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Tag: security

Security takes centre stage in the Black Sea

The annexation and militarisation of the Crimean Peninsula has given Russia greater access to use enhanced military capabilities to project its forces in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and apply pressure on the other countries in the region, particularly Ukraine and Georgia. In response, NATO and the Euro-Atlantic community have started developing a new approach to Black Sea security.

The Black Sea region over the centuries has been the subject of interest of empires and powerful states. The region, as a security space, has a complicated history. It combines a central maritime space with limited access and coastal areas that link it to the regional security complexes of Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East – and that often intersect and overlap.

August 26, 2019 - Zurab Agladze

The shift of dominance in the Black Sea

Turkey’s policy in the Black Sea, which mainly aims to deter NATO’s presence in the region, has diminished its overall role, making it more vulnerable to Russia’s growing influence. Russian’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a clear signal that the Black Sea is gradually becoming a Russian lake, upsetting the equilibrium that has been in place for nearly a century.

Despite centuries of political and military conflicts and other power dynamics around the Black Sea, there has never been a period in history when a common conception of the Black Sea region existed – not even among the littoral states. Accordingly, the Black Sea region has gradually evolved into a unit of analysis, a sort of framework under which certain power dynamics are analysed by different scholars and policy-makers.

August 26, 2019 - Sophia Petriashvili

A sea of insecurity

The Black Sea has always been an important geopolitical theatre. The November 2018 Russian attack on Ukraine’s naval convoy illustrates the Kremlin’s desire to assert dominance in the region and causing greater insecurity and uncertainty for those pro-western states that are situated along the sea coast.

The Black Sea, though serving as an extension of the wider Mediterranean space, has always been strategically important in global politics. The level of interest global powers have expressed in the region has varied from time to time, but the sea has its own merits as a space where historical steppe lands from the north, the isolated South Caucasus, the wider Middle East and the Mediterranean met each other.

August 26, 2019 - Emil Avdaliani

The FIFA World Cup in Kaliningrad: Football and the “New Cold War” in the Baltic

The choice of Kaliningrad as one of the venues hosting the World Cup was carefully thought through by the organising country. Is it another show of force in the Baltic region or an attempt to normalise and calm tensions?

June 28, 2018 - Cyrille Bret

Successful reforming is the key to security

To be able to effectively confront external security threats, the post-Soviet Eastern Partnership countries should overcome domestic problems and succeed in reforms – confirms a new survey of experts from Central and Eastern Europe.

February 16, 2018 - Maksym Khylko Oleksandr Tytarchuk

Security in Europe with Russia and/or from Russia?

The debate among German foreign policy experts on how to end the crisis with Russia has heated up once again. Yet, many observers continue to neglect the primary determinants of Russian foreign policy, which are rooted in domestic politics and are not going to change any time soon.

The Russian military exercise “Zapad 2017” held on the borders of NATO member states showed a significant increase in Russian forces in the Baltic Sea region. Just like during the Cold War, this exercise had the goal of demonstrating Russia’s military might to the West – the country’s alleged enemy. With the illegal annexation of Crimea as well as the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine, Russia and the West have manoeuvred towards an increasingly militarised confrontation. Moscow’s questioning of the European security order marked the climax of the alienation and antagonisation that started much earlier. With Vladimir Putin’s 2007 speech at the Munich security conference, where he accused the West of systematically countering Russia’s interests in the region, as well as the Russian-Georgian war in 2008, it became clear that Russia is defining its interests in opposition to the West. Russia does not want to be integrated into the West but has the ambition to further integrate former Soviet states into its orbit.

January 2, 2018 - Manfred Huterer

How can the West promote an East-Central European security alignment?

Western decision-makers should signal to the new East-Central European NATO and EU member countries that they can, and should, engage in cross-border multilateral coalition building with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. There is an urgent need for institutional structures that will make Eastern Europe’s grey zone, between Russia and the West, less grey.

Most interpretations of the current geopolitical instability in Eastern Europe focus on the intricacies of the region’s peculiar past, recent resurgent Russian imperialism and Ukraine’s specific significance for the Kremlin. While these and similar approaches address important themes, many such explanations tend to miss, or dismiss, the first and foremost cause and crucial aspect of the issue at hand. The current international crisis in Eastern Europe has arisen due to concerns over the East European institutional structure – or lack thereof. One can easily explain and assess the current tensions in Eastern Europe without much knowledge about the region by simply pointing to the organisational underdevelopment of post-Soviet international relations.

January 2, 2018 - Andreas Umland

There is no question – we are able to defend ourselves

An interview with Raimonds Bergmanis, the Latvian minister of defence. Interviewer Linas Jegelevicius

LINAS JEGELEVICIUS: In a recent interview, your Lithuanian counterpart claimed that the situation in which the Baltics face now is “the riskiest and most dangerous since 1990”. Do you agree with this assessment?

RAIMONDS BERGMANIS: It is relative and the context should be taken into account. In the 1990s, our countries were still in the process of recovery and building our new state institutions like the armed forces, intelligence, security forces, etc. Alongside the domestic challenges, we were experiencing Russian pressure as well. We were vulnerable back then and, by no means, were these risk-free times. We were lucky that Russia was also vulnerable. However, it was not until 2004 when we joined NATO that we were able to have a real sense of security.

January 2, 2018 - Linas Jegelevicius Raimonds Bergmanis

How to embed Ukraine? The idea of an Intermarium coalition in East-Central Europe

Neither the European Union nor NATO will any time soon be able to fill the security vacuum they have left with their hesitant policies in the grey zones of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus. Both organisations have, in the past, amply demonstrated their inadequacy as strategically thinking and geopolitically resolute actors. Against this background, some post-Soviet politicians, diplomats and intellectuals are starting to discuss alternative options to, at least partially, increase their countries’ security. The most prominent among these concepts is the creation of a so-called “Intermarium coalition”.

July 6, 2017 - Kostiantyn Fedorenko and Andreas Umland

Integration and security: Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority

It is no surprise that the international community has become more preoccupied with the diplomatic relations between Estonia and Russia. While interest in the country’s political affairs is not particularly new, the increasing tensions between the Baltic states and Russia continue to alarm those who fear the possibility of conflict.

June 12, 2017 - Silviu Kondan

NATO needs to address its vulnerabilities

Interview with Seth G. Jones, director of the International Center for Security and Defense Policy at RAND. Interviewer: Michael Lambert

July 3, 2016 - Seth Jones

Making Sense of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Enlargement

The conversion of India and Pakistan into full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during the summit in Tashkent highlights the importance of the stabilisation of the wider Asian region. This will be the organisation's first ever enlargement since its inception in 2001 when Uzbekistan, having no direct border with China, was impressed by the Shanghai Five's performance in reducing conflict potential along China’s border with the Central Asian states. Having observed the organisation's growing potential Uzbekistan chose to join. At this point the the group changed its name to the SCO and outlined principles that would shape their fair and mutually beneficial cooperation. The chief principle was the status of partners. Introducing equality to the region, formerly dominated by Russian-led blocs, critically separated the SCO from any other organisation.

June 20, 2016 - David Erkomaishvili

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