Russian Gas Dependence of European Countries

Ivan Vanchev

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Combining my newly-found interest in R with the current political situation in Ukraine and Europe's response (or lack thereof, depending on what you expected) proved surprizingly straight-forward. Below you can see a map chart of country dependence of Russian gas that I generated using the googleVis package. Do note the "Edit" option that is now available in the newer versions of googleVis. Cool stuff! And highly relevant to the whole Ukraine situation, I know...

There has recently also been a lot of mention of how rapidly Russia's military budget has risen over the last decade (e.g. here and here and here. I think it is rather biased to present graphics from only the past decade with Russian military budget constanly rising and to ignore the legacy of the 90s and the economic transition and its crises. As the graphic below shows there was a massive drop in spending over the 90s and the increases from the early 2000s essentially pushed back the military budget back to its levels from 20 years ago.

A similar story emerges from looking at military spending's budget share, which has essentially remained constant ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is not to say that Russia's agressive foreign policy is not worrying. I just find that zoom ins on time series data oftentimes are more misleading than useful.