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  • Author: Eugene Rumer, Richard Sokolsky, Paul Stronski
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia has big Arctic plans, but how they will be realized is uncertain. For the United States this will likely mean the return to a Cold War–like environment rather than a new chapter in great-power competition in the Arctic. Russia’s Arctic ambitions have attracted increasing attention in the West over the past decade as climate change opens up new opportunities in the region for navigation and exploration of its riches. For its part, Moscow casts a wary eye on what it sees as a challenge from the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to its position and ambitions there. The Kremlin’s rhetoric about Western encroachment has become more strident, in sync with its enhanced military posture and ambitious economic and infrastructure projects.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent incidence of war in the Caucasus has shown that, when facing deep domestic troubles, Russia and Turkey demonstrate strikingly different patterns of international behavior. While Russia has become more cautious in responding to external challenges, Turkey has embarked on several power-projecting enterprises. Its forceful interference in the long-smoldering conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh took Russia by surprise and effectively secured a military victory for Azerbaijan. Moscow has assumed the main responsibility for terminating hostilities by deploying a peacekeeping force, but its capacity for managing the war zone and its commitment to deconflicting tensions with Turkey remain uncertain. The United States and the European Union have few levers for influencing this interplay of clashing agendas of local actors and regional powers and fewer reasons to trust Russian and Turkish leaders to put peacebuilding ahead of their ambitions.
  • Topic: Security, War, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: Heinrich Brauß, András Rácz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: This report deals with Russia’s geopolitical objectives, policy and strategy, and their effects across the wider Baltic Region. The second part sums up NATO’s response to this evolving strategic challenge, including the potential military threat posed by Russia.
  • Topic: NATO, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Baltic States
  • Author: Giorgi Surmava
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: On December 21, 2020, by Decree #803 of the President of the Russian Federation, the Northern Fleet became the only one throughout the history of Russia to have the authority of a military district. In particular, the decree states that in order to ensure the integrity and inviolability of the territory of the Russian Federation, the Northern Fleet should be considered a strategic-territorial interdisciplinary union of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation which has the tasks of a military district. The Northern Fleet is responsible for the largest territorial zone of Russia. This territory is mostly an ice desert which has strategic importance for Russia. It runs along the North Sea Route which is 7,300 nautical miles from Yokohama to Rotterdam (11,200 nautical miles through the Indian Ocean). In addition, this territory contains a large supply of hydrocarbons and other mineral or marine resources. The shorter lines between the US and Russian strategic missiles and their intended targets also pass through this area.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Nada El Abdi
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: Since September 2015 and the Russian military intervention in the country, the interests in Syria have been numerous and of great importance for the actors involved in this conflict. The interests in Syria are numerous and of great importance for the actors involved in this conflict. Russia, like the Allies and opponents of the Bashar Al-Assad regime, is fighting for geopolitical, geo-economic, or ideological reasons. The Middle East region finds itself shaken by the sharp resurgence of a confrontation between actors allied to the United States, other allies of Russia, and this Syrian crisis thus impacts the geopolitical configuration of the region. This paper presents an analysis of the Russian intervention strategy in Syria. We argue that Russia intervened in Syria to strengthen the already existing Russian-Syrian alliance, to curb extremist proliferation, and to take advantage of Syria's strategic position. The objective is to determine the reasons for the Russian military intervention in Syria related to energy and geo-economic interests. The Russian intervention in Syria was an ideal opportunity to draw closer to several powerful states in the region and a way to benefit from positive spin-offs on its arms market and hydrocarbon road plans. Despite the risks and costs associated with defending the Syrian regime, Moscow has secured its political and economic power in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Rafał Lisiakiewicz
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Nowa Polityka Wschodnia
  • Institution: Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
  • Abstract: Th e article presents an idea of the possible Russian - Chinese strategic economic partnership at the beginning of the 21st century. Th e author indicates the main factors infl uencing Russian Federation foreign policy towards China from the perspective of a neoclassical realism.Th e author stands that according to J. Rosenau, the main factors determining the Russian foreign policy are idiosyncratic and role. Th en he analyses the Russian documents of foreign policy, economic data and geopolitical ideas. On that ground, he makes a simple analyse using the neoclassical realism model, that’s integrates Foreign Policy Analyse and International Relations Th eory, joining independent and intervening variables, to support the article’s hypotheses. Th at hypotheses say that, fi rstly, Th e Peoples Republic of China (PRC) plays a role of diversifi cation of Russia’s international economic ties; and secondly, Th e PRC status as a Russia’s strategic partner is at issue, despite the official declarations of both sides.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Paul Stronski
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Eurasia is squeezed between a rising China and an aggressive and unpredictable Russia. The United States should remain engaged with the region to help it resist Russian advances. Since 2014, Russia has redoubled its efforts to build a sphere of influence, operating frequently under the flag of Eurasian integration. Its undeclared war in Ukraine and hardball tactics vis-à-vis other neighbors demonstrate the lengths to which it is willing to go to undermine their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Moscow has pushed hard to expand the membership and functions of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the formal vehicle for cross-regional integration of political and economic activity. However, Russia’s limited economic resources and lack of soft-power appeal; the engagement with the region by other outside powers, including the European Union, China, Turkey, and the United States; and societal change in neighboring states are creating significant long-term obstacles to the success of Russian neo-imperialist ambitions and exposing a large gap between its ends and means. Russia’s ambitions in Eurasia are buffeted by unfavorable trends that are frequently overlooked by analysts and policymakers. Russia’s own heavy-handed behavior contributes to both regional upheaval and instability as well as to the creation of diplomatic headwinds that constrain its own room for maneuver.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dario Cristiani
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s return as a major geostrategic actor in the Mediterranean is one of the most significant trends characterising this area over the past few years. Part of a broader geopolitical pluralization of this space, Russia’s 2015 intervention in Syria marked a new phase in Moscow’s Mediterranean engagement. Based on a stringent logic of intervening where other powers leave strategic vacuums, Russia has succeeded to carve out an increasingly central role in Mediterranean equilibria, despite its limited resources. Russian diplomatic and economic support for the Syrian regime in Damascus had steadily increased since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011. Yet, it was Moscow’s direct military intervention in September 2015 that signalled a decisive upgrade in engagement. Moscow’s military involvement shifted the tide of the conflict, proving decisive in avoiding the collapse of the Syrian regime, which is also backed by Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Economy, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Ekaterina Stepanova
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As Russia has become a major external player in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region due to its military engagement in Syria since 2015, it has acted as a balancer and mediator in several regional controversies and has continued to serve as a security guarantor for the Syrian state. This course has brought Moscow some practical dividends, such as growing economic and military-technical cooperation with select MENA countries, and has spurred its broader international profile. However, entering the 2020s, the risks of more active engagement in the Middle East have also mounted, making Russia’s balancing act more difficult. In three cases where Russia’s involvement has been visible (Syria, Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian problem), evolving developments challenge Moscow’s acquired influence and multi-vector approach, but also create new opportunities for its engagement and mediation. Above all, the 2020 US–Iran crisis catalysed the urgent need for structured regional dialogue, especially across the Persian Gulf. While this requires direct interaction between the region’s main antagonists, the initial impulse to unlock the trans-Gulf impasse might need to come from the outside. A process-oriented blueprint for inclusive multilateral security in the Gulf proposed by Russia in 2019 is a step in the right direction, but to be activated it may need to come as part of some broader international initiative.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Israel, Libya, Palestine, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron initiated a Franco-Russian dialogue aimed at improving bilateral relations, as well as EU-Russia relations. This effort could be confounded by the growing Russian engagement in Africa, mainly through their military, business, and propaganda activities. These are increasingly harmful to France, which traditionally engages in the politics and economies of African states. The French government hasn’t yet prepared any coherent strategy vis-à-vis the Russian challenge, preferring to wait it out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia is strengthening its relations with both the Palestinian Authority leadership and Hamas in Gaza Strip. It is part of Russia’s consistent strategy towards the Middle East to build a network of influence among regional actors and boost its image as an attractive political partner. In developing relations with the Palestinians, Russia exploits Israel’s sensitivity to Russian activity in Syria, poor relations between Palestine and the U.S., and the deadlock in the peace process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Bennett Murray
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: As the United States and People’s Republic of China jostle for influence among member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Russian Federation has also declared the bloc a priority. Southeast Asian nations, in turn, would like third powers to counterbalance Beijing and Washington in the region. However, Russia has not made a huge impression in the bloc since its first summit with ASEAN in 2005. Economic success has been mostly limited to bilateral trade centered around arms sales, while security partnerships have not been forthcoming. Part of the problem is that Russia lacks historic ties in its former Cold War rivals, which are also ASEAN’s largest economic powerhouses, to lean on. More crucially, Southeast Asian nations perceive Moscow as deferential to Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions in the region.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Economic Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Maximilian Hess, Maia Otarashvili
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Georgia has long sought to take advantage of its strategically important location and establish itself as a significant transit hub connecting Europe and Asia. This endeavor has been slowly advanced by an array of innovative economic reforms, as well as some successful, smaller infrastructure and development projects. However, it has also been marked by repeated failures in making larger-scale initiatives happen. Despite its 190-mile-long Black Sea coastline, Georgia still does not have a deep-sea port, and enjoys very limited overall maritime capacity. This shortcoming poses a major impediment on the country’s aspirations of becoming a significant hub for the Eurasian transit system.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Maritime, Port
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Emil Avdaliani
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Though analysts tend to portray Russia’s foreign policy as truly global (that is, independent of Europe, the US, and China), the country is plainly tilting toward Asia. The Russian political elite does its best to hide this development, but the country is accumulating more interests and freedom to act in Asia than in Europe or anywhere else.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Global Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: András Rácz, Cristina Gherasimov, Milan Nič
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As protests continue to galvanize Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko is consolidating his grip on power. Volatile domestic dynamics – and Russia’s reactions to them – will shape the discredited regime’s future. This paper outlines four possible scenarios for Belarus up to one year from now. They include options for Russia and the EU, whose strategic objectives differ, but whose short-term interests align: preventing bloodshed, avoiding open geopolitical conflict, and preparing for a post-Lukashenko transition.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, European Union, Geopolitics, Protests, Transition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As the coronavirus pandemic fuels technological and geopolitical competition among the great powers, Europe’s relations with China and Russia are facing new challenges and risks. Still, the reconfiguration of power in Eurasia also brings unexpected opportunities for European actors in the area of connectivity. To seize them, the EU needs to reconcile its aspiration to be a globally accepted “normative-regulatory” power with both its limited financial means and its more assertive attitude to geopolitics.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As the coronavirus pandemic fuels technological and geopolitical competition among the great powers, Europe’s relations with China and Russia are facing new challenges and risks. Still, the reconfiguration of power in Eurasia also brings unexpected opportunities for European actors in the area of connectivity. To seize them, the EU needs to reconcile its aspiration to be a globally accepted “normative-regulatory” power with both its limited financial means and its more assertive attitude to geopolitics.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Pandemic, COVID-19, Connectivity
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia
  • Author: Zaki Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: By carrying on the activities of the Russian military contingents in Syria and with its backing of Libya’s renegade general Khalifa Haftar, Moscow seeks to reassert its role in the Mediterranean and leverage a strategy for generating low-risk yet high yield wins.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Libya, Syria, Mediterranean
  • Author: Ekaterine Lomia
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: For more than twenty-eight years, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russian-Georgian relations have been a substantial ground for mutual confrontation, sharp dispute, and a lack of trust. Continuous tensions and disagreements have adversely affected efforts to achieve a proper balance in bilateral relations between the neighboring countries and resulted in a number of direct and indirect confrontations. Whilst the Russian president seeks to restore Russia’s great power status, regain its past glory and control strategically important regions of the former Soviet space, Georgia, from the very first day of independence, tries to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity, develop modern state institutions, strengthen democratic values and integrate into the Euro-Atlantic structures. The paper aims to study Moscow’s current foreign policy strategy towards Georgia following the ‘Rose revolution’ and argues that Russia’s military intervention in Georgia, in August 2008, was a clear illustration of classical realism used by a great power in the XXI century. Russia actively uses hybrid warfare and regularly employs economic leverage on Georgia to eventually achieve its political ends in the Caucasus region.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economy, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Svante Cornell
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Baku Dialogues
  • Institution: ADA University
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan’s geopolitics have changed considerably in the last decade, along with the growing general instability in its neighborhood. Gone are the days symbolized by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline’s construction, when a relatively stable balance existed between a loose Russian-led alignment including Iran and Armenia, and an informal entente between the United States and Turkey, which supported the independence of Azerbaijan and Georgia and the construction of direct energy transportation routes to Europe.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Middle East, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Lamberto Zannier, Eleonora Lotti
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Baku Dialogues
  • Institution: ADA University
  • Abstract: At the beginning of the 1990s new conflicts erupted in Europe as new borders appeared on the map following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. As emerging states were striving to assert new identities (or revive old ones), various minorities found themselves living within new national borders, which in a number of cases provoked instability and conflict, with geopolitics complicating these dynamics even further. As quickly became apparent, some of these divisions were so deep that a number of those conflicts remain unresolved.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Minorities, Geopolitics, Silk Road, OSCE
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Metthew Bryza
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Baku Dialogues
  • Institution: ADA University
  • Abstract: The November 10th, 2020, trilateral agreement signed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin could become the most significant geopolitical development in the South Caucasus since the collapse of the Soviet Union—perhaps even more than the establishment of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and Baku-TbilisiErzurum natural gas pipelines. But it is not yet clear that key actors in the Transatlantic community appreciate this opportunity, especially Washington and Paris, who along with Moscow, comprise the Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, the supposedly impartial mediating body of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The trilateral agreement defines a peace settlement in line with the framework unofficially agreed by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan over a decade ago, and thus stands a good chance to hold. The so-called “Basic Principles” or “Madrid Principles” were originally tabled by the American Russian, and French Co-chairs of the Minsk Group in November 2007 at a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in Madrid.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Geopolitics, OSCE
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia, South Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Author: Saltanat Kuzembayeva
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Nowa Polityka Wschodnia
  • Institution: Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
  • Abstract: The article is devoted to the geoeconomic goals and prospects of implementing the Chinese initiative „One Belt, One Road”. The author explores the benefits, problems and future opportunities that open up to the Republic of Kazakhstan as a participant in this initiative. The analysis carried out in the article showed that there are still many problems in the implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) project taking into account the state program of Kazakhstan “Nurly Zhol”, and difficulties arise in the practical implementation of various cooperation areas. At the same time, Kazakhstan should be guided exclusively by its national interests in cooperation with China in the framework of the “One Belt, One Way” initiative.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Central Asia, Eurasia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Russia and the separatists it backs in Ukraine’s east are no longer quite on the same page, especially since the Kremlin abandoned ideas of annexing the breakaway republics or recognising their independence. The rift gives the new Ukrainian president an opportunity for outreach to the east’s embattled population, including by relaxing the trade embargo. What’s new? Russia’s gradual retreat from any plans to annex parts of eastern Ukraine has opened schisms between Moscow and its separatist proxies in the region. Why does it matter? For Kyiv, these divides could create opportunities to restart dialogue with the people of the east. Such contacts, in turn, could help lay the groundwork for Ukraine’s unification. What should be done? The rift between Moscow and its proxies should inform new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s policies. Kyiv should look to rebuild relations with the inhabitants of separatist-held areas, by easing the economic blockade on the east and increasing outreach to the population there.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Geopolitics, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Alexander Sergunin
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This DIIS Report identifies Russian national interests in the BSR (Baltic Sea Region) and discusses whether there are continuities and changes in these interests in the post-Crimea era. The Russian discourse on the BSR is explored, including Russian foreign policy schools and official foreign policy and national security doctrines. Different aspects of Moscow’s BSR strategy - political, economic, sub-regional, environmental and military - are examined. The chances for Russia’s participation in the BSR multilateral cooperative framework are assessed. This DIIS Report authored by Alexander Sergunin, professor at St. Petersburg State University, is an outgrowth of a defence and security project on 'The Baltic Sea Region after Crimea and Trump' with Sergunin and Hans Mouritzen, senior researcher at DIIS, as participants (see also DIIS Working Paper 2019:1).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, National Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Crimea, Baltic Sea
  • Author: Emil Avdaliani
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: As Russia increases its geopolitical involvement across the globe, the concept of “Global Russia” has been gradually taking hold. Though Russia is inherently weak, it is likely that Moscow will continue its global initiatives throughout the 2020s. Only by the end of that decade and into the next is there likely to be a gradual decline in Russia’s adventurism abroad.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Elites
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Global Focus
  • Author: Emil Avdaliani
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Russian foreign policy since the mid-2000s tends to be perceived in contradictory terms: as either a negative for Russia or the product of a grand strategic vision on the part of the Russian leadership. It is also often falsely perceived as representing a break with the past. Moscow’s foreign policy moves need to be viewed with a balanced perspective and should be placed in their historical context.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, History, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Lerna K. Yanik
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This article reviews the ways in which various actors in Turkey have used the terms ‘Eurasia’ and ‘Eurasianism’ since the end of the Cold War. It presents two arguments. First, compared to Russian Eurasianism, it is difficult to talk about the existence of a ‘Turkish Eurasianism’. Yet, the article employs the term Turkish Eurasianism as a shorthand to describe the ways in which Eurasia and Eurasianism are employed in Turkey. Second, Turkish Eurasianism is nothing but the use or instrumentalization of Eurasia to create a geopolitical identity for Turkey that legitimizes its political, economic, and strategic interests primarily in the post-Soviet space, but, from time to time, also in the Balkans and Africa. Various Turkish state and non-state actors have used Eurasia to mean different things and justify different goals: reaching out to Turkic Republics, being pro-Russian, creating a sphere of influence in former Ottoman lands, or, recently, cloaking anti-Western currents.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Paul Dibb
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: We’re in an era when the risks of major-power conflict are growing. The most likely contenders are China, the rising power, and the US, the formerly dominant power that’s now in relative decline. The other worrying contingency is conflict between Russia and US-led NATO. But what about the third possibility: the prospect of China and Russia collaborating to challenge American power? The most dangerous scenario for America would be a grand coalition of China and Russia united not by ideology, but by complementary grievances. This paper examines Russian and Chinese concepts of great-power war in the 21st century, their views of the West and its military capabilities, and what risks they might both take to regain lost territories. The paper concludes by examining how America might react, the implications of all this for the West, including Australia, and what sort of armed conflict might be involved.
  • Topic: War, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Antonin Plattner
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Russia’s attempts to control and regulate the flow of online information and communication within its territory reached a new stage on 1 November 2019 after its so-called “internet sovereignty” law came into force. Designed to increase state control over what Russia’s citizens can access and do online, the law has already sparked numerous protests across Russia. Although it remains to be seen how effective the law is likely to be, it is already clear that it fits perfectly well with the regime’s survival considerations and, more importantly, with the broader geopolitical strategy of the Kremlin towards the West. This paper analyses the reasons behind the failure of Moscow’s successive strategies to enforce the central state’s absolute sovereignty online. These reasons may include: The amount of data online, the web’s decentralised routing technology and the prospective satellite-based internet which together undermine Moscow’s strategies of control through physical infrastructures. The relative reluctance of international platforms to execute the authorities’ requests for censorship which limits the global success of Moscow’s strategy of control through ownership. The determination and inventiveness of the domestic digital resistance which prevents the total success of Moscow’s legal and social coercion strategies. Secondly, this paper proposes an original insight concerning Russia’s cyberstrategy. It argues that the Kremlin’s aspiration for neo-Westphalian “internet sovereignty” ultimately depends on a radical change of the internet governance format. Moscow’s call to replace the current multi-stakeholder model with a multilateral system should be understood as an absolute prerequisite for its control over domestic communications and information. From that perspective, this paper identifies Russia-based campaigns of cyber disruption as Moscow’s attempt to actively demonstrate the merit of “internet sovereignty”, by sowing international distrust in the principle of a free and international internet, as defended by the current multi-stakeholder model of governance.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Geopolitics, Internet, Protests, Counterrevolution, digital culture
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Zurab Batiashvili, Alexander Kvakhadze
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The purpose of the present study is to analyze the social and economic problems in the Khulo municipality and the mountainous region of Guria and identify ways to solve them. It is noteworthy that both the internal socioeconomic challenges and the current geopolitical reality are greatly influencing the region. The paper examines the challenges facing the region in the fields of religion, political engagement, education and socio-economic development. The combination of these problems to some extent impedes the region’s progress and its full integration into Georgia’s social and political space. The work has been produced under the auspices of the United Kingdom Good Governance Fund and the British Good Governance Fund in the framework of the Rondeli Foundation’s project entitled Promoting Participation and Engagement in Local Governance in the Mountainous region of Guria and Adjara.
  • Topic: Development, Geopolitics, Economy, Rural
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Institute of World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: This video provides a summary of the first day of the 5th annual session of the Astana Club, the largest venue where its participants discuss the issues of geopolitics and security in the region, which took place in Nur-Sultan. The 2019 session of the club was themed Big Eurasia: On the path to the new architecture of global cooperation. The session focused on the issues of security and strategic future of Big Eurasia. The event brought together over 50 world’s top politicians, experts from Eurasia and experts in international relations. Among those participating were former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, former President of Slovenia Danilo Türk, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei, Chairman of JP Morgan Chase, International Jacob A. Frenkel and many others.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Nurhan Hacıoğlu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Novus Orbis: Journal of Politics & International Relations
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Karadeniz Technical University
  • Abstract: After 11 September, Iran's nuclear energy program turned into an international crisis. However, Iran did not give up its nuclear energy program despite the pressure on it in the world public opinion. This crisis, which occurred in the early 2000s, did not cause a negative impact on relations between Iran and Russia. Russia continued to help Iran to develop its nuclear program. One of the main points of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between P5+ 1 countries and Iran in 2015 is that Iran limited its nuclear energy development for ten years. However, Iran could be a regional rival for Russia, especially in terms of energy and gas exports, after a decade. In this context, the focus of the study is to analyse whether there was any change in the good relations between the two countries after JCPOA. The study seeks answers to specific questions: How does Russia look at JCPOA? Why does Russia stand for a rival Iran? Are there any changes in the relations between Russia and Iran in the post-2015 period? According to the results, JCPOA did not have any negative effect on Russia-Iran relations. | 11 Eylül sonrası İran’ın nükleer enerji programı uluslararası bir krize dönüşmüştür. Ancak İran, uluslararası kamuoyunda kendisine yönelik baskılara rağmen nükleer enerji programından vazgeçmemiştir. 2000’li yılların başlarından itibaren ortaya çıkan bu kriz Rusya İran ilişkilerinde olumsuz bir etkiye neden olmamıştır. Rusya İran’a nükleer programını geliştirmesi için yaptığı yardımlara devam etmiştir. 2015 yılında P5+1 ülkeleri ve İran arasında imzalanan Kapsamlı Ortak Eylem Planı’nın (KOEP) temel noktalarından biri İran’ın nükleer enerji gelişimini on yıllık bir süre için sınırlandırmış olmasıdır. Ancak İran on yılın sonunda kendisine yönelik yaptırım ve ambargolardan kurtulmuş bir ülke olarak Rusya’ya özellikle enerji ve gaz ihracı noktasında bölgesel bir rakip olabilecektir. Bu bağlamda çalışmanın odak noktası, bütün bunlar göz önünde bulundurularak iki ülkenin KOEP sonrası iyi ilişkilerinde değişme olup olmayacağını analiz etmektir. Çalışma belli sorulara cevap aramaktadır: Rusya KOEP’e nasıl bakmaktadır? Rusya neden kendisine rakip olabilecek bir İran’ı göze almaktadır? 2015 sonrası dönemde Rusya-İran ilişkilerinde değişiklik olmuş mudur? Ortaya çıkan sonuçlara göre KOEP'in Rusya-İran ilişkilerine herhangi bir olumsuz etkisi olmamıştır.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Eurasia, Middle East
  • Author: Evelyn Farkas, Ryan Rogers
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a national security analyst for NBC/MSNBC. She served from 2012 to 2015 as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/ Eurasia, responsible for policy toward Russia, the Black Sea, Balkans, and Caucasus regions and conventional arms control. From 2010 to 2012 she served as senior adviser to the supreme allied commander Europe and special adviser to the secretary of defense for the NATO Summit. Prior to that, she was a senior fellow at the American Security Project, and executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. From April 2001 to April 2008, she served as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Asia Pacific, Western Hemisphere, Special Operations Command, peace and stability operations, combatting terrorism, counternarcotics, homeland defense, and export control policy. Dr. Farkas obtained her MA and PhD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a member of the board of trustees of Franklin & Marshall College and Aspen Institute Socrates Seminar, and Harold Rosenthal Fellowship advisory boards. She has received several Department of Defense and foreign awards and an honorary doctorate from Franklin & Marshall College. In January 2018, Dr. Farkas discussed a range of issues concerning Russia and the post-Soviet space with the Fletcher Security Review. The conversation took place in the run-up to the March 2018 presidential elections in Moscow and before President Putin’s highly publicized Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, in which he unveiled a number of new nuclear weapon systems currently under development by the Russian Federation.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rem Korteweg
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This study is originally published by the Directorate General for External Policies of the Union of the Policy Department for External Relations of the European Parliament and was requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET committee). Russia and other energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy exports for economic gains but also as a tool of foreign policy leverage. This study by Rem Korteweg looks at the ways and methods these states have used to exert political pressure through their energy supplies, and what it means for the European Union. Most energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy wealth to ensure regime survival. But, more than others, Russia uses its energy wealth as well to protect and promote its interests in its ‘near abroad’ and to make its geopolitical influence felt further afield, including in Europe. It uses gas supplies to punish and to reward, affecting both transit states and end-consumers. This publication explores how supply disruptions, price discounts or hikes, and alternative transit routes such as Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream, are used by Russia to further its foreign policy ambitions, feeding suspicions about its geopolitical motives. The lack of transparency about Russia’s energy policy decisions contributes to this. In response, the EU is building an Energy Union based around the Third Energy Package, a more integrated European market and diversified supplies. By investing in new supplies, such as LNG, and completing a liberalised energy market, the EU will be better able to withstand such energy coercion and develop a more effective EU foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Authoritarianism, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia
  • Author: Peter van Ham
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Today, political relations between the West and Russia have entered a new mini-Ice Age, existing arms control arrangements are either dysfunctional or simply not used, and both sides are improving their military readiness. The obvious question that needs to be raised is whether, and if so how, these escalating tensions can be contained, or even reduced? This Policy Brief offers insight into the most pressing concerns, focusing on areas and issues where matters could escalate fastest. It asks what role can still be foreseen for arms control and concludes with a call for transatlantic unity and a stronger role for NATO to counter Russia’s military and geopolitical gambit. It suggests that the classic two-pronged “Harmel approach” (based on deterrence and détente) should be restored. This includes a mix of US-Russian high summitry and the revitalisation of the NATO-Russia Council as part of a broad and far-reaching (military) risk reduction process.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia
  • Author: Elkhan Nuriyev
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: There are so many global threats impacting the future of the Earth but Western democracies fear only one person – Vladimir Putin. That’s because on almost all geopolitical fronts of the emerging multipolar world, Russian President is deftly striking a blow against the collective challenge mounted by the West. It is thus no surprise that the West’s endless dread of Russia’s military power has made Putin the world’s most powerful man. What’s happening in West-Russia relations right now is not a new Cold War. It is not even a renewed East-West divide. It is rather an incredibly high-stakes geopolitical grand game fueled by decades of long-time mutual distrust and competing great power interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition, Multipolarity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Daria Kazarinova
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: t the end of the second decade of the 21st century, problems of global security have become the main issues on the agenda of all regions of the world. Russia’s relations with the West have already entered the stage of the so-called new Cold War “with the elements of arms race, remilitarization and the split of the European continent, under the severance of political and economic contacts between the leaders of rival countries and the degradation of diplomacy”.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Today’s geopolitical conflicts, especially among great powers, involve a desire to fundamentally revise the order of alliances as well as solidify new norms of conduct. The purpose of our paper is to delineate two distinct phenomena in international affairs – hybrid warfare, which emphasizes the tactical level and grey-zone conflicts, which incorporates a long-term strategic dimension into international disputes. We argue that hybrid warfare can be a tactical subset of grey-zone conflict deployed under certain conditions and in varying degrees. We examine four case studies: China’s application of ‘unrestricted warfare’, Russia’s strategy of ‘hybrid balancing’, ‘regional hybridism’ practiced by Israel and ‘restricted hybridism’ applied by Canada/NATO globally. We conclude that the solution to challenges from Russia and China is not a military one but a political and collective one based on baseline requirements for building resilience. Israel, on the other hand, is largely uninterested in the revision of order of alliances and will continue to utilize its tactical advantage vis-à-vis regional neighbors to achieve victories in short conflicts. We conclude that NATO (and Canada) should work more closely with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union to effectively extend security guarantees to its members. In doing so Canada and likeminded countries will involve the costs of engaging in hybrid warfare and the subsequent erosion of democratic accountability.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Geopolitics, Hybrid Warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Middle East, Canada, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Emil Pevtsov
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Social media and especially microblogging are trending buzzwords in the public diplomacy scene. Disproportionate attention is paid to individual posts and trends on social media by the mainstream media. The best case are the tweets of Donald Trump, the president of the USA. They are reported on and analysed daily with unparalleled ferocity, with some outlets meticulously collecting all of the President’s social media comments. It has come to a point at which discussing social media is beating an already beaten up dead horse. Nevertheless, this weekend’s latest news requires comment and policy recommendation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Social Media
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Michael Tierney
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Central Eurasia has long been an area that occupies utmost geostrategic importance inthe international system. Scholars throughout the 20th century identified Central Eurasia as the singlemost pivotal area for powerful states to gain influence and control. Their theories were based upon the fact that the region contained vast natural resources, a large population, high economic potential, and was geographically situated in a location strategically important for all world powers. As aresult, Central Eurasia’s importance in international affairs influenced geostrategic thinking during the inter-war years into WWII, the Cold War, and the post-Cold War era. Yet the shift in power that has occurred globally in recent years has caused scholars to signal the emergence of a new multipolar world. Some scholars have additionally hypothesized that there will be new geostrategic pivot states and regions located outside of Central Eurasia as a result. This study uses both historical and contemporary literature from the field of geopolitics to construct a list of potential pivots in the current international system. It then compares potential new pivot areas to the traditional Central Eurasian region using the variables listed above. The study finds that there are in fact comparable geostrategic pivots located outside of the Central Eurasian region in the contemporary international system. The implications of these findings are then discussed in the context of geostrategy and international security.
  • Topic: Cold War, International Affairs, Natural Resources, Geopolitics, World War II
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Asia, Central Eurasia
  • Author: Samuel Morales
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on International Security Studies (RESI)
  • Institution: International Security Studies Group (GESI) at the University of Granada
  • Abstract: This document analyzes the tools that at present Russia uses with the intention of modifying and extending his area of strategic influence in the East of Europe. It centers fundamentally on the external action of Russia after the change of Government on Ukraine. The document tries to give response, first, to which they are the intentions of Russia with regard to his relations with the European Union; secondly if Russia uses as political tool his energetic resources; and thirdly, if the actions of not linear war developed in the peninsula of Crimea form a part structurally of the external action of Russia. In his development it does not think that the Euromaidan constitutes a point of inflexion in the strategic Russian thought, but rather the point of decision of a strategic approximation to the new world order presented in 2007 and that was applied by the first time in Georgia's war in 2008.
  • Topic: Security, War, International Affairs, Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Ilgar Gurbanov
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: BILGESAM (Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Abstract: Today, every new pipeline changes the market and geopolitics of region. Two months ago, the final decision made by Shah Deniz Consortium, surprised many people. The competition for which pipeline will deliver Azeri gas to Europe is “Almost” over. Although Nabucco-West was strongly and diplomatically supported by European Union and United States, Shah Deniz Consortium opted Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which will be connected with Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at Turkish-Greek border. This decision totally paralyzed Nabucco-West pipeline project. Two shareholders of Shah Deniz consortium – BP and Statoil - fully supported TAP. Because, “under agreements signed with TAP during 2012, the Shah Deniz Consortium shareholders BP, SOCAR and Total hold options to acquire a combined 50% of TAP’s shares, thereby contributing to TAP’s construction costs.”
  • Topic: Markets, Geopolitics, Pipeline
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Eurasia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Muharrem Erenler
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: BILGESAM (Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Abstract: One of the regions where Russia‟s interests are constant and historic is the Middle East, which has been being shaken by revolutions and insurgencies since January 2011. Being hesitant between supporting the desire of protestors to overthrow their long-ruling leaders and aligning with the stable authoritarian regimes of the Middle East, Russia has so far failed to adopt a consistent policy. Moreover, by following a low profile policy, Moscow seems indifferent to using the regimes changes as an opportunity to penetrate the region and revive its wading influence in the Middle East. Russia‟s inflexible foreign policy mentality, secondary importance of the Middle East in Russian foreign policy, perception of Arab Spring as a tool of outside powers, and the unrest it could arouse in motherland (as well as near abroad) could account for Moscow‟s reluctance to adopt a proactive role in reorganization of the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Authoritarianism, Geopolitics, Arab Spring, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Arab Countries