On March 7, an IWP Strategic Intelligence student and energy analyst* gave a talk to the IWP community on Vladimir Putin’s doctoral thesis and how it has shaped both his policies on energy and government influence in natural resource corporations and the significance of sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.
Putin received his doctorate from the National Mineral Resources University in 1996. The majority of his dissertation was plagiarized. His thesis advisor, Vladimir Litvinenko, who is also the Rector of the University and a two-time campaign manager for Putin, was alleged by his own daughter to have written the thesis paper for Putin.
Putin is a strong believer in state control of natural resources, especially energy. He has been actively involved in the oil and gas industry since the mid-1990s. He believes that state ownership of Russian natural resources is important for Russia’s restoration of its power and prestige to where it was in the era of the Soviet Union.
The speaker argued that the most effective sanctions against Russia are American ones. Russia’s state gas firms like Gazprom lag significantly behind Western energy companies in their level of technology. So, when the United States forbids its companies to do business in Russia, Russia is hurt badly because it lacks the sophistication to access more hydrocarbon resources.
*This student wishes to remain anonymous, and this event was held under Chatham House Rules. If you have questions about this event, you may direct your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.