During World War II, something like 72% of the Soviet Union's oil came from Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Caucasus. More like 86% if you count Grozny (Chechnya), and other Caucasus territories, leaving maybe 14% for Russia.

Russia at least nominally lost those Caucasus sources of oil when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. How did she manage without them?

Did she sign treaties with the new republics to secure the oil she needed? Had Russian "domestic" supplies increased beyond the World War II percentage of 14% in Russia itself? In a pinch, she could import oil, but that would be hard on her foreign exchange. Or was it a combination of these or some other factors?

  • @PieterGeerkens: I amended the question to include international trade *hypothetically" (although my guess is that it was one or both of the other two, which was the real point of the question.)
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 13:51
  • 4
    Since WW2, very large deposits of oil were discovered in Siberia, so (trans)-Caucasus oil did not play a very significant role.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 13:58
  • @Alex: That's the kind of answer I was looking for.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 14:51
  • In Siberia, Russia has much more oil than it needs. The main problem was transportation. In 1970th Russia made a big deal with Germany which provided pipes in exchange for the part of this oil.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 13:11
  • At the time of collapse, most of Soviet oil was exported anyway.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


As the diagram below shows (from here), Russian Current Account was occasionally negative through the 1990's,

enter image description here

until oil production began to rebound in the late 1990's

enter image description here.

  • Ok, Russia was already much better off in 1991 than during World war II, and by about 2000, was fully self-sufficient, meaning that foreign trade issues are limited.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 14:54
  • 2
    Siberian oil was discovered in 1950s - 60s, and was the main source of the late Soviet oil export. The negative account in 1990s was mostly due to the extremely low price level, not to the shortage of oil.
    – jmster
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 19:12
  • @jmster: Corrected. It was about production increase in the late 1990's not discovery. Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 20:32

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