From Lenin to LNG: Exploring culture, geopolitics, and energy independence in Lithuania

Abstract: This article explores the reorientation of Lithuania’s energy system away from Russia and efforts at integrating into the European Union’s energy market. Utilizing an energy culture perspective, which draws on geographic concepts of cultural geopolitics and cultural geography, issues of power and dominance and valorization of energy relations provide a unique conceptual framing. A review of energy cultures literature demonstrates the broader use of the term, but a lack of critical reflection on how energy cultures are created. The results demonstrate energy cultures provide a means to understand power relations and representation of cultural struggles. In addition, the cultural influence of the Soviet-era lingers within Lithuanian society, but political action re-orientates and delivers low energy prices while building a new EU integrated energy system, thereby reducing Russia’s influence. Three descriptive statements are developed and applied to the case study, which assists in answering research questions, and eliciting a deeper reflection on the role of culture in energy relations. The narrow focus of the article excludes wider consideration of culturally connected concepts of energy justice or national innovation systems.

Key points:

  • Energy cultures are discussed in energy transitions literature but lack a holistic review and a critical examination of how and why energy culture is created.
  • Cultural geography and cultural geopolitics enable spatial and scalar examination of relations within and between nation-states to explore the use of energy culture.
  • Energy culture holds power and value to exert geopolitical pressure on nation-states to orientate their energy systems in technology and resource choices.
  • Energy culture is relationally transformative and alters socio-political relations and socio-economic relations within and between nation-states.
  • Lithuania demonstrates the choice of resources and technologies influence which type of energy culture is dominant in a country.

Keywords: LNG, Gas, Geopolitics, Russia, Lithuania, Energy Culture, European Union, Energy

Michael Carnegie LaBelle, Associate Professor, Central European University, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy

labellem@ceu.edu

Uploaded October 25, 2022

Reference: LaBelle, Michael Carnegie, From Lenin to LNG: Exploring culture, geopolitics, and energy independence in Lithuania, My Energy 2050, October 25, 2022, ISSN: 2768-6817 https://myenergy2050.com/working-paper

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