BLACK SEA BASIN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
(A Background and January -
March 2000 Issue in Brief)
Hard Copy: ISSN 1311 3259
SPONSORED QUARTERLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
PROFILE BACKGROUND OF THE BLACK SEA BASIN
Geopolitical and Geostrategic Tendencies
2. Sources of Conflict
CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BLACK SEA AREA
2. The Kurdish Issue in Turkey
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTS
THE BILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BLACK SEA REGION
THE STATE OF REGIONAL INITIATIVES
The Economic Situation in Black Sea Region Countries and Its Consequences on
Black Sea Cooperation
Political and Security Aspects of the Cooperation
EXTERNAL FACTORS (STATES AND INSTITUTIONS) INFLUENCING THE BLACK SEA REGION
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND REGION-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES: CONCLUSION
Sea economic and political cooperation and region-building opportunities
continued to be overshadowed by uncertain security developments in the January
to March 2000 period. Though the Russian military campaign in Chechnya almost
drew to a close with the Chechen separatists and terrorists pulled away or
neutralized by federal forces, the major outcome has been a high enough
popularity for acting Russian President Vladimir Putin to gain patriotic
support and win the 26 March 2000 presidential elections. At the same time, political, economic,
humanitarian, and social prospects of the troubled region remain bleak. The capacity to integrate the people and
territory of Chechnya as well as that of the other non-Russian Caucasian areas
into a meaningful social, economic and political life after solving the many
humanitarian issues will provide for more optimistic development of the broader
Transcaucasian region and improvement of region-building chances. The real challenge for Moscow remains the
ability to negotiate a political solution to the warring territory’s complex
and gas issues of the broader Black Sea-Caspian Sea region continue to
determine the development of the geopolitical and geoeconomic situation. Competing projects in that field preserve
the potential to detonate political and strategic relations in the region
unless acceptable compromises are reached.
period witnessed active NATO efforts to bring regional actors, especially
Ukraine and Russia, into a working dialogue and cooperation that will reflect
positively on regional and broader security relations. Important prerequisites have been developed
for NATO to launch the policy of improving relations with Russia one year after
the cooling that followed the NATO campaign against FRY because of Kosovo. Some of Russia’s CIS partners from the GUUAM
(Georgia-Ukraine-Uzbekistan-Azerbaijan-Moldova), in addition to the Black Sea
states of Romania and Bulgaria, have demonstrated their will to strengthen
their ties with the Alliance.
January this year, one month after his visit to Ukraine, Armenian Foreign
Minister Vardan Oskanian said that his country would intensify its relations
with GUUAM. While becoming a member of
the union is not on the agenda, activating relations with Moldova and Uzbekistan
are part of the country’s foreign-political program. GUUAM is an organization that bears a clear pro-Western
the beginning of February Azeri Foreign
Minister Vilaiat Guliev declared that Baku fully supported creation of a
military pact with Ankara and Tbilisi.
This strategic alliance will lead to strengthening security and
stability of the region. The idea of
such an alliance stems from proposals by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia,
and Turkey to establish a Pact for Stability and Security.
Armenian minister of defense visited Minsk, Belarus, on 8-10 February and met
his counterpart Alexander Chumakov.
They discussed a plan for strategic and military-technical cooperation
between the two countries. The Armenian
Parliament ratified two bilateral Armenian-Belorussian military treaties on 7
February. One of them provides for
military help in case of aggression or threat of aggression against one of the
parties to the treaty.
Foreign Minister Guliev declared on 10 February that his country might join NATO and allow the establishment of
NATO bases on its territory. First, his
country’s armed forces need to be shaped along NATO standards. The relationship with the Alliance will gradually
evolve, according to the Azeri foreign minister. A NATO information center in Baku will soon be opened, and plans
are ongoing to prepare the first PfP exercise on Azerbaijan territory in 2001.
the visit of Azeri President G. Aliev to Washington on 15 February, Foreign
Minister Guliev changed his views and declared that his country would not
provide bases for the Alliance – a reversal of his declaration four days
earlier. Most obviously, these
geopolitical exercises display two tendencies:
first, there is no perception of stability and prospective regional
security by the countries of the Southern Caucasus, and second, NATO is not
rushing into the area in an effort to replace Russia in geopolitical and
geostrategic relations. The balance
between the CIS and GUAAM in political and strategic terms is very likely to
continue. Turkey, as a NATO country,
has an extremely delicate role in the fluid geopolitical situation. Any rush may turn into a dangerous detonator
in a region, already suffering from military conflicts. The visits of the NATO Secretary-General to
Ukraine, Moldova, and later to Russia clearly signify the will of the Alliance
to follow a cooperative line of relations with Russia in a situation in which
PfP partners are definitely drifting away from Moscow and wishing to be
involved with NATO.
political line that Russia would take after the presidential elections will be
of major importance regarding the next moves on the geopolitical and
geostrategic arena of the Black Sea-Transcaucasia-Caspian Sea region.
source of conflict during the first three months of this year continued to be
competing interests over oil and the gas pipelines from Russia and the Caspian
region to the world markets.
“Blue Stream” natural gas pipeline near the Russian city of Krasnodar started
construction on 2 February.„“ It will
be 1’200 km long and will lie partly on the bottom of the Black Sea. It will supply Turkey with Russian gas that
is expected to become available to individual consumers in Turkey in less than
a year, according to Russian intentions.
The project will cost $ 2.5 billion and is to be carried out by two
companies: Russia’s “Gasprom” and Italy’s ENI.
Stream” has two competing projects. One
is the gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel, and eventually to Syria, Lebanon, and
Turkey. This project, supported by US
energy companies, will supply gas to two prospective recipients of the same
product (Turkey and Israel) through “Blue Stream”.
other competing project is the “Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline” (TCGP), expected to
transport Turkmeni natural gas to Turkey through Azerbaijan and Georgia. It will be 2’000 km long and initial cost
calculations were recently corrected.
Now expectations are for $ 2 billion compared to $ 3.5 billion
earlier. Lower market prices of the
technical facilities and increased capacity of the gas pipeline are the major
reasons for the drop in price. There is
already a firm commitment by the governments of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan,
Georgia, and Turkey for accelerating the construction of the TCGP. American experts, stimulating the project
and participating in it, consider it already time to test the project
commercially, to set up the consortium and additional partners. A real issue that needs to be tackled is
Azerbaijan’s position. Azerbaijan
strives to promote transporting the newly found Azeri gas at “Shah Denis”,
where capacity is measured at between 700 billion and 1’000 billion cubic
meters. The obvious competition with
the TCGP may be solved by merging the two projects. However, this issue
requires further elaboration.
Russia is cooperating with Azerbaijan in providing a route by-passing Chechnya
for the Azeri Caspian oil from Baku to Novorossiysk. Transportation has been realized by railway through Chechnya, and
by mid-March 170 of the new oil pipeline’s 315 km had been constructed.
alongside the uncertain geopolitical and geostrategic shifts in the region, a
source of potential conflict continues to be the competing interests of various
actors concerning oil and gas transportation from the area to the world
markets. As stressed in the previous Profiles,
no less important are the same players’ elements of converging, overlapping, or
parallel interests – a good ground for testing cooperative approaches at both the
economic and politico-strategic level.
This judgment again highlights the careful position of NATO in
cooperating with its PfP partners and trying to enlarge the range of
cooperation with both Russia and Ukraine in the region. After the 26 March presidential elections,
an agreement for broader cooperation between Russia and its Western partners may provide new
opportunities for developing the common interests of parties involved in the
complex geopolitical, geoeconomic and geostrategic tangle.
the eve of the Presidential elections the major part of the Russian military
campaign has been completed. More
Russian soldiers and militiamen were killed after Russian authorities reported
the death of more than 1’800 servicemen.
After applying a new approach to the Chechnya operation in comparison to
1994-96 – minimizing losses plus maximizing fire power ¾ Russian
armed forces succeeded in by-passing pockets of resistance, leaving them to
special interior forces. The accurate
Tochka missile, fired at buildings in Grozny and the Arena system for defending
armoured vehicles, proved of great assistance to the armed forces. Useful lessons have been learned by the
Russian Air Force, Air Defense Force, and strategic leadership of the
country. Yet the war is not finally
over. More reports will be heard of
difficult direct clashes, ambushes, and acts of terror organized by Chechen
separatists. The military stability of
territories adjacent to Chechnya will be crucial for final success of the
these questions remain: 1) How will the military victory continue and
be used politically? 2) What political and constitutional formula will be
implemented in the troubled region? 3) How will the dramatic refugee issue be
solved? 4) How will the economy and social life be brought to normality to
prevent further eruptions of the Chechen conflict? The war in Chechnya further complicated older questions: How will the Chechens stop fearing Russians? And will the Russians stop considering the former eternal
criminals? Another issue remains
unsolved: How can Russia democratically
integrate into the federation the various Caucasian people and ethnic groups
with their varying religions, cultures, customs, and traditions?
region’s humanitarian situation that was created by the Chechen conflict
remains one of the most troubling outcomes of the war. The $2.4 million that the USA provided for
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 29 February to support
activities related to the conflict in Chechnya will hardly be enough to cover
the many other needs. The good news for
the region’s people is that the combination of Russian military success and
Western insistence on applying political means to resolve the conflict produced
a promising result on 3 March. US
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gamma,
EU Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten, and Russian Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanov agreed on the following during their first ever US-EU-Russian Trilateral Meeting in Lisbon,
Portugal: 1) an ambassadorial visit by
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to Chechnya; 2)
two experts on human rights of the Council of Europe (CE) will be located in
the Office of President Putin’s representative to Chechnya; 3) the president of
the International Red Cross will visit Chechnya; 4) better involvement of
humanitarian organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in
Chechnya. Acting Russian President
Putin’s appointment of an ombudsman to investigate human-rights violations is a
step in the right direction if enough information and expertise are involved to
reveal such violations and the offenders are held accountable for their
actions. EU Commissioner Patten said
that there is a good deal of humanitarian assistance that the EU would like to
make available, but assurance is needed that the circumstances exist to deliver
good sign about the future fate of Chechnya is that part of the discussions
during the presidential campaign concentrated on rebuilding the rebellious
republic. In the course of these
discussions, some practical steps were made toward post-conflict
rehabilitation. Preparation for spring
crops in Chechnya was made during February-March with federal financial support
in 10 of the republic’s regions. In
another measure the Russian government launched a program to teach entrepreneurial
activity to the republic’s economically active population. Participants in the program will be eligible
for federal subsidies. No doubt this
effort to divert the militant energy of the Chechens into constructive peaceful
activity may cancel the present illegal dealing in drugs, slaves, gold, arms,
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) announced on 9 February that it will end its
15-year guerrilla insurrection against Turkey and start political struggle
forKurdish rights in a peaceful way within the framework of democracy. Turkish authorities expect the PKK to lay
its arms down before they do anything, and they therefore refrain from any
comments. The armed wing of the PKK
will be reorganized, and the phasing of this process will correspond to the
democratic transformation of Turkey and solution of the Kurdish question. Another of the rebels’ conditions is that
peace will remain inseparably linked to the fate of Abdulah Ocalan. His brother and the PKK leader said they
will not lay down arms, because Turkey has not responded to previous PKK peace
moves. During an interview in Brussels
he explained that the rebels will stay up in the mountains, not to attack but
to defend themselves.
is not yet clear if all guerrillas and PKK commanders would accept this central
leadership platform. And Turkey
expects Ocalan 4,500 rebels to
surrender without preconditions.
Ocalan’s death sentence and the future integration of PKK Kurds are still kept
on hold by Turkish authorities, testing the reactions of EU authorities in a
process of prolonged mutual adaptation.
Political wisdom calls for any form of mutually accepted rationality
through political discourse instead of armed struggle – a vision that requires
internal agreement rather than international accommodation.
months after the assassinations in the Armenian Parliament the political
situation in the country remains in crisis.
Pressure on President Robert Kocharian to step down is ineffective, and
the arguments that he was involved in the assassinations and deaths are not
serious. The arrests ordered by the
chief investigator arouse suspicions of political motivation. The political stalemate in the country has
led to ineffective government – a development that probably has some logical
relationship with the assassination attempt against the president of the
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on 22 March.
17 March Prime Minister Ivan Kostov presented Parliament a new edition of his
Government Program – “2001”. It
reflects the new situation at the beginning of
EU accession negotiations and seeks to accelerate implementation of
economic measures to improve the present dramatically low living standards of
more than 80% of Bulgarians.
Russian government presented a new defense doctrine that marks no serious
deviation from the 1997 concept. One
can certainly doubt the effect of the “first-use pledge regarding nuclear
weapons”; it apparently bears little
operational meaning, especially if one considers the rough nuclear parity of
Russia and the USA.
the second half of January the Chinese defense minister visited his Russian counterpart,
Sergeev, in Moscow. A new step was made
in bilateral military cooperation within the Navy, Air Force, education,
purchase of anti-ship missiles, and space technology. Russian Acting President Putin confirmed his country’s strategic
relations with China during the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister to Moscow
in late February. Peace and stability
on the planet are joint objectives of the two countries, the Chinese minister
added. Putin pointed to the regional
meaning of the bilateral relations too.
President Lukashenko of Belorus was elected Chairman of the Council of the
Russia-Belorus Union on 26 January.
Acting President Putin and President Lukashenko exchanged ratification
documents establishing the union. The
new union’s Council of Ministers was presided over by the Russia’s Deputy
Prime Minister Michail Kassyanov.
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine arrived in Moscow on 3 February and met
with his counterpart and with the acting Russian president. Chechnya, Russian-EU relations, bilateral
relations, Kosovo, the Middle East, and other issues were discussed during the
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife visited Saint Peterburg on 10-11 March
and met with the acting Russian President Putin and his wife. The UK and the Blair government will
definitely support economic reforms that President Putin was expected to launch
following his election on 26 March.
are many challenges for the newly elected Russian president in the political, social, economic, strategic,
global, and regional affairs. The
greatest of all challenges, according to this Profile, is to move from
the ‘Hope in the Man’ image by presenting something more reliable to the
„hopees“ – ‘Hope in the System’.
Kuchma issued a decree on 15 January setting 16 April as the date for a
referendum on constitutional changes.
Voters will be asked to answer the following questions: 1) Are they confident in the Parliament (the
Supreme Rada), and, if not, should the president have the right to dissolve it?
2) Should the president have the right to dissolve the Rada if members fail to
produce a working majority in one month, or to approve the state budget within
three months? 3) Should the deputies
remain immune from prosecution for wrong-doing? 4) Should the number of
deputies be cut from 450 to 300? 5) Should a second chamber be created to
represent regional interests? The
referendum issue was central to the fight between the government and opposition
deputies with rival ‘parliaments’ meeting in two different buildings – until
the majority took possession of the official chamber and opened the session on
present internal political situation in Ukraine raises fundamental questions
about the separation of powers among the institutions and the role of the media
in a democratic society. There are
doubts whether President Kuchma is driving the situation towards a fully
Ukrainian president signed a law prohibiting the death penalty during the
second half of March – a step that brings the Ukrainian legislature closer to
Council of Europe requirements.
(1) The Russian arms-trading giant ‘Rossvooruzhenie’
and the Ukrainian State Armaments Company agreed at the end of January to sell
specific naval facilities to Greece in a joint deal. Under other circumstances the two companies have been fierce
competitors on the world market.
(2) The Russia’s first deputy
prime minister, M. Kassyanov, visited Kiev in the end of February and met with
President Kuchma for a discussion on the Ukrainian debt to Russia ($ 2-3
billion). The new prime minister of
Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko, also met with Kassyanov.
b) Bulgaria-Armenia and Bulgaria-Azerbaijan
the end of December 1999 Bulgaria announced its decision to introduce a visa
regime with Armenia and Azerbaijan from 1 January 2000. The decision paralleled Bulgaria’s
commitment to harmonize its visa regime with the EU.
c) Bulgaria- Georgia
one-day visit in early March to Tbilisi was made by Bulgarian Defense Minister
Boyko Noev and the first deputy chief of the Bulgarian General Staff. Military agreements on bilateral cooperation
were signed by the Bulgarian military leaders and their Georgian counterparts.
dispute between the two countries over Nagorno-Karabakh evolved into an
Armenian cyber-attack against Azerbaijan, which is less powerful in Internet
technologies. The target has been the
Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Meantime,
Armenian President R. Kocharian of Armenia said in mid-February that Armenians
must do all they can to reach a compromise on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. He said this was the best way to attract
substantial foreign investments in the region.
Green Party called for an international investigation of the Esheri (Abkhasia)
Russian secret military laboratory in mid-January. The Greens speculate that nuclear and tectonic weapons are developed
by the laboratory.
President Suleiman Demirel visited Tbilisi in mid-January – just a few days
after his meeting in Ankara with the Azeri President G. Aliev. He met with Georgian President Eduard
Shevardnadze, and the large Turkish delegation of governmental officials and
businessmen talked on various bilateral-cooperation issues. Turkey is Georgia’s second largest trading
partner after Russia. Unsolved details
of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline highlighted the discussions.
will intensify its work on building the Poti-Odessa ferry-boat complex and
realizing Eurasian transport corridors, Georgian Minister Lordkipanidze said in
late January at his meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister.
Ismaihl Cem, the Turkish foreign minister made the
first official visit to Greece by a Turkish Foreign Minister in some 40 years
on 4 February. It reciprocated a trip
to Ankara in January by Greek Foreign Minister G. Papandreou. The visit to Athens also marked a new level
of improving Turkish-EU relations. Five
cooperation agreements resulted from the visit.
The Ukrainian coastguard shot at Turkish fishing boats
on 22 March, violating Ukraine’s territorial waters. One boat was sunk and two Turkish fishermen were killed in the
The territorial sea, the economic zone, and the
continental shelf are issues not yet regulated within Law of the Sea Convention
rules (1982). During the past decade
Turkish fishermen have amassed a huge record of violations of the acting
treaties that regulate the territorial waters of Ukraine, Romania, and
Acting President Putin was elected chairman of the CIS during the summit
meeting of the Commonwealth on 25 January.
Contradictory to some expectations, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan
preserved their CIS membership.
(2) Egor Stroev, chairman of the
Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS, suggested to the parliamentarians in
early March that Saint Peterburg become the capital of the CIS. (3)
Joint military exercise „Southern Shield-2000“ will take place on 3-4
April in seven CIS countries – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgistan, Tadjikistan,
Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Armenia.
Azerbaijan has been establishing a diversified economy, all its plans had been
based on oil revenues yet to be realized.
At the end of January the government changed its plans to privatize the
state oil company SOCAR. Foreign
companies have made large investments in infrastructure and buying
vouchers. The level of investment is
very probably going to drop. During the
first days of February the situation was further worsened by the fuel crisis. It came after overselling on the
international market at a period of higher prices. Sales of oil and oil product account for 75% of the state
budget. The economic and the energy
crises are directly linked by analysts to the Aliyev family’s incompetent management.
faces payment of $3.1 billion this year, equivalent to approximately three
times the country’s reserves. The
government of Victor Yushchenko has an ambitious reform program. Figures from the first two months of the
year show an increase in budget income 1.5 times larger than the previous
year. The 6.2% growth in GNP for
January and February is the first
positive figure in the last nine years.
Ukraine’s chronic energy debts to Russia may be solved through a
debt-for-equity swap – by handling state-owned enterprises in lieu of
cash. The difficulty may come from lack
of agreement on how much Ukraine owes Russia.
Government predictions are for 1% GDP growth this year.
(1) In mid-January Georgian President
Shevardnadze launched an idea to convene a meeting on issues of security and
cooperation in the Caucasus It may eventually evolve into an organization on
security and cooperation – a kind of a “regional OSCE”. According to Shevardnadze, participants in
the all-Caucasus process should be Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan,
but also the USA, Turkey, and the EU.
(2) The sixth working expert
meeting on navy cooperation in the Black Sea took place on 15-17 March in a
Bulgarian military resort north of Varna.
Representatives of the foreign and defense ministries of Bulgaria,
Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine discussed creation of a task
group for navy cooperation in the Black Sea.
The meeting was opened by the Bulgarian Navy Chief of Staff,
Rear-Admiral Peter Petrov.
US Secretary of State Albright visited Moscow at the
end of January and met with her colleague, Russian Foreign Minister I. Ivanov
and with Acting President Putin. Arms
control and non-proliferation issues figured prominently in the talks. START II, START III, and the ABM Treaty were
central in the discussions, but were not subjects for one-day miracles. Chechnya, European security, and
reinvigorated NATO ties with Russia were also topics discussed. The two leaders of the foreign-policy
institutions signed two agreements: one
on satellite technology and aerospace cooperation and another that updates the
1987 agreement on nuclear risk reduction.
(2) USA-Ukraine. US Secretary of State Albright said on 18 January in a speech at
Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International
Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D. C. that the Clinton administration will be
focusing particular attention and resources during 2000 on challenges faced by
four “key democracies” – one of them is Ukraine.
Stephen Sestanovich, special advisor to the US secretary of state for the new
independent states (NIS) met in Kiev with Ukrainian President Kuchma and other
top government officials on 3-4 February. They discussed Ukraine’s plans for
economic reform and how the United States can best support them.
(3) USA-Azerbaijan. President Aliyev of Azerbaijan visited Washington, D.C., and met
with President Clinton on 12-15 February.
They discussed prospects for a Nagorno-Karabakh peace settlement. Aliyev brought an update to the US President
on discussions going on between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Caspian energy development, the common
commitment between the USA and Azerbaijan on the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, and
regional security issues were topics of the bilateral talks.
(1) NATO-Ukraine. The Secretary-General of NATO, Lord George Robertson,
visited Kiev during the first week of February. On 8 February Ukraine was visited by the Supreme Allied Commander
in Europe (SACEUR), Gen. Wesley Clark.
The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) met for the first time on Ukrainian
soil on 1 March. The US permanent
representative on the North Atlantic Council (NAC) said to Odessa State
University students on 2 March that increased cooperation between the Alliance
and Ukraine is good for Ukraine’s security, good for NATO’s security, and good
for the security of all nations of Central and Eastern Europe.
(2) NATO-Moldova. Lord Robertson visited Moldova on 12 February after similar
visits to Romania and Bulgaria.
(3) NATO-Russia. Russian realism towards the role and impact of NATO was
demonstrated on 16 February when Lord Robertson met with the Russian foreign
minister, defense minister, and Acting President Putin in Moscow after 11
months of frozen relations resulting from Russia’s protest over the NATO-led
bombing of FRY. There was an agreement
to expand contacts in a significant way.
The joint statement at the end of the visit says both sides would pursue
a vigorous dialogue on a wide range of security issues. These, it said, will enable NATO and Russia to address the
challenges that lie ahead and to make their mutual cooperation a cornerstone of
European security. The meeting showed
Russian President Putin’s intentions not to abstain from relations with the
West but rather to establish them in pursuing Russia’s interests. The meeting was Putin’s answer to an earlier
comment by US President Clinton that Putin is a person with whom the USA can do
NATO-Russia Joint councilwas convened in Brussels on 15 March – almost a year
after the beginning of NATO’s operation „Allied Force“ in FRY. A long list of topics was on the Joint
Council agenda, and the good news was that a modest start has finally been
made. The last year gave Russia the
opportunity to assess attitudes towards NATO of not only its former Central and
Southeastern European allies but also of half the former Soviet republics. Membership or very close relationships with
NATO were the political judgements of governments and people of these
countries. This is a stimulating factor
for Russia, apart from many others, to stay a board a working relationship with
to the Agency for Political News (APN) in Russia in mid-March, 29% of Russians
think the Russian Federation must join the Alliance as a full member. Another 18% would prefer to see a bilateral
military alliance with China, 18% a
military alliance within the CIS, and 15% a restored Warsaw Pact. Yet 11% do not want any alliances for
1. Though separatists’ resistance in Chechnya
remains here and there, the Russian federal military victory is not in doubt,
as is the dramatic humanitarian situation in and around the republic. The first modest post-conflict
reconstruction efforts can be witnessed, but Russia needs much greater
financial resources to invest in the peaceful build-up of the war-torn
territory and people – certainly a continuing challenge for the newly elected
president of Russia. The need for
stability and Western cooperation as well as the expansion eastwards of
pro-Atlantic sentiment led Russian policy-makers to a smoother yet not very
active relationship with NATO. The
bilateral inter-state links of the USA continued to drive and motivate
stability in the region.
2. Competing oil and gas pipeline projects,
many Black Seat countries’ energy debts to Russia and and dependence upon it,
the crisis or near crisis state of most of the region’s national economies
continued to shape opportunities for region-building. Russia’s eventual assumption of ability as a global economic
actor and partner after the presidential elections may allow gradual
transformation of the Black Sea-Caspian Sea area into a viable, functioning,
and self-sustainable region. Turkey’s
ability to boost the fledgling economies of some of its neighboring nations may
also promote the region. Adequate
political and security interrelationship should evolve parallel to these
processes. Both tasks are quite
unattainable without the long-term commitment within the region of the USA,
NATO, and the EU.
CONTACT AND REFERENCE
Dr. Plamen Pantev, Editor–in–Chief
ISSN 1311 – 3240
Dr. Tatiana Houbenova-Delissivkova
Address: ISIS, 1618 Sofia,
Mr. Valeri Rachev, M. A.
P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria
Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
Dr. Todor Tagarev