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  • Author: Giovanna De Maio
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper reflects on the crisis over Ukraine from the Russian point of view bearing in mind the deterioration of the relationship between Moscow and Kiev and the international retaliation against Russia’s aggression. What does Ukraine represent for Russia? Did the events in Maidan affect how Russia perceives Ukraine? These questions are addressed by analysing the discourse on Ukraine by the main stakeholders of Russian society: the political and economic elites, civil society, the mass media and academia, the general public and the Orthodox Church.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Amanda Paul
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus is a fragmented and security challenged region. Despite hopes that the Eastern Partnership (EaP) would act as a transformative tool to strengthen democracy, stability, security and regional cooperation, this has not happened. Rather the EaP has produced limited results, with the region today more fragmented than it was five years ago. Russia's war against Ukraine has further exacerbated the situation as it raised concerns over the extent to which the South Caucasus countries could genuinely rely on the West. Today, Armenia, and Georgia have different geostrategic trajectories. While Georgia has stuck to the Euro-Atlantic track, Armenia joined the Russian-led Eurasian Union in January 2015. Meanwhile Azerbaijan has the luxury of choosing not to choose. Developments in the region have demonstrated that a one size fits all approach does not work and a more differentiated policy is required.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has come to the fore in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine. Growing tensions with the West over the common neighbourhood, coupled with economic sanctions, have accelerated this trend, with China gaining in strength as both an economic and military partner to Moscow. The Kremlin’s propaganda has sought to convince the broader public that Russia’s strategies in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Arctic region are a complement to China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. Nonetheless, behind the headlines huge potential problems jeopardise the emergence of a durable Sino-Russian consensus in Eurasia. Against this backdrop, the EU should opt for “strategic patience.” This would be a far more effective policy choice than finger pointing, which only deepens the mutual ideological clash between the EU and Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-69-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Erkan Erdogdu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is a European Commission initiative aimed at facilitating the diversification of the routes and sources of gas imported into Europe. This paper is devoted to the analysis of Turkey's role in this initiative. Following a summary of the current economic and energy situation in Turkey, the paper presents recent developments in the SGC and an analysis of Turkey's role in the EU's SGC vision. It concludes that although the newly-built infrastructure within the SGC framework will probably serve Azerbaijani and Turkish interests first in their future relations with the EU, rather than the other way round, as had been initially hoped by the EU, it still addresses the EU's basic strategic interests, namely, the diversification of gas supply routes and suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Asia, Netherlands
  • Author: Ariel Cohen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's occupation of the Crimea and possible incorporation of Eastern Ukrainian regions demonstrated Europe's vulnerability to Gazprom's energy power. Whatever the EU's reactions, diversification of energy supply to diminish Russia's market share is likely to be one of them. TAP is one step towards the strategic goal of diminishing Gazprom's huge presence in Europe. But in view of the proposed construction of the Russian South Stream, how could Central Europe, and especially Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and Lithuania, ensure energy diversification? What next for the Southern Corridor? Is Russia going to accept and tolerate infrastructure growth of the Caspian and other competitors south of its borders?
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis brought European energy security and with it the Southern Gas Corridor back into the spotlight. The crisis is far from over, but it is already clear that both the scope and nature of Russia's relations with the European Union (EU) and the United States cannot remain unchanged. As the strategic context changes and Europe becomes more and more concerned about Russia's behaviour and reliability as an energy supplier, particularly for natural gas, the relative importance of alternative sources will grow further. Europe is in the midst of rethinking its entire energy and gas supply security strategy. The Southern Gas Corridor can and should be a critical component in this context, while its prospects should be assessed realistically. It is by no means a short-term solution, yet in the medium-term, the Corridor has the potential to become a major source of gas for Europe. The EU should deploy robust energy diplomacy as well as resources to speed up its development.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Kristina Kausch
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Middle Eastern and North African region is in flux, while attempts to identify a new dominant structural logic have been limited so far. For the time being, the new “order” appears to consist of the absence of any one clear-cut organising principle and in overlapping, dynamic, often contradictory geopolitical developments. Among many other features, the geopolitical equation in the Middle East is being altered by a number of larger structural shifts regarding the position and relative weight of specific actors. Notable instances include the relative loss of influence of the United states and Europe; the game-changing regional roles of Russia and China, respectively; the resurgence of the IranianSaudi rivalry; the emergence of a number of regional “swing states”; and the increasing role of non-state actors in shaping regional developments. the complexity of this outlook makes policy choices by regional and external actors ever more difficult.
  • Topic: Non State Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Fatih Özgür Yeni
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy security is one of the hot topics on the European energy agenda. The EU's Southern Energy Corridor initiative is an attempt to reduce dependence on Russian supplies by tapping into Caspian and Middle-Eastern natural gas resources. Turkey, who aspires to be a regional energy hub, has emerged as the key country in the Southern Corridor. Although the TAP project in its current state satisfies neither Turkey's energy hub ambitions nor the EU's resource diversification efforts, it may serve as the first building block of the Southern Corridor. There are promising developments in the region that can increase volumes and add new routes to the initiative. Private companies have already shown their interest in developing a pipeline infrastructure for possible South-East Mediterranean and Northern Iraq natural gas exports but complex geopolitical issues pose the greatest threat to the way ahead. Thanks to its unique location, Turkey is destined to be one of the key players in the Southern Corridor. The convergence of Turkey's energy hub ambitions and the EU's energy security objectives present mutual gains, but also demand sustained collaboration between the two in light of several technical, legal and political hurdles.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union launched the ambitious Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the goal of enhancing the security of its energy supply. The corridor - a virtual transit route running from the gas-rich Caspian basin to the EU while bypassing Russian soil - is meant to increase diversification of the EU's supplier and transit countries. While various projects have been proposed to give life to the corridor, the European Commission has given particular support to the realisation of Nabucco, a 3,893km pipeline running from Turkey to the European gas hub of Baumgarten in Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. The Commission's choice is, however, flawed in several respects, as it fails to take account of key factors, such as the diverging, and sometimes conflicting, interests of individual EU member states, the geopolitical challenges of the Caspian basin, and the commercial constraints on Nabucco. This short-sighted approach has hindered the efficient development of the Southern Gas Corridor and weakened the EU's energy policy.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria
  • Author: Elnur Soltanov
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The South East Europe Pipeline (SEEP), proposed by BP in late September 2011, could eventually be the pipeline carrying Azeri gas to European markets. Compared to its competitors in the Southern Corridor concept - Nabucco, TAP and ITGI - it goes furthest in terms of optimality for all the parties involved. The combined advantages of its size, scalability, usage of existing gas infrastructure in Europe and direction, promises a more reasonable economic and political value for the Shah Deniz Consortium, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Europe, while posing a bearable challenge to Russia. The SEEP seems to offer a greater value to a greater number of actors.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan