The Russian Coal Sector: Challenges and transition opportunities from national, regional, industrial and public perspectives

In many regions of the world demand for coal is set to reduce, and the Russian coal sector is now facing a dual-challenge. Having signed the Paris Agreement in September 2019 the Russian government must take actions to develop new strategies for coal. However, the government must also address risks affecting energy poverty and stability, considering their large coal-producing regions and the wide-reaching consequences of changes to coal production and export.

There is an urgent need to understand the sustainability of coal in Russia, and to develop and share knowledge on the risks for coal-producing regions, enabling the recommendation of practical steps for decision-makers and energy stakeholders.

The link between Russia and Europe has been weak in recent years, with limited collaboration, unproductive high-level politics and delays on climate action. Despite this, there are opportunities to develop a domestic and international network working on low-carbon transitions in Russia, catalysing dialogue and knowledge exchange.

The project ‘The Russian Coal Sector’ builds and enables knowledge exchange on the current and future status of coal in Russia. Making progress towards a low-carbon economy in Russia, the project will provide insights into the macroeconomic and social stability of coal and coal-producing regions, and will delineate pathways forward given the global, ongoing low-carbon energy transition.



  • Increase our understanding of the multi-dimensional state-of-play of the Russian coal sector, including national policy, the Russian economy, trade flows and public and private investments
  • Explore lessons learned from practices in other industries to generate novel insights into cross-sectoral cooperation between fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewables
  • Develop new insights into the challenges of a just transition for coal-producing regions, using stakeholder interviews to analyse the potential socio-economic impacts of coal transitions on different types of industry and stakeholders in three key case studies: the Komi Republic (the Urals), Kuzbass (Siberia) and Sakhalin (the Far East).
  • Examine the importance of coal in Russian GHG emissions and provide information on the future of coal under low carbon scenarios, exploring the adoption of alternative energy sources.
  • Develop a regional scale projection for transition risks for Russian coal in the context of global low-carbon scenarios.
  • Provide an overall projection for the future trends of coal in Russia, building and expanding a network to take the ideas forwards, both domestically and internationally.
  • Establish a dialogue and collaboration between researchers to pave the way for formal progress, such as the establishment of an Energy Transition Commission in Russia.

Developing a comprehensive understanding of the Russian coal sector and its future will contribute to sustainable economic development a low-carbon energy transitions in Russia, supporting stakeholders at multiple levels in industry, government and the general public. The project will also build a network researching coal transitions both domestically and internationally to catalyse dialogue and take the projects findings forward. 



The project collaborates with Nikita Lomagin, Professor the European University at St. Petersburg (EUSPb) and Maxim Titov, Executive Director of the Energy Policy Research Centre (ENERPO) at EUSPb; Anna Korppoo, Research Professor at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI); and Georgy Safonov, Director of the Centre for Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (NRU-HSE).