The gas battle between Russia and Moldova is running to its end. Both sides signed a protocol and a new contract under which Gazprom will continue to supply gas to Moldova for another five years. But, according to the Carnegie Center, if the post-Soviet history of relations between the two countries is anything to go by, it’s unlikely to be the last energy-related skirmish between Moscow and Chisinau.

According to analysts at the Carnegie Center, Russia has overestimated the strength of its energy pressure on Moldova. Moscow failed to take into account how the energy market has changed since the Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute of 2008–2009. This conflict in fact contributed to the liberalization of the European gas market, making pipeline gas more mobile and suitable for cross-border transportation.

Thus, to some extent, Russia has become – albeit unintentionally – the reason that Moldova was able to obtain alternative gas during the October confrontation. Moscow still has significant energy leverage over Moldova, but it is in a much weaker position than it was ten or twenty years ago.

Russia’s achievements in 2021 may be short-lived, as in 2009. The gas crisis could be a moment of truth for Chisinau, which has the opportunity to take energy security more seriously, eradicate corruption in the energy sector, and implement energy efficiency projects. The solution is to strengthen energy cooperation with Ukraine and Romania, use EU expertise to build capacity to operate on the European gas market.