F2:The Risks of Decoupling: Post-Soviet Critical Infrastructure Legacies, New Challenges and the Societal Dimension (Workshop)

Dr. Nadja Douglas (ZOiS)

Workshop description

The debates following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 highlighted many dimensions of Europe’s vulnerability, in particular with regard to energy supply, security and infrastructures. In Eastern Europe, the decoupling from Russian fossil fuels presented countries with the major challenge of energy transition. The need to avoid sanctioned Russian and Belarusian territory also meant that alternative transit routes had to be identified. Another significant challenge centers on the decoupling of critical energy infrastructure from post-soviet grids, and hence from Russian dominance. While the Baltic states were originally set to disconnect from the Russian grid by early 2025, Lithuania is now lobbying for an earlier timeline. At the same time, there are concerns regarding rising costs as well as the risk of blackouts. The synchronization of Ukraine and Moldova with the European continental network was, however, realized ahead of time in 2022. Safety and environmental standards as well as market compatibility are other important aspects. All of this highlights the complex dynamics of the region’s energy infrastructure between security, economic and societal considerations. Continuing the debate around different layers and perceptions of in:security in Eastern Europe, this workshop will take a closer look at the implications of changing energy infrastructures and related security concerns in the post-soviet sphere. We will focus on the following guiding questions:


  • How have perceptions of critical infrastructure and the vulnerability of energy supply chains changed since February 2022? Are there differences on the state and local levels in this regard?
  • How has the decoupling from post-Soviet grids proceeded so far? Can any best practices be identified?
  • Will populations be affected differently by the decoupling? Does the process create vulnerabilities on the local level?
  • How have the debates around energy transition and sustainability been affected by these developments?


Online expert workshop on 29 February 2024

Project team