Problems of Caspian-Black Sea region security

Problems of Caspian-Black Sea region security


By Vestnik Kavkaza


Issues of regional security and estimation of a role of non-regional forces were main topics of the international conference “Geopolitics of the Caspian-Black Sea Region: security problems” in Baku.

Moderator of the conference, Executive Director of the political scientific center “North-South” Alexei Vlasov noted that under modern conditions the role of expert communications grows: “It is necessary to shift from “constant synchronizing time” for avoiding false esteems and recommendations in the situations when the importance of words said by an expert on air grows rapidly.”


Professor Fikret Sadykhov from the Western University stated that the situation in Ukraine is influencing security in the region: “Politicians who overthrew the legally elected president rushed headlong, as they drew a separating line between two parts of the country. Didn’t they realize how the steps influence positions of Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea toward the new authorities? It is about wisdom and farseeing of the Ukrainian elite.”


Anton Finko, an expert of the Kiev Center for Political Studies and Conflictology, thinks that the situation in Ukraine cannot be settled without the consideration of interests of the East, the South-East, and the Crimea: “We need a wide dialogue with participation of foreign forces, and interests of Russia as the most important participant of the talks should be considered. Today we can see military-boom in the Caspian-Black Sea space, and development of the Ukrainian crisis will continue. The process may turn into an uncontrollable force, especially looking at policy of non-regional players.” Finko notes that Ukraine is being pushed to periphery of European politics.


Vladimir Yevseyev, Director of the Center for Socio-Political Studies, believes that it is necessary to establish a new model of providing security in the region. “A fundament of the model could be cooperation between Russia, Turkey, and Iran, while the security system should be non-aligned. We shouldn’t expect that NATO and the USA will help us to solve at least one regional problem. This is an illusion. The situation in Syria proved that the role of the USA and the West in its development puts effectiveness of such strategies in doubt.”


Rasim Musabekov, Azerbaijani MP, a political scientist, said that appearance of non-regional players in the Caspian region is unlikely, pointing out the level of cooperation between the Caspian countries: “Volumes of military-technical contacts between Azerbaijan and Russia surpass the level of similar contacts with many other leading countries. Politics is a bargain; for example, we shouldn’t accumulate offences and spoil our relations by mutual accusations because of Qabala RLS.”


“The situation on Iran is changing today; new major joint infrastructural projects are being developed, which involve not only Azerbaijan, Iran, and Georgia, but also Kazakhstan and other regional countries. We can say that economy could be a driver of positive changes in the security of the Caspian region. I don’t think non-regional players will appear on the Caspian Sea, there are no real reasons for this. The game is within the region,”  Musabekov thinls.


According to him, Baku is interested in a problem of communication with Iran: “Sometimes we don’t understand what goals Iranian negotiators have. We should involve Iran into a pragmatic dialogue, and it should be done together with Russia.”


Gulnara Mamedzade, Director General of News Azerbaijan, is sure that “risks are growing rapidly and exist in all parts of the Caspian-Black Sea region. For instance, after the Vilnius summit there was an attempt to reformate political fields in certain post-Soviet countries, and this is an answer of foreign forces to found the Eurasian Economic Union. Therefore, non-regional players try to control the Caspian-Black Sea region or at least to impose a bargain on Russia under unbeneficial conditions. The situation in Ukraine shows the trend clearly.”


Haldun Yalsinskaya, Turkish Professor, Ph.D. (Political Science), stated that Ankara is worried about positions of NATO and other non-regional players on the Caspian and Black Seas no less than Russia: “It is our common concern, and probably we should settle problems through the Black Sea Economic Cooperation system. Even being a member of NATO in years of the Cold War, Turkey strived for peaceful settlement of disputes. Ankara negatively estimates prospects of strengthening of non-regional players, realizing all risks connected with this.”


The Georgian authorities have to act very carefully in their policy toward Moscow, as the opposition is ready to use any mistake by the Georgian Dream, Alexander Imedashvili, a journalist of News Georgia, said. “The Georgian business is satisfied with normalization of trade relations; cancelation of visas is expected, i.e. the process is going on, but conflicts still make contacts between Moscow and Tbilisi complicated. The opposition, supporters of Saakashvili benefit from it.” Imedashvili pointed out that the majority of the Georgian population is not experts in NATO programs, and the project of joining the alliance by the country has problems with information support.


Participants of the conference agreed that trends of the region’s development are influenced by the situation of a conflict. “Intensification of non-regional forces leads to further chaotization of conflicts – it concerns both the Caspian region and the Black Sea region. It is necessary to return to discussion of common rules of a game. It can be done through Black Sea Economic Cooperation or other dialogue formats for regional countries as a response to attempts to destabilize the situation in the region. It concerns a problem of the Convention and military-political cooperation. This is a goal for Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan. Each country has its own problems, but security issues must be settled together,” Alexei Vlasov is sure. He added that the NATO factor is not only destructive, but dangerous in this context.