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Russian Resource Nationalism in the ‘Taiga’: Implications for NATO and the EU


On the Eurasian plateau the power of the Kremlin is back, primarily because of Russia’s geostrategic use of natural resources, a strategy of “resource nationalism” that Putin endorsed in his doctoral dissertation. Over 100 years ago, Sir Halford John Mackinder warned about the danger of letting Russia use its “vast continental resources” to control Central and Eastern Europe, or “the taiga”: “who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island controls the world.” In October 2014, just months after the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened the West that “the bear [is the] master of the taiga, and [it] will not let anyone have its taiga.” This talk considers the implications for NATO and the European Union. A former Intelligence Officer, Ion A. Iftimie is a Romanian-American energy security expert with over one decade of successfully advising senior military, business, and government leaders on the Eurasian natural gas industry and related national security issues. He is the author of Natural Gas as an Instrument of Russian State Power, which is currently on NATO’s recommended reading list and is now in its second edition (Westphalie Press). Ion is also an Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran, an Alumnus of the Marshall Center’s Program in Advanced Security Studies, and holds two Master’s Degrees in International Security Studies, one from National Defense University in Washington, D.C., and one from Bundeswehr University in Munich, Germany. He is a Doctoral Candidate in Energy Security at the Central European University.


N.C. State University

Talley Student Union - Room 4280

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William Boettcher
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