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Security, Democracy and Development

In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region


Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes

Since the early 1990s, the southern Caucasus and its larger neighbourhood, the Black Sea region, have experienced deep and sometimes painful transformations, including bloody conflicts. They have also become an arena of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between great powers. This has attracted growing attention from social scientists. In this volume, authors from universities in Europe, the United States and the southern Caucasus focus on several of the most topical problems of the region, particularly how nascent states and societies grapple with the results of unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts and how they try to construct new civil societies from the cultural mosaic that they inherited from their Soviet past. How do elements of democracy and autocracy combine in the political regimes of the new states? Can the West have an effect on their internal development and, if so, how? How do the rich mineral resources of the Caspian region influence the development of the region’s economies and define the geopolitical standing of these countries?
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Regional Cooperation and National Preferences in the Black Sea Region: A Zero-Sum Game Perpetuated by Energy Insecurity?



ABSTRACT: This chapter takes a snapshot of the current geopolitical setting in the Black Sea region by observing the regional dynamics in recent years. It also aims to determine whether the Black Sea littoral states proceeded to an inward focus pursuing their national interests instead of actively participating in regional cooperation projects during this time frame and what the major reasons behind their actions are. It uses two dimensions of analysis: the general involvement of these states in regional cooperation schemes and their regional cooperation in the energy sector. Particular emphasis is placed on the energy sector due to its great capacity to influence overall cooperation in the region.

KEY WORDS: Black Sea region, European Union, regional cooperation, national interest, energy security

After decades of acknowledging, affirming and reaffirming the indisputable strategic significance of the Black Sea region and the importance of finding an inclusive policy that would serve not only the interests of the regional states but also the interests of the external actors involved in the region, no effective policy could be identified despite a series of achievements. Moreover, the region has been caught in a perpetual deadlock, fighting to balance between a deeply rooted Soviet legacy and the Western magnetism, each Black Sea state having a different position on the axis between these two major poles. Currently, the main regional representatives of the two poles in the region (the EU and Russia) are both undergoing profound systemic transformations meant to improve...

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