Late senator John McCain once said that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” There was some truth in his statement after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the economy. The hydrocarbon wealth of the world’s largest country prevented a total economic meltdown and provided a financial lifeline. Moscow has funneled some of the income from oil and gas exports into rebuilding the economy and improving its international standing. Although Russia might not be the superpower it once was during the Cold War, it is still a major power again that needs to be reckoned with. Despite the country’s relative resurrection, its energy industry is still the single most important sector which is crucial for maintaining the state’s influence both domestically and abroad. Therefore, Moscow remains strongly involved in its oil and gas sector and invests significant funds to remain an energy superpower. […]