Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize

2022 Citation Recipient

Margarita M. Balmaceda

The Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize, established in 1987 and sponsored by the Harriman Institute of Columbia University, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe published the previous year. The prize is dedicated to the encouragement of high-quality studies of the international behavior of the countries of the former Communist Bloc.

Winner: Margarita M. Balmaceda

Title: Russian Energy Chains: The Remaking of Technopolitics from Siberia to Ukraine to the European Union (Columbia University Press)

Among the excellent monographs under consideration this year, Russian Energy Chains stands out in offering a deeply textured study of the complex world of Russian energy. The book illuminates not only a hugely important and timely topic, but also provides an intricate and in-depth look at the entirety of the energy supply chain–from production to processing, transportation, and marketing. In a highly accessible manner, Margarita Balmaceda outlines the many transnational actors who play a party in the extraction, transport, and sale of Russian natural gas, oil, and coal, most notably the Gazprom company, regional oligarchs, and European Union regulators. She explains the dependence on Russian energy by the European Union and the leverage Russia has in its foreign policy through its extractive practices. Balmaceda convincingly argues that the dynamic relationship of production, transportation, and energy use has been a key feature of political development in former Soviet states after the collapse of communism. Considering the overbearing context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this book could not have been more needed and more timely.

Honorable Mention: Chris Miller

Title: We Shall Be Masters: Russian Pivots to East Asia from Peter the Great to Putin (Harvard University Press)

In this highly readable, panoramic book, Chris Miller takes a wide-lens approach to a topic critical to both history and contemporary politics–the account of Russia’s attempts and failures to achieve great power status in Asia. Miller shows how, since Peter the Great, Russian leaders have strived to expand to the East either through colonizing territory or through claiming a sphere of influence. However, Miller demonstrates most of these Asian adventures failed–the Russian public was not interested, the cost was prohibitive, and the strategy failed. Ultimately, Miller concludes, it is Russian cultural commitment to seeing itself as a European power that has kept its Asian dreams unfulfilled.