(A Background and February-April 1999 Issue in Brief)

© Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS), Sofia

Research Study 1

Hard copy: ISBN 954 - 9533 - 11 - 5





1. Chechnya
2. Ingushetia
3.North Ossetia
4. Daghestan
5. Abkhazia
6. Southern Ossetia
7. Ajaria
9. Kurdish Resistance in Turkey
10. Greek-Turkish Conflicts
11. The Transdniestra Conflict
12. The Russian-Ukrainian Tensions







The launch of the 'Black Sea Basin Regional Profile' by ISIS with the support of the ISN stems from the need to monitor, analyse and predict processes and events in the Black Sea area and the adjacent Balkan, Caucasian and Caspian regions. Many conflicts burst in the post-Cold War era in these areas. Simultaneously various economic, social and political factors stimulated the rise of real opportunities for cooperation in the Black Sea basin, for shaping prerequisites of local countries to join the Eastern enlargement of the European and the Euroatlantic civic and security zone, and the globalising economy too. These opportunities do not receive, however, an unanimous acceptance of which follow new interstate contradictions and tensions.

The patterns of security and foreign-policy behaviours of the regional actors in the last decade vary strongly - a reflection of the different domestic environments, conceptual orientations of the respective societies, international affiliations and of the still immature level of regional cooperation.

The interaction of the various foreign-political interests and behaviours , the dynamics of the security situation and the accumulation of the substance of a conflict-settlement potential of the region and the utilisation of the region-building opportunities are in the focus of the Profile.


II Profile Background of the Black Sea Basin

1. Geopolitical and Geostrategic Aspects

In the Spring of 1996 the RAND experts Ronald D. Asmus, F. Stephen Larrabee and Ian O. Lesser described the formation of two arcs of crises on the European continent, that cross each other dangerously in the triangle "Middle East-The Balkans-Transcaucasia". The first arc divides Russia and Germany and starts from Northern Europe and reaches the Balkans. The second one cuts the Mediterranean Sea, starting from North Africa and through the Middle East reaches South-Western Asia. The Black Sea basin and the littoral territories acquire a key strategic meaning and role inside these arcs of crises.

Unlike the RAND experts this 'Profile' does not equate the strategic meaning and contents of the two arcs of tensions and crises. The situation in Europe, in the Euroatlantic space and the OSCE zone is incomparable to the conflict potential of the "Southern" crisis arc. The persistent and purposeful policy of NATO, EU/WEU to build together with Russia and the OSCE a new and more effective interlocking institutional security system has dramatically diminished the conflict potential of the first crisis arc. The formula for that is a difficult compromise of the enlarging NATO and EU interests, of the Russian security interests and the definite unwillingness of the Central/Eastern European countries to serve as a "strategic buffer" between the West and the East and a clear will to participate actively in the eastward expansion of the civil space and the zone of stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic-Asiatic components of the OSCE area. A historical responsibility of the Central/Eastern European countries is to support the complex process of reaching strategic compromises of the security interests of their own countries, of the EU/WEU, NATO and Russia. This fundamental difference between the two arcs of crises is a prerequisite the evolving and inherited from the Cold War Northern arc to dilute and neutralise the harmful effects of the Southern one.

This is the indispensable analytical framework of treating the Black Sea basin security issues and their interaction with the conflicts in the Balkans and in the Transcaucasian-Caspian subregions. Apart from other factors these conflicts are also influenced by leading world power centres trying to redefine the geopolitical spheres on the basis of the evolving geoeconomic conditions and interests. This perspective provides us as well with the ability to assess the role of the Black Sea region in the process of shaping a manageable system of European security.

2. Civilizational Aspects

The Black Sea basin and the coastal area similarly to the Balkans has been a point of contact and interaction of different ethnic groups, nations and civilisations since ancient times. The Caucasus - "the mountain of tongues", and the Caspian basin comprise an extremely coloured and complicated ethnic "mosaic". Big masses of Russian population share 300,000 square kilometres with more than 60 other ethnic groups of local origin. They all live in the Transcaucasian states and in the autonomous republics of the Northern Caucasus. 60 other ethnic groups whose homeland is outside the region are also present. At the same time all the Caucasian main ethnic groups consist of several ethnic sub-groups and smaller sub-groupings that often are considered separate entities. Adding Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek and Kurdish population completes this rich ethnic picture of the area.

The religious structure of the Black Sea basin and its adjacent territories is heterogeneous too. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is represented in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia and Armenia (Armenian Monofisite-Gregorian Church). Part of the Ukrainian and less of all the other Orthodox Christians are Catholics. An insignificant number of confessors is Protestant. A big part of the people of the broader region of the Black Sea basin are Muslims (in Turkey, Albania, Azerbaijan - Shiite Muslims, North Caucasian autonomous regions of the Russian Federation) - mostly Sunni.

This region bears in it two cultures and value systems - a tempting argument to classify the local conflicts, especially the ethno-territorial ones between Christian and Moslem people, in the terms and categories of Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilisations" paradigm. Our perception is that even when these conflicts erupt along cultural and denominational dividing lines and boundaries they have a basically economic and political nature. Chechnya is a vivid example of utilising religious differences for achieving geopolitical and economic objectives. The war in Chechnya is part of the competition over the route of the Caspian oil to Western Europe. On the issues of the ethno-religious differences and tensions our fundamental assumption is that the policy of particular states shape the direction of their development into a major conflict and crisis. For example, political and economic projects planning for new transport links and communications and stable passage of the energy supplies provide a peaceful political option and better business opportunities for the region. An accent on trans-national issues in the Black Sea basin area may lead to breaking up of the "ethnic autism", the fixation on national relics and on religious intolerance - i. e. important prerequisites for the solution of the ethno-religious conflicts. The recollection of historic lines of communication, such as "the silk route" could re-emerge in new forms as the Eurasian transport corridor. And on the contrary, a new "great game" of a regional and international geoeconomic and geopolitical rivalry may shift the conflicts to the global level.

3. Sources of Conflict in the Black Sea Basin Region

Sources of real and potential conflicts in the region are:

    a. The birth of new state actors after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the inadequate state-building stability and the reflection of this on the configuration of the interstate relations in the adjacent regions of the Caucasus, Caspian Sea basin and the Balkans.

    b. The transforming military balance, mainly among the three largest armed forces in Europe - those of Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. The acquisitions of armaments in the Black Sea and in the neighbouring regions are huge both in quantities and quality. This is true also for the armaments industrial capacity of the region. Major issues sprang in the naval balances of the Black Sea - between Russia and Ukraine, between Russia and Turkey. A universal issue is the violation by Turkey in 1994 of the 1936 Montreux Convention about the passage through the Straits. The activity of PfP countries' navies in maritime exercises may also cause disputes. There is an almost non-existent system of confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the maritime environment of the Black Sea. The question of the higher ceilings for force deployments of Russia and Turkey than permitted by the Vienna CFE negotiations' initial agreements remains controversial and yet unsettled. Issues linked to the level of the civilian and democratic control over the armed forces in the littoral states may also lead to escalation of regional tensions.

    c. The Black Sea basin is an area of unhomogeneous economic systems and of grave ecological problems. Pollution is the worst of them. It is caused by the coastal and other European states through the Danube, Dniestr and Dniepr rivers and may lead to internal political instabilities and usher disputes over the origins of the pollution.

    d. After 16 November 1994 the Convention of the Law of the Sea (1982) came into force and new geopolitical problems stemmed from it: about the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), including the continental shelf, of the sea spaces (territorial waters, geographic centre of the Black Sea, agreements between the neighbouring littoral states, etc.). Legal clarity is indispensable for the solid legal basis of both the economic and the military activity in the Black Sea.

    e. The imperfect political stability of the transitional countries of the region, the appearance of highly organised criminality linked with the global structures in this sphere and the absence of a regional security system is a potential source of local conflicts. Turkey - the major naval power of the Black Sea and a key strategic country, faces permanently three grave issues with a potential detonating regional effect - Islamic fundamentalism, the Mafia and the Kurdish question. Turkish-Greek tensions add to the depression of the political climate in the area. While Turkey and Greece belong to NATO, all former Soviet Union states of the region are part of the military umbrella of the CIS. Bulgaria and Romania are NATO applicants and EU associated countries.

    f. The Black Sea and its littoral states have acquired the feature of a potential battlefield for the oil and natural gas pipelines from Russia and the Caspian Sea basin. The diversification of the energy supplies may significantly change the European and North American dependencies from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf oil reservoirs. The solution of this problem may lead to conflicts of various proportions - as well as to opportunities for mutual benefits of the actors involved.

Obstacles of a different character to the normal transportation of oil and gas through and around the Black Sea are the risks of terrorist activities in Chechnya and in the regions with Kurdish resistance organisation. All countries that are interested in the oil and gas supplies will profit from the lasting and stable resolution of the Chechen conflict and the complex Kurdish question.


III Conflicts and Post-Conflict Developments in the Black Sea Area

A broad array of conflict and post-conflict issues exist in the Black Sea basin area:

1. Chechnya

The peace agreement of August 1996 provided for a postponement of the future status of Chechnya until a referendum in 2001 is to be held. The rebellious republic continued its secessionist policy and insists on an international recognition as a sovereign state. The political and the economic situation of Chechnya has the potential to destabilise the entire region of the North Caucasus. A recent tendency of proliferating Wahabbitism - a fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam, adds strongly to this potential. Poverty, criminalisation of the state and rampant violence alongside with a clear willingness to abandon federal control continue to characterise the situation in Chechnya. An internal struggle between President Aslan Maskhadov of Chechnya, portrayed as too soft with Russia, and 'Brigadier-General' Shamil Basaev, former acting prime-minister and field-commander led to the latter's election on 19 February 1999 as chairman of the Shura - a ruling council of 35 opposition figures set up by the field commanders. This marked a new effort of relaunching the struggle for independence. Not long after Maskhadov has been alleged to have met secretly with the Russian interior minister Stepashin and to have bypassed the Chechen parliament by appointing a cabinet with a decree, the president of the republic hardly managed to survive an assassination attempt. Kidnapping high-level Russian security representatives by the opposition has become another instrument of intimidating Maskhadov and provoking the central authorities of Russia.

2. Ingushetia

Mutual accusations with Moscow on separatism from the Russian Federation and on disregarding the local traditions by the federal government raised the tensions. However, a controversial referendum due to be held on 28 February 1999 about subordinating the prosecutors' and the law-enforcement powers to the Ingush President has been cancelled and relations with Moscow placed back on a negotiation and conciliation track. Although the Constitution of Ingushetia declares the republican laws take precedence over the federal ones, no decisive steps have been undertaken to enforce federal legislature.

3. North Ossetia

North Ossetian leadership is in a process of being persuaded by the federal authorities in Moscow to agree to sign a 20-year moratorium on territorial disputes and allocation of finance to restore damaged housing.

4. Daghestan

The largest ethnic group in Daghestan are the Avars. It is quite probable that Moscow considers the active maintenance of stability is at too high cost. This is why Russia has de-concentrated its forces at the Daghestani/Chechen border. The preference of Russia after experiencing several terrorist attacks on its motor rifle brigade stationed in Daghestan is for recruiting local interior forces to preserve the order. Another tense issue is connected with the claims of Chechens to return to places from which they have been forcefully moved in 1944 on the territory of Daghestan. Islam militants have terrorised the Laks, the people who inhabit the contested Novolaksky district in Daghestan.

5. Abkhazia

After a lost war of Georgia the reintegration of Abkhazia (as well as of Southern Ossetia and of Ajaria) into a federal state is on the mind of the leaders in Tbilisi. A divided Russian political elite has led to the inconsistency of the Russian policy to this conflict. The OSCE and the UN have also been involved in the issues of Abkhazian-Georgian relations.

6. Southern Ossetia

The arbitrary end of the autonomy of South Ossetia by Georgia led to a struggle for freedom to join North Ossetia - part of the Russian Federation. The Russian involvement in the conflicts is developing very much according to the ways the Russian-Georgian relations are being settled.

7. Ajaria

The restive population of Ajaria includes also turned into Islam Georgians. For long Ajaria has been part of the federal structure of Georgia.

8. Karabakh

After fighting a successful war of Armenia against Azerbaijan about the Karabakh question the post-conflict developments need to be carefully monitored. The involvement of Russia, the United States and France as co-chairs of the Minsk Group has proven by now to bring more conciliation in the troubled area. A skilful diplomatic treatment of the issue by the President of Azerbaijan, G. Aliev, contributes to the gradual settlement of the issues.

9. Kurdish Resistance in Turkey

The arrest of the Kurdish PKK leader A. Ocelan led to increased tensions in Turkey, mainly intensification of the terrorist acts. The bilateral Greek-Turkish relations were also affected - Greece was officially accused of supporting international terrorism. The eventual trial of Ocelan will be carefully monitored by many human rights organisations and by the EU authorities.

10. Greek-Turkish Conflicts about the Aegean Sea, Cyprus and Western Thrace 

The Greek-Turkish relations consume a great part of the attention and the political energy of NATO. It effectively keeps the bilateral conflicts under control.

11. The Transdniestria Conflict

The Russian position about the conflict is that the withdrawal of the Russian 14th army will be synchronised with the settlement of the Transdniestr conflict. An ultimate settlement may deprive Russia of the levers of keeping its military presence in the region. In 1997 Moldova, the Transdniestria Moldovan Republic (TMR), Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE signed a Memorandum of Principles of Normalisation of Relations between Moldova and the TMR. It envisaged some settlement guarantees of the conflict prior to attaching to the TMR a particular status to Moldova. A Joint Control Commission and peace-making posts of 500 representatives of Moldova, the TMR and Russia in equal shares oversee the implementation of the agreement. A new agreement of March 1998 in Odessa improves the mechanism of conflict settlement. The dividing issue remains the claim of the Tiraspol authorities of the TMR for sovereignty and statehood while Chisinau is ready only to provide the TMR with the status of autonomy. A positive mediating role in settling this conflict is played by Ukraine.

12. The Russian-Ukrainian Tensions about the Crimea, the Black Sea Navy and Economic Issues


IV The National Perspectives: Specific Developments

Eleven states were involved in a major regional initiative since 1992 - the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). Monitoring and specific issues in the 11 countries may effectively help the formation of the regional profile. These 11 countries are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Particular attention will be devoted to Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Any significant internal developments in each of the 11 countries that contribute to the moulding of the regional profile will be reflected in the periodical.


V The Bilateral and the Multilateral Relations in the Black Sea Region

A special focus of the 'Profile' will be the bilateral, trilateral and multilateral relations in the monitored period and how they affect the regional situation.

The relations between Russia and Turkey - the most powerful actors in the Black Sea region particularly matter for the security situation. From the point of view of the eventual escalation of the conflicting aspects in the bilateral Russian-Turkish relations it is no problem to be reminded of the traditional mistrust of the two countries, the record of thirteen wars they have fought against each other in the last five centuries, the negative reactions that may stem from the misperceptions of each others' intentions and capabilities. It is instructive, however, to be reminded that this record has been stopped during the greater part of this century due to the pragmatic and temperate policy of restraint since the 20s when fundamental bilateral agreements have been reached and respected.


VI State of the Regional Initiatives: the BSEC

The BSEC was launched after a Turkish initiative on 25 June 1992 in Istanbul by the leaders of 11 countries of the subregion (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine). It still remains the major regional cooperation undertaking in the Black Sea basin. On 5 June 1998 in Yalta the 11 countries adopted the Charter of the Organisation of the BSEC. The Charter legally upgraded the forum and defined the BSEC region - the territories of the member-states of the regional economic organisation. Austria, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Tunisia hold an observer status. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), FYROM, Uzbekistan, Iran, France and Germany have also expressed an interest in either joining or observing the activity of the BSEC. The OBSEC cooperates also with the following international organisations: the EU, WTO, UN/ECE, UNIDO, MERCOSUR and with neighbouring subregional groupings as the SECI, CEI, the EU initiated 'Royaumont Process' of Stability and Good-Neighbourliness in Southeast Europe and with the locally initiated Process on Stability and Security and Cooperation in Southeast Europe (the 'Sofia Process'). The objectives of the BSEC are the promotion of economic cooperation for avoiding conflicts, achieving peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the OSCE principles and for assisting the participant states in their integration in the European and world economy. The fields of cooperation include trade and investment, transport, communication and energy, tourism, environment, science and research. The achievements of the economic cooperation in the region by now are rather modest. The BSEC is considered a political success because it is bringing together in a forum the Black Sea states. However, the practical results are limited to that.

1. Economic Aspects of the Black Sea Cooperation

a) The BSEC runs into the following problems and difficulties: this region and the adjacent Southeastern Europe remain 'high risk' for the investors because of the different conflicts and especially those in ex-Yugoslavia. This leads to isolation from the dynamic world processes;
difficulties in the macroeconomic stabilisation of the transitional countries - a needed prerequisite for non-inflation rise and structure reforms;
the Russian financial crisis, its consequences of shrinking the markets of goods and services, of decreasing the rate of trade in the BSEC countries;
slow and low level of the process of mutual liberalisation of the trade-economic exchange in the BSEC;
a general depressive state of the economies of the region with a tendency to deepen due to their separation from the progress of the European integration and to the growing gap with the economies of the developed countries;
a slow and almost ineffective realisation of: regional projects of common interest, investment in these projects (local and international) - despite the declarations of a political will to cooperate;
a continuing mutual reservation and non-engagement in promoting issues and projects of multilateral and bilateral interest.

b) The enlisted tendencies contribute largely to the limited results of the various BSEC designs. The specific economic difficulties in each of the countries in the region does not allow making significant steps of mutual cooperation. A major feature of the BSEC countries is the lack of an adequately formed mutual interest of deepening the economic relations and the realisation of joint projects.

c) The need of foreign investments.The low financial capabilities of the BSEC countries to implement regional projects inevitably require the attraction of international capital and investments. This specific way of developing regional cooperation through foreign investments runs into problems by now - because of the high risks of the region and of the general refraining of the international financial markets to invest in the newly springing markets after the crises in East Asia and in Russia.

The unhomogeneous economic structures, potential and levels of employment as well as guaranteed resources do not stimulate the interest of mutual overlapping in promoting their development. The difficulties of the individual economies highlight the priority of the internal economic stabilisation as a prerequisite to participate in the BSEC.

d) The role of the institutional structures, including the Black Sea bank.The existing institutional structure of the BSEC supports the political dialogue and the search of economic opportunities for developing the cooperation.

The Black Sea Bank may play a substantial role in the realisation of joint projects. Its objective is to become an investment financial centre for directing cooperation. A real issue for the Bank is to outline and analyse the financial and the credit problems as a first step in balancing the interests of the BSEC members. The mobility of the production factors is another obstacle in balancing the interests of the participating states.

e) The forecasting assessment.There are unfavourable conditions and prerequisites of developing the BSEC. The slowed down structure reform of the transitional countries will influence negatively the BSEC.

2. Political and Security Aspects of the Black Sea Regional Cooperation

In the conceptual terms of security studies the Organisation for Black Sea Economic Cooperation (OBSEC), though a 'purely' economic one, fulfils major security and conflict prevention functions in an ethnically and politically volatile region. From the point of view of this broader conceptual perspective about security and conflict settlement the answer to a traditional question about the BSEC: "Is there a political and security dimension?" is definitely 'yes'. The organisation was born by a political decision and the institutional regulation of the economic relations have a political normative nature. The ratification of the Charter of OBSEC by the member-states will result in the strengthening of the political character of the institution through the assumption of legal features of the relationships.

OBSEC definitely has a security dimension too. The BSEC is not exempt from part of the spectrum of security roles open to other subregional groups in Central/Eastern Europe: the existential level of security; the soft security contribution to the overall security situation and explicit security role. There are ideas, originating from Turkey, of developing a hard security role too, mainly in the navy relations of the six littoral states - Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria.

There is another aspect of the regional political and security relations - the establishment of an interface between the OBSEC and the European and Euroatlantic security institutions: OSCE, EU, WEU, NATO/EAPC/PfP. More is needed to develop the cooperation on issues of civil-military relations with the objective to upgrade the democratic control over the security institutions, including the armed forces.


VII External Factors (States and Institutions) Influencing the Black Sea Region

There are various institutional affiliations of the countries from the Black Sea region, especially to NATO, EU and the WEU.

Turkey and Greece are NATO members. The other 9 OBSEC members are PfP countries. Bulgaria and Romania are applicants for full membership in the Alliance. In 1997 Russia concluded a Russia-NATO Founding Act and Ukraine signed the NATO-Ukraine Charter of Distinctive Partnership. All the 11 OBSEC countries are members of the EAPC.

Greece is an EU member. Bulgaria and Romania are associate members of the EU with 'European Agreements' and Turkey is an associate member since 1963 but is part of the Customs Union of the EU since December 1995. The EU has signed Partnership and Co-operation Agreements (PCAs) with Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Albania is part of various EU programmes. The approach of the WEU in the BSEC region is strictly bilateral. There is a WEU Member state - Greece; an Associate Member - Turkey, and two Associate Partners - Bulgaria and Romania. The WEU is carrying a dialogue with Russia and Ukraine. The WEU has contracted the delivery of Russian satellite images of specific areas by demand. There are ad hoc consultations of WEU with Moldova and sporadic links are going on with Georgia and Armenia.

The comparison of the relations of these three major European and Euroatlantic security institutions in the BSEC region and in the other subregional groups - the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Central European Initiative (CEI) as well as the Southeast European Process for Stability and Cooperation shows a lower level of involvement in the BSEC region.

The OSCE is the premier organisation for the promotion of human rights and democracy in Europe. OSCE is the specialised Euro-Atlanto-Asiatic institution for early warning, conflict-prevention and crisis and post-crisis management and rehabilitation. OSCE has already experienced missions in BSEC countries - Russia (in Chechnya), Georgia (in South Ossetia), Azerbaijan (in Nagorno-Karabakh), Moldova (in Transdniestr), Ukraine and Albania.

A major challenge of the external factors of influence is the regulation of the balance of the Russian and the Turkish interests in the Black Sea region. In this respect both the USA and the EU have important roles to play. The US strategic priorities have strongly shifted to the Caspian basin with so many American private investors engaged in the region. The INOGATE projects of the EU have made the Union a major geostrategic and geoeconomic actor in this region. The New Silk Road or TRACECA - a major plan for infrastructure improvements of the region, intends to promote the westward transit of goods and energy resources from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, from the Caspian Sea (under and across it) to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Europe and the USA.

Understanding that Russia has a critical role to play - both in the transit of oil and gas supplies and in the transport corridor construction, is vital for the success of the projects. The involvement of the USA and the EU in negotiations with both Russia and Turkey is indispensable to improve the security situation in the region. The USA and the EU are in the position to neutralise the fuelling up of a Russian-Turkish competition for leadership in a situation which requires cooperation and coordination. The EU has much better chances of implementing the TRACECA project - a transport corridor on an East-West axis from Europe, across the Black Sea, through the Caucasus and Caspian Sea to Central Asia, in case it succeeds to balance its support for the US economic interests in this project with other economic and financial incentives in Russian favour. For this project the Russian perceptions are that Russia is being deprived from transporting through routes to the north of the same energy supplies. Turkey could not cover neither culturally, nor linguistically the countries from the Southern tier of the former Soviet Union and the Russian influence remains strong. The hospitable acceptance of the European project in this area is contingent on the balancing of the Russian interests.

The US support for the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipe-line that is of main Turkish interest should be balanced by the American insistence on keeping the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles open for oil-tankers with Caspian oil according to the rules of the law of the seas. Generally speaking, the West's BSEC region strategy should give preference to the 'engagement' option of attitude to Russia and leave aside the 'containment' and 'disengagement' ones. This option would mostly correspond to the NATO-Russia relationship - a significant instrument in influencing the global strategic balances.

EU-Turkish and EU-Russian relationships and their well targeted mutual balance may turn into the key lever of driving the zones of stability and prosperity eastwards. The job is not easy but it cannot be postponed for long.


VIII The Security Situation and the Region-Building Opportunities: Conclusions

1. The end of the Cold War marked the start of a mutual penetration and interlocking of traditionally defined strategic zones - the European, the Middle Eastern, the Asia Minor and even the Central Asian. This trend in the security interrelationships requires a new vision about the Adriatic Sea-Balkans-Black Sea-Caspian Sea strategic interdependencies. The call for that stems from the new geoeconomic opportunities for a broad range of interested actors - states, oil and gas national, international and transnational companies, EU and NATO. The enlargement of the Union and of the Alliance will remain the most vibrant tendency in the Euroatlantic space. It can be expected that most of the nations in Southeastern Europe will join both organisations in the next 5 to 15 years. The reasons are the coincidence of political and economic interests and the interests of strengthening stability and security; the need to overcome economic retardedness of the broader region and avert social catastrophe; the prospects of constructing something more than infrastructure for energy supplies from the Caspian Sea through the Black Sea and the Balkans to Western Europe - a prospering economic area, part of which will join the EU and the rest will be a credible economic partner of the USA and a reliable neighbour of the EU. Logical follow-ups of these developments will be a decisive shift of NATO's and the EU's attention to the Southeastern region of Europe and the Black Sea-Mediterranean area. This will create significant prerequisites to prevent the 'domino effect' in security relations in a zone stretching from Kosovo through Bosnia and Herzegovina to Cyprus and further to Kurdistan, Chechnya, Karabakh and even Tadjikistan. The key to solving this issue on a stable basis is by preserving the ethnic and religious diversity and overcoming the poverty of the broader region. Bringing Russia and Ukraine 'in' this interplay and reversing arms race are crucial factors of success in this endeavour.

2. The factors that will stimulate the region-building opportunities are:

  • the effective utilisation of the energy sector;
  • the involvement of the private sector, of the private industries in general and the banks;
  • the growth of the trade relations and the rise in the effectiveness of the BSEC;
  • the involvement of the national political element in the regional cooperation: governmental, parliamentary and of local authorities;
  • the evolution of the educational and cultural relations in the Black Sea region;
  • the peaceful, friendly and stable bilateral relations of the 11 BSEC countries;
  • the evolution of the CBMs in the maritime environment of the Black Sea, the utilisation of more security roles of the multilateral cooperation parallel to the strengthening of the links of the regional states and their multilateral arrangements with the European and the Euroatlantic institutions.



    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

    Dr. Sc. Venelin Tsachevsky

    Phone/Fax: ++(359 - 2-) 551 828

    Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.

    E-Mail Address:

    Dr. Dinko Dinkov


    Dr. Todor Tagarev




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