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Volume 4 - Issue 4 April 2014

The Current Status Of Black Sea Regional Security While Russia is taking full control of the Crimean Peninsula, Western powers didn't avoided major involvement during the crisis to hinder Russia’s annexation, raising significant concerns for the Black Sea region. The main question for NATO and the international community is how to avoid similar situations from occurring in the future as nations such as Russia and China increase their military strength. This issue of Atlantic Voices offers insights that give fresh points of view to the matter of security in the Black Sea region while at the

BlackSeaFor exercises strengthen security on the Black Sea (Photo: Rianovosti)


same time emphasizing the need for a different

The Ukrainian Crisis and Security in the Black Sea

approach by international actors like NATO

Dr. Igor Delanoë examines the Ukrainian crisis from a security perspective.

and the EU.

He elaborates on the role that NATO has played, as well as reasons behind the

The articles also analyze the particular factors that might lead to an improvement in Black Sea regional security, especially upgrades to partner military and naval forces and the challenge of finding alternative energy supplies to diminish dependency on Russian gas. Edited by: Genaro Aguilera-Reza Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4

Russian annexation of Crimea. Dr. Delano explains ways in which international actors can improve the regional security by placing emphasis on their naval fleets.

The Transnistrian Conflict Today & Tomorrow: How Should Europe Act? Ms. Daria Goncearova shifts the attention from Ukraine and analyzes how the referendum in Crimea pressing concerns about Transnitria. She examines the conflict’s historical background and the role that NATO and the EU could take in order to avoid situations like the one in Ukraine.


The Ukrainian Crisis and Security in the Black Sea maritime power and naval potential are set to increase. First, it must be said that Russia’s strategic objective in By Dr. Igor Delanoë the Black Sea has been and still is to lock the basin. Conhile the Ukrainian crisis is far from being sequently, the Russian Black Sea fleet, which is currentsolved, it has already brought to light ly under modernization, must act as a ‘fortress fleet’ to some persisting patterns in the Black Sea protect the southern flank of the Federation, and in the security stage. The Ukrainian crisis and the subsequent case of a Georgian-type conflict, to deny access to the absorption of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 has highCaucasian coasts. Although it is primarily a ‘green water navy’, the Russian Black Sea fleet still maintains limited lighted the double challenge the Black Sea poses to the in high seas as it has been observed by the units providEuro-Atlantic community. From a security perspective, ing support to Syria. Russia has demonstrated once again its ability to graduWhat do we call ‘maritime power’? Maritime ally use its hard power to promote and protect its interpower can be defined as the ability of an actor to use the ests in its so-called ‘sphere of influence’. Moscow has maritime domain to achieve a politstepped up its maritime power in From a security perspective, Russia has ical goal. In late 19th century, theothe Black Sea, and the full soverrists such as the American historian demonstrated once again its ability to eignty over Crimea which gives a and strategist Alfred T. Mahan gradually use its hard power to promote tended to mainly focus on naval major impetus to Russian naval and protect its interests in its so-called power rather than on maritime plans in the pontus euxinus. From ‘sphere of influence’. power, and to primarily consider a political perspective, the crisis the navy as the prime vector of inillustrates the limit of the European fluence from or at the sea. However, today, the concept attractiveness as well as the retrenchment of US influof maritime power has been broadened to include the ence from the Black Sea area. Ukraine is today on the merchant navy, naval diplomacy and the ability for a verge of both political and economic collapse since the fleet to perform a wide array of routine maritime miseconomic crisis that existed under former president sions. Combined to the naval power, all these factors Yanukovith is dubbed by a deep political crisis, that has define the maritime power of an actor. Civil and military infrastructures as well as qualitative factors such as been escalating since November 2013. The integration the experience and morale of the service personnel matof Crimea to the Russia Federation therefore questions ter to assess accurately the ability of a State to use the three main areas of the Black Sea security architecture: sea to achieve political goals. After the March 18 annexmaritime security, energy security, and the ability of the ation of Crimea to the Russian Federation, Moscow has main stakeholders, namely Brussels, Moscow, Ankara, enhanced its status as a maritime power for at least four Washington and NATO, to contribute to the stability of reasons: the region. First, the integration of Crimea has provided


Toward An Enhanced Russian Maritime Power In The Black Sea The poor conditions in which Russia's Black Sea Fleet finds itself, remain the same even after Crimea returned to Russia, despite the seizure of a consequent number of Ukrainian vessels. However, due to Russia’s integration of the peninsula, the Black Sea maritime landscape has been reshaped, and Russia’s Black Sea Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4

Russia with a greater coastline in the Azov and the Black Seas. Before March 2014, Russia had approximately 570 kilometers of coasts in the shallow Sea of Azov, nearly 400 kilometers of hostile shores, with no deep ports to dock a fleet, between the Kerch straight and the Georgian border, and an additional 300 kilometers which correspond to the Abkhazian coastline under Moscow’s military control since August 2008. Crimea provides


Finally, Russia has expanded its continental shelf in Russia with a greater coastline and the best Black Sea port, the Azov and the Black Seas, and has noticeably gained Sevastopol, as well as other Crimean ports. sovereignty over the Pallas gas and oil fields located not Second, in the context of the ambitious modernizafar from the Kerch straight. This field is believed to hold tion of the Black Sea fleet, the accession of the sovereignty an estimated 120 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural on Sevastopol overthrew the situation. Beyond the fact that gas and 12 million tons of oil. In early February 2014, Sevastopol is the best port of the Black Sea, since its creation and according to the December 17 agreement, Russia and by Russia in 1783 as a naval base, Moscow is now fully able Ukraine were holding talks through Gazprom and to commission new vessels and dispatch new military hardNaftogaz to develop jointly the Pallas field. Whereas it ware, including coastal artillery and land-based forces and cannot be excluded that Ukraine would still be involved aircraft. Russia has been upgrading the port of Novorossiysk in that project, the agreement signed in August 2013 beto turn it into a naval base, but it cannot be compared in tween Kiev, Exxon Mobil and Shell about prospections quality to Sevastopol and its eight deep-water bays. By inteoff the Western coasts of Crimea is jeopardized. The abgrating Crimea, Russia has solved at no cost the main issues sorption of Crimea furthermore raises the question of the that hampered the enhancement of its maritime power in demarcation of new maritime borders between Russia the Black Sea. Moscow was prevented to freely upgrade or and Ukraine, while Russian and Romanian EEZ are now increase its military presence in Crimea by both the 1997 adjacent. and 2010 Russian-Ukrainian agreements on the Black Sea fleet. The Putin-Yanukovitch agreement of December 17 on Energy & Ukraine’s Bailout the Russian $15 billion loan to Ukraine called to speed up these negotiations as well as to enhance naval cooperation. The loss of Crimea and Sevastopol has a dramatic Today, Moscow is no more constrained by the conditions consequence for Ukraine, imposed by Kiev on its Black not only in term of territoSea fleet deployment, and no rial integrity, but also with longer has to share anymore regard to its energy securiSevastopol with the Ukrainian ty, and by extension, to Navy. This game changer is European energy security. likely to give a major impetus The lease of Sevasto Russian naval plans in the topol to Russia has addictshort term not only in the Black ed Ukraine to cheap RusSea, but by extension, in the sian gas from 1997 to the Mediterranean. second half of the 2000s. Third, the integration of Then, the 2009 agreement Crimea has solved a second worsened the situation for Map of Crimea and Sevastopol (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) strategic issue for Russia, relatUkraine, a situation slighted to the demarcation of maritime borders in the Kerch ly enhanced by the 2010 Kharkov agreement. Indeed, in straight and the Sea of Azov. Kiev advocated in favor of the 2009, then Prime Minister Yulia Timochenko signed with internationalization of the Sea of Azov and controlled the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a 10 year agreement acchannel in the Kerch straight defined by the Soviet demarcacording to which Ukraine must buy 52 bcm of Russian tion line. On the other hand, Russia argued to turn the Sea gas annually with a rate of $500 for 1 000 cubic meters. of Azov into shared domestic waters, and called for a shared The agreement includes the ‘take it or pay for it anyway’ use of the Kerch straight. For Russia, the perspective of forclause: Kiev must pay for the volume contracted and not eign vessels sailing just a few miles away from the Don for the volume effectively consumed. The 2010 Kharkov mouth was a matter of national security. Today, the Kerch agreement amended the 2009 document: Ukraine obstraight is Russian, and the Sea of Azov has virtually been tained a rebate of $100 for 1 000 cubic meters in return turned into a Russian sea despite the fact that Ukraine still of the extension of the lease of the Sevastopol naval base controls less than 350 km of shores located between Dzanto Russian until 2042. Despite the Kharkov agreement, koi and Novoazovsk. However, Kiev does not have the abilthe gas bill had tremendously increased for Kiev, and ity to protect this shore, and will have to rely on Russia’s today, Ukraine still owes a $1,7 billion debt to Gazprom. naval forces based in Temryuk to carry out routine maritime security tasks. Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4


become an actor of the Black Sea stage due to the inteOn April 2, 2014, President Putin canceled gration of Greece and Turkey (1952), and later bolthe 1997 and 2010 Russian-Ukrainian agreements stered by the Bulgarian and Romanian accession to on the Black Sea fleet, which consequently terminatmembership (2004). However, during the Cold War ed the ‘Sevastopol rebate’, but has not cancelled the Black Sea used to be a ‘Soviet Lake’, today, it is far both the 2009 and the 2013 agreements. Consefrom being a NATO lake. The latest developments in quently, Alexey Miller, the chairman of the manageUkraine have confirmed the failure of the EU Eastern ment committee of Gazprom, stated that, “starting Partnership on the one hand, and the inability to expand from the second quarter of 2014, the gas price for NATO eastward, by integrating neither Ukraine, nor Ukraine would increase by nearly 44%.” Despite the Georgia, for the foreseeable future. However, NATO’s fact that Kiev has sought to diversify its gas imports role as a protector of its members in Eastern Europe and over the past years, Russia still provides 60% of its in the Black Sea is increasing. After its proactive role in natural gas to Ukraine, and in 2013, Kiev imported the Black Sea during most of the 2000s, the US has 21,6 bcm of natural gas from Russia. Moreover, deprioritized the Black Sea since the election of Presi50% of the Russian gas exported to the European dent Barack Obama. Today, Union (EU) transits the main drivers of Washingthrough Ukraine, and ton’s involvement in the reMoscow has supplied gion remain energy security, nearly 32% of the gas and NATO ballistic missile consumed in Europe in defense (BMD) with compo2010. According to the nents located in Turkey and 2009 agreement, Romania. Ukraine still has to pay Beyond the so-called annually, until 2019, the ‘Pivot to Asia’, Washington price of at least 41,6 bcm needs Moscow’s active coopa year, which is far more eration on international issues than its 2013 domestic such as arms control, in Iran consumption. At the post Russian Black Sea Fleet (Photo: BBC) or Afghanistan. Washington is ‘April 2’ rate, it means thus unlikely to challenge Russia in its ‘sphere of priviKiev would have to pay a minimum of $16 billion a leged interests’, and as a result, the US influence has year. retrenched from the Black Sea stage during the past In the context of the contraction of the GDP years. Instead, the US is pushing the EU to take the lead in Ukraine (-3% forecast for 2014 according to the in the region and is trying to engage Turkey to solve a Ukrainian Ministry of Economy), the end of the set of conflicts plaguing the area (Nagorno-Karabakh, rebate is likely to worsen the Ukrainian economic Cyprus). situation, and to complicate the political stabilizaGiven the inability of the EU to manage its Black tion of the country. Only a cooperation between Sea environment, the coming NATO retrenchment on Russia, the EU and the US may improve the situathe protection and the reinsurance of its Eastern Eurotion. pean members, and the waning influence of the US in the area, the Black Sea is likely to see in the short term Cooperation In The Black Sea: Toward A an enhanced Russian-Turkish security condominium Greater Russian-Turkish Security Condoover the region. minium? Since 1991, Turkey has reinvested in its Black Sea First, it should be noticed that today, there is strategic stage by playing an active role in the maritime no Black Sea security architecture, and that the use realm. According to the 1936 Montreux Convention, of the hard power remains an option to achieve poAnkara is the master of the Straights (Bosporus and Darlitical goals in the region. The main stakeholders danelles), and today, the Turkish fleet remains the most shaping today Black Sea security dynamics (are both effective and powerful navy in the region. Ankara has local) – Russia, Turkey, NATO and the EU- and been very cautious in involving all the littoral states in external, like the United States (US). NATO has any maritime security arrangement, including Russia, Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4


since it aims at maintaining the status quo in the Black Sea military balance. In order to build up regional confidence and increase security cooperation, Turkey launched BlackSeaFor naval taskforce in 2001. The task force gathers ships from all the Black Sea states and performs twice a year a wide array of exercises: search and rescue, environment protection, anti-mines warfare. The first initiative was extended in 2004 when Ankara launched Black Sea Harmony the purpose of which was to prevent and fight piracy and terrorism. When Washington suggested in 2006 to extend Operation Active Endeavour to the Black Sea, both Moscow and Ankara strongly opposed. Whereas the former argued that littoral states were fully able to enforce maritime security on the Black Sea stage, the latter raised serious concerns about the implementation of the Montreux Convention in the context of a growing naval activity. Although Ankara has always emphasized the need to involve Moscow in the realm of maritime security, other littoral countries have been invited to contribute to both BlackSeaFor and Black Sea Harmony. Despite a growing cooperative competition between Russia and Turkey in the realm of security in the Black Sea, both stakeholders continue to consider the Black Sea as their backyard. However, Russia’s coming naval rise in the Black Sea will question this status quo and reshape Ankara and Moscow’s naval cooperation in the years to come.

About the author Igor Delanoë holds a PhD in modern and contemporary history from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in Nice (France). During his post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University, he expanded his field of study to include US interests and security issues in the wider Black Sea region. Bibliography David E. Albright, Semyen J. Appatov (Ed.), Ukraine and Euro pean security, Macmillan Press; New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, 1999, 288 p. Nadia Alexandrovna Arbatova, “Regional Cooperation in the Black Sea Area in the Context of EU-Russia Relations”, Xenophon Paper, n°5, April 2008, 51 pages. Oksana Antonenko, “Towards a Comprehensive Regional Security Framework in the Black Sea Region after the Russia-Georgia War”, Southeast European and Black Sea Stud ies, vol. 9, n° 3, September 2009, pp. 259-269. Mustafa Aydin, “Contending Agendas for the Black Sea Region. A Regional Alternative”, Democratizatsiya: the Journal of post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 20, n° 1, winter 2012, pp. 47-61. Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4

Zeyno Baran, Robert A. Smith, “The Energy Dimension in American Policy towards the Black Sea Region”, Southeast Euro pean and Black Sea Studies, vol. 7, n° 2, June 2007, pp. 265-274. Giray Saynur Bozkurt (Ed.), Blue Black Sea: New Dimensions of History, Security, Politics, Strategy, Energy and Econo my, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publish ing, 2013, 540 p. Baptiste Chatre, Stéphane Delory (dir.), Conflits et sécurité dans l’espace de la mer Noire: l’Union européenne, les riverains et les autres, Paris, Editions Panthéon Assas, 2009, 563 pages. Svante Cornell, Anna Jonsson, Niklas Nilsson, Per Haggstrom, The Wider Black Sea Region: An Emerging Hub in Euro pean Security, Uppsala, Johns Hopkins University, Upp sala University, Central Asia- Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, 2006, 117 pages. Sergii Glebov, “Black Sea Security as a Regional Concern for the Black Sea States and the Global Powers”, Southeast Euro pean and Black Sea Studies, vol. 9, n° 3, September 2009, pp. 351–365. Daniel Hamilton, Gerhard Mangott (Ed.), The Wider Black Sea Region in the 21st Century: Strategic, Economic and Energy Perspectives, Washington D.C., Center for Transatlant ic Relations, The John Hopkins University/ Austrian Institute for International Affairs, 2008, 342 pg. Tim Judah (Ed.), A 2020 Vision for the Black Sea Region. A Report by the Commission on the Black Sea, Bertelsmann Stifung, May 2010, 70 pages. Alfred T. Mahan, The Influence of Seapower upon History, 1660- 1783, Cambridge, John Wilson and Son, 8th edition, 1889, 557 pages Özgür Özdamar, “Security and military balance in the Black Sea region”, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, vol. 10, n° 3, September 2010, pp. 341–359. John W. Parker, Michael Kofman, “Russia still Matters: Strategic Challenges and Opportunities for the Obama Admin istration”, Strategic Forum, National Defense University, n° 280, March 2013, 8 pages. Oleksandr Pavliuk et Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze (dir.), The Black Sea Region: Cooperation and Security Building, Armonk, East-West Institute, 2004, 314 pages. Beniamin Poghosyan, “US­-Turkish Relations in the Obama Era”, The RUSI Journal, February/March 2013, vol. 158, n° 1, pp. 40-46 .Michael Ratner (coord.), Paul Belkin, Jim Nichol, Steven Woeh rel, “Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges t o Natural Gas Supply Diversification”, CRS Report for Congress, Congressional Research Service, Mar 15, 2013, 29 pg. Deborah Sanders, “Between Rhetoric and Reality: the Decline of Russian Maritime Power in the Black Sea?”, Mediterra nean Quarterly, 23:4, 2012, pp. 43-69. Deborah Sanders, “U.S. Naval Diplomacy in the Black Sea. Send ing Mixed Messages”, Naval War College Review, sum mer 2007, vol. 60, n° 3, pp. 61-72. James Sherr, “Security in the Black Sea region: back to Realpoli tik?”, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, vol. 8, n° 2, June 2008, pp. 141–153. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Ed.), The Security Context in Black Sea Region, New-York, Routledge, 2009, 184 pages. 5

The Transnistrian Conflict Today & Tomorrow: How Should Europe Act? By Daria Goncearova


which did not give the expected results, a different approach is required from all the participants of the negotiations’ process. This paper analyses the current state of play and suggests some policy recommendations for both the EU and the Moldovan Government. These include, for the EU: a) maintaining diplomatic pressure on Russia to withdraw its troops and remove military checkpoints; b) anchor Moldova firmly in its European project by signing the Association Agreement, c) implementing the liberalized visa regime d) implementing free trade provisions smoothly and e) expand the EU’s and the Moldovan government’s interaction with the Transnistrian authorities, through joint projects, trade and people-to-people contacts. For the Moldovan government: a) to work more actively with the public, in order to explain the benefits of moving closer to the EU and the urgency to ensure national security and b) to consider dropping the neutrality status and start negotiations with NATO.

he frozen conflict in Transnistria was for a long time considered a “low-hanging fruit”, as its causes are rooted much more in the political sphere rather than in ethnic dissensions, as is the case in many other territorial disputes around the world. It was also a conflict oftentimes overlooked by the EU and NATO against the background of other burning issues, because of its prolonged status-quo and apparent no threat of immediate burst of violence. For the last several years and especially recent months, it has become apparent that the resolution of the conflict is far from simple, even when an agreement seemed to have been reached with one key player – Russia, as it happened for instance in 2010, when Chancellor Angela Merkel engaged with the issue as part of Germany’s security dialogue with Russia. As the Eastern Partnership initiative gained in speed and importance, and especially in light of the recent events in Ukraine, Transnistria finally came The map of the breakaway Transnistrian region Background Inforback into the spotlight of (Photo: The Economist) mation EU’s attention. It should be understood by anyone who is dealing with the region, Moldova’s turn towards independence at the break that an unresolved conflicts on the left bank of Dniester of the Soviet Union provoked serious tensions with its River is posing a constant security threat not only to Eastern region of Transnistria, which preferred to remain Moldova, but to the region as a whole, and is also obpart of the USSR. In 1992 a separatist war broke out, structing Moldova’s path towards European integration. splitting the Republic of Moldova in a self-proclaimed As the hitherto applied measures and negotiation tactics Transnistrian Moldovan Republic and Moldova proper, with the border along the Dniester River. Some 2600 Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4


troops of the Russian 14th Army were initially stationed on the separatist territory, supported by a substantial stock of Soviet weaponry. Both are still stationed in the region, despite the repeated demands by the Moldovan government to withdraw. Although not recognized by any international player, not even the Russian Federation, Transnistria remains a source of instability, smuggling, and most importantly, a traditional tool of maintaining Russian geopolitical influence in Moldova (and partly Ukraine).

Russia also continues to play a pivotal role in the Transnistrian issue, expressed not only through its military presence in the region, but also through economic assistance, natural gas subsidies and political support for the Tiraspol administration. The Difficulties Of Formulating A Common European Message

The weak response to the Transnistrian issue from the side of the EU is a reflection of a larger problem – the EU Involvement In The Settlement Process complex way the EU common foreign policy is coagulated. A common EU stance on a Throughout the ‘90s, comforeign policy issue is formulated plex mechanisms had been created Transnistria remains a source of instability, with great institutional difficulto settle the conflict: trilateral peacekeeping operation (Russian, smuggling, and most importantly, a traditional ties. There are two major aptool of maintaining Russian geopolitical influ- proaches that explain how deciTransnistrian and Moldovan troops) ence in Moldova (and partly Ukraine). sions are taken within the EU. under the supervision of a Joint From an intergovernmentalist Control Commission, as well as a perspective, EU institutions play negotiation format comprising the a very limited role in EU foreign policy. In the field of conflicting parties with Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE as foreign policy – an inter-governmental domain – the inmediators. The EU did not participate in this conflict resostitutions reflect the interests of the more powerful lution process, leaving it to the OSCE. Nevertheless, the member states or the lowest denominator agreements EU member states supported a political agreement concludbetween various interests of the member states. From ed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in 1999 according to this perspective, the policy-drivers of EU involvement in which Russia agreed to the unconditional withdrawal of post-Soviet countries are the new EU member states: the troops and weapons from Moldova within a few years, while Baltic states, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, which conUS and EU member states agreed to adapt the armssume their political energy with other more urgent issues reduction Conventional Forces in the European Treaty. (joining the Schengen agreement and entering the Euro Russia however failed to respect its commitments and has zone) and are also small countries (except Poland) with maintained its military presence in Moldova. The approach limited bargaining power within the EU. Germany is inof the EU towards Transnistria changed in 2002, when after terested in a stable eastern neighborhood, which happens a period of tighter cooperation between Moldova and Russia to be also Russia’s most important economic partner. in 2001 – 2003, the relations cooled drastically after the The Nordic countries and the UK generally follow a polifailure to sign the “Kozak Memorandum” on Transnistria (a cy of moderate involvement. Taking into account these federalization plan proposed by Russia that effectively enambivalences, it is clear that the EU’s real interests in hanced Transnistrian, and hence, Russian influence on ChisMoldova have been relatively low. inau). The new thinking was to take the opportunities ofFrom an institutionalist point of view, EU institufered by the EU, which, after the launch of the discussions tions do play an independent role in foreign policy foron a new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2002, mulation and implementation, but still prefer low-profile seemed to be taking a more concrete shape than before. politics and do not intervene into the zone of high-level After several negotiation rounds, in 2005 Moldova signed a foreign policy – the domain of the member states. As three-year Action Plan under the ENP. The same year saw Nicu Popescu argues in his “EU Foreign Policy and Postanother very important development, when the EU and US soviet Conflicts”, the EU institutions enjoy greater autonjoined the negotiation process on Transnistria with observer omy in low-politics of foreign policy, in mostly unconstatus. From this moment onwards, EU’s involvement in troversial and low-risk measures, like confidence buildthe Transnistrian conflict resolution became more and more ing, strengthening cultural ties, development assistance, sound. The EU appointed a Special Representative on Molpeople-to-people contacts. When EU institutions engage dova and launched the EU Border Assistance Mission to in Track II diplomacy without a mandate from the memUkraine and Moldova (EUBAM). Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4


lent, alternating between competition and cooperation, ber states, the latter roll back this institutional activcontaining some mistrust. Russia is an important conism. This was the case of the EU Special Representastraining factor of EU policies in the region. As EU tive on Moldova in 2005-2007 who was promoting Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson has once put it: the idea of an EU peacekeeping operation in Trans"No other country reveals our differences as does Rusnistria against the wish of several member states, and sia". The recent events that led to the de-facto annexahad to resign in the end. An important conclusion to tion of Crimea by Russia have shed a new light on EUbe drawn from these arguments is that an external Russia relations and have consolidated the EU Member actor can affect EU decision making by raising the States in their views on how these relations should propolitical weight and controversiality of the issue, as gress. well as by lobbying member The Changing Interstates. Raising the national Context – A political profile of Glimpse of Hope? an international issue makes the The unpredictabilEU-decision makity of the Russian move in ing process more Crimea made it clear to all intergovernmenEuropean leaders that tal, which leads to there is a real security a probable blockthreat right at the borders age or at least conof the EU, which might strains on actions spill over to the adjacent of the EU instituterritories. The Transnistions. There are Military parade on the occasion of 23rd anniversary of the Republic Day trian conflict today has plenty of examples in Transnistria (Photo: evolved especially in the of this strategy public opinion. If several being applied in years ago only experts and those few dealing with the the EU neighbourhood by Russia, the relations with conflict realized fully its significance for the regional which can be rightly called one of the greatest imsecurity setup and for EU-Russia relations, today the pediments of pursuing the EU’s interest in the EaP meaning of the Russian army and munitions on this countries. patch of land became clear for the general public as well. There are both positive and negative consequences EU Relations With Russia of this shift of the European public and official perception. On the one hand, this awareness raising damages Russia consistently opposes the enlargement the image of Moldova as a reliable partner striving for of EU influence in Moldova and constantly introducdemocracy and change. It also puts the whole problem es the issue of Customs Union, gas prices and Transinto the media spotlight and thus limits the space for nistrian conflict in the public debate, forcing EU diplomatic maneuver on all sides. On the other hand, member states to treat these issues through the prism the sense of danger and urgency might increase the pubof their relations with Russia. It is important to keep lic expectations from the European Common Foreign in mind that the demanders for EU involvement – and Defence Policy and that will allow their respective Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan – are all small governments to take a stronger stance on Transnistrian states, whose problems are not very important to issue, pushing an assertive common message from both most EU countries. At the same time, unique geoinstitutionalist and intergovernmentalist prisms menpolitics of the region include Russia as a major player tioned above. Indeed, from both perspectives, the and thus a serious factor in EU foreign policy. Russia changed, more reserved position Germany has adopted has common borders with all the EaP countries and is towards Russia, and raised awareness of a tangible secuapprehensive of EU’s increasing involvement in postrity threat felt among Western member states, form a Soviet affairs. The relations between Russia and the promising basis for a substantial change in a EU position EU on the playfield of post-Soviet affairs are ambivaAtlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4


tive impact on Moldova’s European prospects as well. on the Transnistrian issue. It means that the governMoreover, because of the crisis in Crimea, it bements of the most influential member states are starting came clear that Moldova doesn’t, in fact, have any secuto share the view of the Eastern European policy-drivers rity guaranties, and that the much praised neutrality and EU involvement in the post-Soviet space. Creating a status assured by the Constitution will not protect Molhigher common denominator of national interests it is dova’s legitimate borders, just as the Budapest Memoalso creating a space for the Transnistrian issue to be randum did not protect Ukrainian territorial integrity. tackled in the higher levels of foreign policy, where the The illusion of usefulness of a neutrality status is rapidly EU institutions might finally receive from the member approaching to its end as it becomes obvious that radistates a clear mandate to act. Today, the usual recalization of Transnistria is possible at any time and this strictions to a firmer EU stance in Eastern Partnership will leave Chisinau with no counties seem to be gradually fading away. Every single political analyst was wrong about the viable solution. What Does The Future Hold?

outcomes of the Ukrainian crisis and the situation in Crimea, thus it is a difficult, if not impossible task to predict Russia’s next move in other territories .

Every single political analyst was wrong about the outcomes of the Ukrainian crisis and the situation in Crimea. It is a difficult, if not an impossible task to predict Russia’s next move over other territories. Still, for the moment, Moscow gave a clear signal that it was not going to support another referendum in Transnistria and accept it as another subject into the Russian Federation just now. The request by the “parliamentary assembly” in Tiraspol on this issue addressed to the Russian Duma in mid-March was not put on the agenda for discussion and hence ignored for the time being. It is clear, though, that the Russian Federation has the tools to “heat up” the frozen conflict at any point in the future. Despite some similarities between Transnistria and Crimea, such as stationing of Russian troops, linguistic and mental affiliation with Russian values, referenda that confirm this affiliation and wish to actually join the Russian Federation, there are also important differences. Namely, the historical and cultural symbolism of Transnistrian region is far of a lesser scale than the one of the Crimean peninsula, it is geographically separated from Russia and has a reduced strategic importance compared to the military potential of Crimean warm water ports. To actually integrate Transnistria successfully, Russia would have to take over even a larger portion of south Ukraine leaving it without access to the Black Sea, which is highly unlikely. The real danger stems today from the “heating” of the conflict without actually separating Transnistria from Moldova and thus destabilizing the whole country and – as a bonus – the region as well. The possible Russia-provoked “thawing” will have an immediate destrucAtlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4

Conclusions & Policy Recommendations

A) Given Russia's recent behaviour, the EU should make clear to Moscow that it will not allow further escalation in the region and the trampling of international norms. B) The EU has already offered Moldova a visafree regime, and the attention should be shifted now to its efficient implementation and to the raising of the EU visibility in the country. Though Moldova is among the highest recipients of EU funds per capita among the ENP countries, the EU is not very visible on the ground, partially because it channels its funds through international institutions such as UNDP. C) Moreover, EU Member States should go beyond their 'constructive ambiguity' formulas and offer a clear European perspective for both Moldova and Ukraine. Such a perspective could potentially change the dynamic of the Transnistrian conflict and offer a clear goal to the citizens and the political leaders of this region. D) The quick signature of the Association Agreement that would help Moldova stay at its chosen European path is a much awaited action as well (expected to happen in June). The Moldovan government should try to maintain dialogue with Tiraspol but also continue on its European path, while trying to reform and improve the lives of Moldovan citizens, on both banks of the Dniester. E) Because of the crisis in Crimea, it has become clear that Russian troops will not be withdrawn from Transnistria. On the contrary, Russia will maintain its military presence in the region with greater than ever insistence. The Moldovan government must think ahead of the decisions it will have to take later on, when approaching the question of an eventual EU membership. 9

Popescu, N. (2011) EU Foreign Policy and Post Probably, there will be only two options that would -Soviet Con flicts. Stealth intervention, guarantee absence of foreign troops on Moldovan terriLondon and New York: Routledge tory: either a very broad federalization under which “Thawing a Frozen Conflict: Legal Aspects of Russian troops would agree to withdraw, or an actual, the Separatist Crisis in Moldova: A de jure, separation of the break-away region. Both opReport from the Association of the Bar of the tions are very short of an apocalyptic scenario, that eveCity of New York”, New York: Association of ry government in Moldova has been trying to avoid by the Bar of the City of New York, 2006 pushing these difficult decisions further into the future. “Unsustainability of negotiations on Transnis F) A bold and somewhat unexpected action, that trian conflict settle ment or why secure ty mat might bring tangible positers”,Mol dova’s tive results, would be to Foreign Poli c y S t a t e follow the conclusive adwatch, Issue 48, vice of New York City Bar No vember 2012 ( Association and to dePopescu, Nicu and nounce the neutrality Wilson, Andrew status in order to en(2009) gage in negotiations with NATO. Further "The limits of enlargementtemporization and “the lite: European and small steps” policy conRussian power in the Russian peacekeepers at the administrative border between troubled neighbour fined to the 5 plus 2 format Transnistrian region and Moldova (Photo: hood", report for will protract the status-quo the European Coun and cement Russia’s influence. Although 19% of the cil of Foreign Rela tions, June 2009 population do generally support the idea of joining NATO, the topic is still a taboo for public discussion. It Chirilă, V. (2013), “Este Transnistria Reinte seems to be a wrong and counterproductive strategy, as grabilă?”, Moldovan officials are deprived of a very important arl=ro&idc=152&id=1926Ciurea, C., Ghinea, C., gument in their negotiations with Russia and are also Popescu, N., Rodkiewicz, W., Sieg., H. M. (2012) short of security policy options, the importance of Popescu, N. and Litra, L. (2012) “Transnistria: which today is primordial. A Bottom- Up Solution”, European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy About the author Briefs Nr 63 ( ECFR63_TRANSNISTRIA_BRIEF_AW.pdf) Ms. Daria Goncearova is a career diplomat for MolMandelson, P (2007), “The EU and Russia: our dovan ministry of Foreign Affairs for the past 9 years, joint political challenge”, Bologna, 20 April 2007 IPP, Barometer of Public Opinion, Institute Daria is now based in Brussels, where she has obtained a for Public Policy, Chisinau, Moldova; (second) Master degree in Communications at VUB and is pursuing a traineeship at the European Parliament. Daria is also starting a PhD research on EU image abroad. Her areas of expertise include EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, EU role in frozen conflicts' resolution, Eastern Partnership and EU-Russia relations. Bibliography Korosteleva, E. (2012), The European Union and its Eastern Neighbours. Towards a More Ambitious Partnership? London a n d New York: Routledge

Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4


“A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” Join or YATA Photo Competition!

(Photos: NATO)

Youth Atlantic Treaty Association, together with the ATA Secretariat will launch a YATA Photo Competition! This competition will ask participants – YATA and non-YATA – to capture in their own way, in one photo frame, what they consider to be the essence of security, NATO and defense, and the connection between the three points.Your pictures should reflect your own views on what security is! The first call for pictures, followed by a selection by a committee, will be announced on Sunday and the official opening of the competition will be Monday the 21st of April. The prize for the best picture, decided by the committee, will be a free admission to the Portuguese Atlantic Youth Seminar this July! We will have smaller prizes for pictures of the week, that will become the cover page on our Facebook page and the picture of the month that will be posted in Atlantic Voices. Do not miss this unique opportunity to get your message across our network! You can send your pictures to our Facebook page: Or to emails: and who will make sure that the pictures will find the right people!

Atlantic Voices, Volume 4, Issue 4


ATA Programs International Symposium ”European Defense, NATO & EU: The Challenges Ahead” took place on 11 April, 2014 at the Ministry of Press and Mass Media in Kallithea, Greece. The main topic of Eurodefense was to contemplate the concept of European Security and Defense Systems and to create opportunities in this field to analyze the vulnerabilities, threats and risks that Europe is now facing, as well as those that it will face in the future. From April 24-27, YATA Norway will host 40 international applicants to participate in their annual NORSEC


This years conference deals with the diversity of security perspectives within NATO and the challenges this poses to the cohesiveness of the alliance. The Atlantic Treaty Association’s Annual Council Meeting will take place May 28th– 29th in Budva, Montenegro in lead up to the 2BS Conference. Atlantic Voices is always seeking new material. If you are a young researcher, subject expert or professional and feel you have a valuable contribution to make to the debate, then please get in touch. We are looking for papers, essays, and book reviews on issues of importance to the NATO Alliance. For details of how to submit your work please see our website. Further enquiries can also be directed to the ATA Secretariat at the address listed below.

Images should not be reproduced without permission from sources listed, and remain the sole property of those sources. Unless otherwise stated, all images are the property of NATO.

Atlantic Voices is the monthly publication of the Atlantic Treaty Association. It aims to inform the debate on key issues that affect the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, its goals and its future. The work published in Atlantic Voices is written by young professionals and researchers. The Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) is an international nongovernmental organization based in Brussels working to facilitate global networks and the sharing of knowledge on transatlantic cooperation and security. By convening political, diplomatic and military leaders with academics, media representatives and young professionals, the ATA promotes the values set forth in the North Atlantic Treaty: Democracy, Freedom, Liberty, Peace, Security and Rule of Law. The ATA membership extends to 37 countries from North America to the Caucasus throughout Europe. In 1996, the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) was created to specifially include to the successor generation in our work. Since 1954, the ATA has advanced the public’s knowledge and understanding of the importance of joint efforts to transatlantic security through its international programs, such as the Central and South Eastern European Security Forum, the Ukraine Dialogue and its Educational Platform. In 2011, the ATA adopted a new set of strategic goals that reflects the constantly evolving dynamics of international cooperation. These goals include:

the establishment of new and competitive programs on international security issues.

the development of research initiatives and security-related events for its members.

the expansion of ATA’s international network of experts to countries in Northern Africa and Asia. The ATA is realizing these goals through new programs, more policy

activism and greater emphasis on joint research initiatives. These programs will also aid in the establishment of a network of international policy experts and professionals engaged in a dialogue with NATO.

The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Atlantic Treaty Association, its members, affiliates or staff.

This publication is co co--sponsored by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Atlantic Voices Vol. 4, No. 4 (April 2014)  

The Ukrainian Crisis and Security in the Black Sea Dr. Igor Delano examines the Ukrainian crisis from a security perspective. He elaborates...

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