Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize

2021 Citation Recipient


Thane Gustafson

The Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize, established in 1987 and sponsored by the Harriman Institute at 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 in the previous calendar 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: Thane Gustafson
Title: The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe (Harvard University Press)

Drawing on a variety of sources and using an institutional narrative and analysis that is complex but accessible, Thane Gustafson explores the triangular relationship between evolving structures of the European energy market, the Soviet energy and natural gas industries, and the technological factors and changes over time. In doing so, Gustafson tackles three moving targets and takes them on their own terms, while also showing how they intersected and how each influenced the other. Balancing institutions and actors, competition and negotiation, interest and ideologies, without reducing one to the others, and relaying granular detail within an overarching narrative structure, Gustafson shows us that the development of natural gas extraction, distribution, and sales was not inevitable and followed twists and turns of contingent politics and technology. Gustafson also shows how the construction of gas relations and markets were important processes both for European integration and changes in the Soviet and Russian economies. The past and present of natural gas in Russia and Europe is more than power politics or supply and demand—it was, is, and will be a story about alternative institutional histories, the junction of technology and politics, and about shifting and sometimes unpredictable identities, interests, and relations of Russia and Europe.