Russia’s Energy Policy in the Tskhinvali Region
Ani Zirakashvili, Intern at the Rondeli Foundation
Following the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali by the Russian Federation in August 2008, Moscow actively began the process of integration of the occupied regions of Georgia, including in the field of the energy.
As a result of Russia’s policy in recent years, the Tskhinvali region, unlike Abkhazia, has become completely reliant on Russia in the field of the energy. At this stage, Russia's financial and technical support ensure Russia to be the only supplier of gas and electricity to the Tskhinvali region. Moscow seeks energy stability in the region through projects implemented and developed by the Kremlin.
Gas Pipeline and a Gasification Project
Russia began to supply gas to the Tskhinvali region before the 2008 war. The construction of a gas pipeline connecting Russia and the Tskhinvali region was launched in 2006 and the work on a gasification project in the occupied region - in 2010.
Dzuarikau-Tskhinvali Gas Pipeline
Dzuarikau-Tskhinvali Gas Pipeline. Source: Gazprom
On March 22, 2006, even before the Russian-Georgian war, the de facto Prime Minister of the Tskhinvali region, Yuri Morozov, met with representatives of the executive power of North Ossetia. The issue of the construction of the Dzuarikau-Tskhinvali gas pipeline was also discussed at the meeting. Shortly after the meeting, the Russian energy company Gazprom began the construction of a pipeline with a length of 162.3 kilometers and the capacity of 252.5 million cubic meters per year. The pipeline started operation on August 26, 2009, a year after the Russian-Georgian war. The commissioning of the main gas pipeline, bypassing the rest of Georgia, made it possible to supply Russian gas to the Tskhinvali region.
Construction of the pipeline. Source: cominf.org
General Gasification Plan for the Tskhinvali Region
In April 2010, Gazprom and the de facto government of the Tskhinvali region signed an agreement which laid the foundation for the cooperation between the parties until 2029. At the same time, Gazprom developed a gasification plan for the Tskhinvali region. The plan envisages expanding the gas infrastructure in rural areas to supply 200 settlements in the region.
In May 2018, another agreement was signed between Moscow and the Tskhinvali region. The agreement on the terms of the purchase and the sale of shares of the joint-stock company Gazprom-South Ossetia entered into force in November of the same year. Under the agreement, as a part of the gasification master plan, Gazprom pledged to spend at least RUB 2 billion by 2023 on the rehabilitation and modernization of the gas infrastructure in the Tskhinvali region. In return, Gazprom became a full owner of its subsidiary Gazprom-South Ossetia. A total of 25% of the company's shares were previously owned by the de facto government of the Tskhinvali region.
Existing Power Supply System and a Backup Cable Construction Project
The Tskhinvali region only receives electricity from Russia through a single overhead power transmission line. Due to difficult geographical and climatic conditions, the existing power supply system is unstable. That is why Russia plans to build an additional infrastructure in the Tskhinvali region in the coming years.
Existing Power Supply System
Zaramag-North Portal-Java, the only overhead power transmission line to the Tskhinvali region, is located near the Roki tunnel in the Dzomagi gorge. The capacity of the 39-km transmission line is 110 kW. The Russian energy company Inter RAO supplies electricity to the Tskhinvali region through this line. It should be noted that due to unfavorable climatic conditions, there are frequent accidents in this area which may result in power cuts in the section in the Tskhinvali region for several days. The mountainous terrain makes it even more difficult to eliminate such problems.
Additional Power Transmission Line
On September 2, 2020, the Russian Deputy Minister of Energy, Yevgeny Grabchak, and the Tskhinvali region "ambassador" to Russia, Znaur Gasiev, signed a memorandum to increase the energy reliability and the energy security of the Tskhinvali region. The agreement on the technological connection of the power infrastructure facilities entered into force on September 11.
According to the memorandum, a section of the overhead power transmission line in the Tskhinvali region will be connected to the substation North Portal located in Russia with a 4.5-km high-voltage backup cable. The cable will pass through the Roki tunnel. The cost of the project is RUB 1.7 billion.
The project was first announced in September 2019 by the head of the Russian electricity distribution company Rosset. On August 31 of this year, the relevant decree was issued by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Mishustin.
As planned, the construction of the additional power line will be completed in 2022. The backup cable will ensure a stable functioning of the power system in the Tskhinvali region and its service will be available at any time of the year in the case of any damage or accident.
After the 2008 war, oil products to the Tskhinvali region are only imported from Russia. In 2019, the first filling stations of the Russian energy company Rosneft were built in the region.
Import of Russian Fuel
The so-called state-owned company Yugosetnefteproduct has been importing oil products from Russia to the Tskhinvali region since 2014. In May 2017, information was circulated about a fraudulent scheme on the part of Yugosetnefteproduct according to which high-quality gas from the Russian oil company Rosneft was exchanged for diluted gasoline in North Ossetia and finally low-quality fresh fuel was sold in the Tskhinvali region. The head of Yugosetnefteproduct was arrested after the scheme was revealed.
Rosneft Filling Stations
In June 2017, the leader of the Tskhinvali region, Anatoly Bibilov, met with the Rosneft CEO, Igor Sechin, in Sochi. At the meeting, the parties agreed on the construction of Rosneft filling stations in the Tskhinvali region.
Rosneft filling station in Tskhinvali. Source: south-ossetia.info
Rosneft began the construction of its first filling station in the Tskhinvali region in 2019 and it was completed in a few months. A second filling station was built in the same year, completing the first phase of the agreement. As planned, three filling stations will be built in the Tskhinvali region. It should also be noted that in an interview with Russian media in 2017, Gennady Bekoev, the de facto Prime Minister of the Tskhinvali region, said that Rosneft should be operating in the Tskhinvali region without any intermediaries and subsidiaries.
- Russia started to control the energy sector of the Tskhinvali region before 2008 and at this stage the region is integrated into the Russian energy space. Unlike Abkhazia, the Tskhinvali region is completely disconnected from Georgia's energy system.
- Russian state energy companies supply gas, electricity and fuel to the Tskhinvali region.
- The implementation of new Russian projects to overcome challenges in the energy sector will further increase the Tskhinvali region’s reliance on Russia.
- According to the 2015 data of de facto government of Tskhinvali region, the population of the Tskhinvali region totaled 54 thousand people. In an environment of depopulation and a weak economy, Russian state-owned companies seek to provide energy stability rather than get economic benefits in the occupied region of Georgia where the 4th Russian military base is dislocated, home to 4,000 military personnel and their families.
- War in Ukraine and Russia’s declining role in the Karabakh peace process
- The Russian Exclave of Kaliningrad and the Lithuanian "Sting"
- Seventh Package of Sanctions and Embargo on Russian Gold
- What could be the cost of “Putin’s face-saving” for European relations
- Failed Tskhinvali Referendum
- The War and Georgia
- “Rural Orbanism”- Polarization as a determinant for Hungary's political future
- Illegal Presidential Elections in the Tskhinvali Region: Why Bibilov Lost and What to Anticipate in Future
- How to Respond to Russian Ultra-Orthodox-Historic-Hegemonism?
- The War in Ukraine and the UK’s New Role in Eastern Europe
- What Will the Abolition of the OSCE Minsk Group Bring to the South Caucasus?
- Why Has the Abkhaz Side Become More Active on Social Networks?
- Why a Neutral Ukraine Is Not on Putin’s Mind (Ukraine’s Neutral Status Is Getting Closer, but What Does It Mean to Putin?)
- Europe's energy future - challenges and opportunities
- Uncontrolled Mass Immigration and the Position of the Georgian Government
- Changes in Putin's propaganda narratives since the Russian invasion of Ukraine
- Positions and Actions of Turkey in the Russo-Ukrainian War
- NATO’s possible expansion in Northern Europe and its significance for Georgia and Ukraine
- Political Winter Olympics in Beijing
- What Is behind Putin’s Sudden Gambit in Ukraine?
- Abkhazia in 2021: Energy Crisis, New “Minister” and Political Controversy
- L'Europe pourra-t-elle éviter le “déjà vu” ? (France, President of the Council of the European Union, and the Tensions in Eastern Europe)
- US-Russia Relations and the Issue of Ukraine
- The New Targets of Ramzan Kadyrov’s Regime
- What Will the Post-Merkel Era Mean for the EU’s Russia and Eastern Neighbourhood Policy?
- What Lies Behind the Growing Cooperation of the Georgian and Hungarian Governments
- “Doberman” as a Minister: Inal Ardzinba’s Prospects and Challenges
- The Belarus Crisis: How to Enhance Our Resilience Against the Russian Strategy for Its Near-Neighborhood
- Moldova’s Gas Crisis Has Been Russia’s Yet Another Political Blackmailing
- Belarus One Year On: An Insecure Regime Under Russian “Protection”
- Russia’s Parliamentary Elections - What Can Be Said About the Regime’s Stability
- Can Georgia use China to balance Russia?
- The West vs Russia: The Reset once again?!
- Formation of a New “Political Elite” in Abkhazia - Who Will Replace the Old “Elite?”
- The Cyber-Dimension of the Geneva Summit
- Securitization of the Arctic: A Looming Threat of Melting Ice
- Europe in Anticipation of the Results of a “Harmful Deal”
- (Re)Mapping the EU’s Relations with Russia: Time for Change?
- USA, Liberal International Order, Challenges of 2021, and Georgia
- The Political Crisis in Moldova: A Deadlock without the Way Out?
- Russia's Testing or Bullying?
- ‘Vaccine Diplomacy’: A New Opportunity for Global Authoritarian Influence?
- The End of the Russian Natural Gas Monopoly in Balkans
- Who did the judge sentence: Navalny, Putin or Russia?
- 2020 Developments in Abkhazia: “Elections,” the Pandemic and Deeper Integration with Russia
- Could Belarus Become a Prelude to the Great Polish-Swedish War 400 Years Ago?
- Vladimir Putin's Annual Grand Press Conference - Notable Elements and Messages
- Who Won and Who Lost with the War in Karabakh?
- What Russia has Gained in Karabakh
- What Armenia Did and Did not Lose as a Result of the Ceasefire Declaration in Karabakh
- Protests in Belarus, Lukashenko and the Russian Federation
- Some Thoughts on the Use of the Term „Post-Soviet Space“
- Khabarovsk Krai Protests as an Indicator of the Russian Federation’s Stability
- Trio Pandemic Propaganda: How China, Russia and Iran Are Targeting the West
- From Russia with… a Canny Plan
- “Elections” in Abkhazia: New “President’s” Revanche and Challenges
- Georgians Fighting the Same Battle 99 Years Later
- Confrontation between Russia and Turkey in Syria
- Political Crisis in Occupied Abkhazia
- What is the Significance of Killing General Qasem Soleimani?
- What Will the New Dialogue Format with Russia Bring for Georgia?
- On the “Russian Culture Center” in Georgia
- Main Messages of Russian Propaganda
- What do we know about the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and Georgia?
- New Focuses of the Anti-Occupation Policy
- Vladimir Putin’s Main Messages in his Interview with the Financial Times
- Georgia and Russia’s Post-modern Fascism
- Dugin has Come Out as a Supporter of Georgia – How Did This Happen?
- Deterring Russia
- On NATO, Russia and Pat Buchanan
- Modern Russia’s Own Wars of Religion
- Bolton’s visit to Moscow– what to expect in U.S-Russia relations?
- The Risk of the Renewal of the Karabakh Conflict after the Velvet Revolution in Armenia
- The Situation in Syria’s Idlib Province, Interests of the Parties and Threats
- The Helsinki Summit and its General Results
- Why It Is Necessary to Know the Day the Russo-Georgian War of 2008 Started
- Georgia’s Position in the Westernization Index 2018
- Why Did the Results of the G7 Summit in Charlevoix not Meet Our Expectations?
- How to Win Cold War 2.0
- The Russian “Ambassador’s” Rotation in Abkhazia
- Why did the Foreign Ministers of G7 not remember Georgia during their 23 April 2018 Toronto Meeting?
- Georgia and the American Strategy
- Putin’s Pre-Election Economic Promises: Myth and Reality
- Let Geneva Stay the Way it is
- Turkey’s Military Operation in Afrin – a New Phase in the Syrian Conflict
- Kremlin New Appointments and the Occupied Regions of Georgia
- Dangers Originating from Russia and Georgia’s Security System
- Eurasian Custom Union and problems of Russian – Georgian FTA
- Is Georgia’s Export Growth Sustainable?
- Russia’s Influence over the Field of Security in Tskhinvali Region is Growing: Support for Full Integration
- What Awaits the People of Gali?
- Growth of Military Spending and Relations with Russia: Azerbaijan trying to Gain Advantage over Armenia
- Disrupt and Distract: Russia’s Methodology of Dealing with the West
- Russian Diplomats in Georgia – who are they, how many of them are there and what are they up to
- Putin’s Visit to the Occupied Abkhazia: Was our Reaction Actually Adequate?
- Is it Acceptable for Georgia to Declare Neutrality?
- How to Stop the “Creeping Occupation”
- Kremlin’s Policy in the Occupied Regions of Georgia Moves to a New Stage
- Syrian Civil War in the Context of Regional Security
- The Winnable Second Round of Russia’s Neighbors’ Struggle against Its Imperialism
- Parliamentary Elections in Armenia – The Triumph of the Governing Party
- Current Foreign Policy of Georgia: How Effective is it in Dealing with the Existing Challenges?
- Observations on the Agreement Reached with Gazprom
- New Russian Weaponry in the Caucasus and Its Impact on Georgia’s NATO Aspiration