This thesis contributes to the academic literature on energy relations between the EU and Russia, as it seeks to determine whether there is a relationship between member state’s perceptions of, and national energy policy towards, Russia. In answering this question, this thesis follows a case study research design, employing a co-variational analysis of Hungary and Estonia. The proposition that perception determines foreign policy stems from a combination of social-constructivism, which argues that identity shapes foreign policy, and image theory, which stresses that perception determines foreign policy. This thesis finds that there is a relation between perception and national energy policy towards Russia. Hungary has a more positive image of Russia both in public opinion as in political ideology, which has led to a policy of increasingly cooperating with Russia in energy relations. Estonia, on the other hand, has a more negative perception of Russia in public opinion and expert analyses, which regards Russia as an existential threat to Estonian national security. As a consequence, it appears to be pursuing an increasingly exclusionary national energy policy towards Russia.

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Thesis Advisor Dr. S. Grand, Dr. M. Onderco
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Series Public Administration
Hylkema, Douwe. (2020, February 18). Public Perception, Parties and Policy. Public Administration. Retrieved from