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The article analyzes the past, the present and the future of the global expansion of Russian oil and gas companies. During Socialism, geopolitical considerations were the main driver of overseas activities of the Soviet energy enterprises. During the 90s, given the maturing resource base of the oil sector, the going-abroad efforts of privatized Russian oil companies, mainly LUKOIL, in the upstream were aimed at acquiring promising assets in countries with lower production costs. Oilmen were also trying to get a foothold in the European downstream to improve their global competitiveness. Gazprom was expanding its presence in Europe which was essential for the company that suffered from non-payments in Russia. At the same time, LUKOIL and Gazprom helped Russia to maintain its influence over the former USSR republics. During the 2000s, with the growing étatisation of the energy sector in Russia, economic aspects of oil and gas companies’ global expansion became interlinked with geopolitical motives and the desire to reestablish the country as an energy power.