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The role of Russian oil and gas TNCs in economic integration in the post-soviet space in the 21st century
Integration on the post-soviet space is a complex and controversial process which lasts for more than 20 years. The statistical data shows that the integration projects developed in the region were not effective in boosting intraregional trade. But at the same time the considerable increase in investment, especially Russian investment in oil and gas sector could be witnessed. The aim of this paper is to estimate the role of Russian oil and gas TNCs in integration processes in the region. The structure of the paper reflects the tasks: first, the chronology of the integration on the post-soviet space has been analyzed and its factors as well as the role of oil and gas sector for the region have been determined; second, the projects being developed by Russian TNCs in the region have been researched and eventually, their role in the project of common energy market has been defined. The results show that Russian oil and gas TNCs have created corporate integration in the region, which role is far more significant for the economic life of the region than those of formal integration projects. Moreover, as the sector itself plays a substantial role for the region, the companies themselves create the interconnectedness between the countries and this predetermines the political relations in the region that can be defined as strained stability. As a consequence, the TNCs will decide the success of the common energy market project as its effectiveness substantially depends on the readiness of the companies to cooperate in a common effort.