that was believed to foster normal political ties between the two. Despite the political tensions, business boomed and natural gas continued to flow. With the fall of the Soviet Union, fundamental changes in Russia and in the European Union transformed the role of gas in their relations. Instead of a unifying factor, natural gas became a subject of strife and sowed divisions and discord. Once considered as a factor of stability, gas began to be viewed through the lens of geopolitics.
Looking beyond geopolitics, The Bridge focuses on the structural changes in the commercial sphere such as the gas revolution in Europe and environmentalism that equally contributed to the unfolding conflict and analyses their implications for the future Russian-European gas trade.