“We want as Europeans to diversify away from Russia, toward suppliers that we trust, that are friends and that are reliable,” Ms. von der Leyen of the European Commission said at the announcement with Mr. Biden.

I looked it up in the dictionary: diversify. It means 'increase the variety of things'. But in this sentence, it seems like 'change direction'. I am confused about that. What is the exact meaning of it?

  • In your cited context, diversify means increase our range / variety of trading partners. It's not really a metaphoric reference to "direction of travel" at all. No-one's is "going" anywhere - von der Leyen just wants us to buy American rather than Russian gas, to help the EU take over Ukraine. Mar 30, 2022 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


It still means "increase the variety" and specifically in this case "increase the variety of suppliers AND not include Russia." In other words, if Russia is 75% of their supply and The middle east is the other 25% (for example with oil) then they could diversify away from Russia by having 25% supply coming from each of the middle east, USA, Japan, and Africa.

Using four suppliers like this would be causing them to move away from Russian suppliers by way of diversification.


Yes. It means "change direction". But, it implies that "change direction" is caused by "increase the variety".

For example, you might "diversify away from" red meat in your diet by adding more fish. That would imply a change of direction (away from red meat) by increasing the variety.

The original sentence could be simpler than "diversify away from". I agree it is confusing.

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