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  • Author: Giovanna De Maio
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper reflects on the crisis over Ukraine from the Russian point of view bearing in mind the deterioration of the relationship between Moscow and Kiev and the international retaliation against Russia’s aggression. What does Ukraine represent for Russia? Did the events in Maidan affect how Russia perceives Ukraine? These questions are addressed by analysing the discourse on Ukraine by the main stakeholders of Russian society: the political and economic elites, civil society, the mass media and academia, the general public and the Orthodox Church.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Amanda Paul
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus is a fragmented and security challenged region. Despite hopes that the Eastern Partnership (EaP) would act as a transformative tool to strengthen democracy, stability, security and regional cooperation, this has not happened. Rather the EaP has produced limited results, with the region today more fragmented than it was five years ago. Russia's war against Ukraine has further exacerbated the situation as it raised concerns over the extent to which the South Caucasus countries could genuinely rely on the West. Today, Armenia, and Georgia have different geostrategic trajectories. While Georgia has stuck to the Euro-Atlantic track, Armenia joined the Russian-led Eurasian Union in January 2015. Meanwhile Azerbaijan has the luxury of choosing not to choose. Developments in the region have demonstrated that a one size fits all approach does not work and a more differentiated policy is required.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has come to the fore in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine. Growing tensions with the West over the common neighbourhood, coupled with economic sanctions, have accelerated this trend, with China gaining in strength as both an economic and military partner to Moscow. The Kremlin’s propaganda has sought to convince the broader public that Russia’s strategies in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Arctic region are a complement to China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. Nonetheless, behind the headlines huge potential problems jeopardise the emergence of a durable Sino-Russian consensus in Eurasia. Against this backdrop, the EU should opt for “strategic patience.” This would be a far more effective policy choice than finger pointing, which only deepens the mutual ideological clash between the EU and Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-69-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Erkan Erdogdu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is a European Commission initiative aimed at facilitating the diversification of the routes and sources of gas imported into Europe. This paper is devoted to the analysis of Turkey's role in this initiative. Following a summary of the current economic and energy situation in Turkey, the paper presents recent developments in the SGC and an analysis of Turkey's role in the EU's SGC vision. It concludes that although the newly-built infrastructure within the SGC framework will probably serve Azerbaijani and Turkish interests first in their future relations with the EU, rather than the other way round, as had been initially hoped by the EU, it still addresses the EU's basic strategic interests, namely, the diversification of gas supply routes and suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Asia, Netherlands
  • Author: Ariel Cohen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's occupation of the Crimea and possible incorporation of Eastern Ukrainian regions demonstrated Europe's vulnerability to Gazprom's energy power. Whatever the EU's reactions, diversification of energy supply to diminish Russia's market share is likely to be one of them. TAP is one step towards the strategic goal of diminishing Gazprom's huge presence in Europe. But in view of the proposed construction of the Russian South Stream, how could Central Europe, and especially Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and Lithuania, ensure energy diversification? What next for the Southern Corridor? Is Russia going to accept and tolerate infrastructure growth of the Caspian and other competitors south of its borders?
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis brought European energy security and with it the Southern Gas Corridor back into the spotlight. The crisis is far from over, but it is already clear that both the scope and nature of Russia's relations with the European Union (EU) and the United States cannot remain unchanged. As the strategic context changes and Europe becomes more and more concerned about Russia's behaviour and reliability as an energy supplier, particularly for natural gas, the relative importance of alternative sources will grow further. Europe is in the midst of rethinking its entire energy and gas supply security strategy. The Southern Gas Corridor can and should be a critical component in this context, while its prospects should be assessed realistically. It is by no means a short-term solution, yet in the medium-term, the Corridor has the potential to become a major source of gas for Europe. The EU should deploy robust energy diplomacy as well as resources to speed up its development.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Kristina Kausch
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Middle Eastern and North African region is in flux, while attempts to identify a new dominant structural logic have been limited so far. For the time being, the new “order” appears to consist of the absence of any one clear-cut organising principle and in overlapping, dynamic, often contradictory geopolitical developments. Among many other features, the geopolitical equation in the Middle East is being altered by a number of larger structural shifts regarding the position and relative weight of specific actors. Notable instances include the relative loss of influence of the United states and Europe; the game-changing regional roles of Russia and China, respectively; the resurgence of the IranianSaudi rivalry; the emergence of a number of regional “swing states”; and the increasing role of non-state actors in shaping regional developments. the complexity of this outlook makes policy choices by regional and external actors ever more difficult.
  • Topic: Non State Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Fatih Özgür Yeni
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy security is one of the hot topics on the European energy agenda. The EU's Southern Energy Corridor initiative is an attempt to reduce dependence on Russian supplies by tapping into Caspian and Middle-Eastern natural gas resources. Turkey, who aspires to be a regional energy hub, has emerged as the key country in the Southern Corridor. Although the TAP project in its current state satisfies neither Turkey's energy hub ambitions nor the EU's resource diversification efforts, it may serve as the first building block of the Southern Corridor. There are promising developments in the region that can increase volumes and add new routes to the initiative. Private companies have already shown their interest in developing a pipeline infrastructure for possible South-East Mediterranean and Northern Iraq natural gas exports but complex geopolitical issues pose the greatest threat to the way ahead. Thanks to its unique location, Turkey is destined to be one of the key players in the Southern Corridor. The convergence of Turkey's energy hub ambitions and the EU's energy security objectives present mutual gains, but also demand sustained collaboration between the two in light of several technical, legal and political hurdles.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union launched the ambitious Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the goal of enhancing the security of its energy supply. The corridor - a virtual transit route running from the gas-rich Caspian basin to the EU while bypassing Russian soil - is meant to increase diversification of the EU's supplier and transit countries. While various projects have been proposed to give life to the corridor, the European Commission has given particular support to the realisation of Nabucco, a 3,893km pipeline running from Turkey to the European gas hub of Baumgarten in Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. The Commission's choice is, however, flawed in several respects, as it fails to take account of key factors, such as the diverging, and sometimes conflicting, interests of individual EU member states, the geopolitical challenges of the Caspian basin, and the commercial constraints on Nabucco. This short-sighted approach has hindered the efficient development of the Southern Gas Corridor and weakened the EU's energy policy.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria
  • Author: Elnur Soltanov
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The South East Europe Pipeline (SEEP), proposed by BP in late September 2011, could eventually be the pipeline carrying Azeri gas to European markets. Compared to its competitors in the Southern Corridor concept - Nabucco, TAP and ITGI - it goes furthest in terms of optimality for all the parties involved. The combined advantages of its size, scalability, usage of existing gas infrastructure in Europe and direction, promises a more reasonable economic and political value for the Shah Deniz Consortium, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Europe, while posing a bearable challenge to Russia. The SEEP seems to offer a greater value to a greater number of actors.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Camilla Committeri
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Syrian crisis is dividing the international community like no other Arab uprising has done so far. While the United States and the European Union stand squarely against the Syrian regime, Russia remains a staunch defender of state sovereignty and the Al-Assad regime. There are three main factors that explain this position: Moscow's historical relations with Damascus; Russia's traditional opposition to US presence in the Middle East; and the surge in domestic opposition in Russia itself. This last factor, and the recent evolution of Russian domestic politics, is crucial to grasp Moscow's foreign policy towards Syria and the Middle East, a s well as towards the United States and Europe.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil War, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arabia, Moscow, Syria
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The 2012 Russian presidential election and the future of the Medvedev-Putin tandem have started to dominate political debate inside and outside the country. Several developments in Russia's domestic politics have made predictions on the future president particularly arduous. These include Russia's so-called modernization initiative; Mikhail Prokhorov's debut on the Russian political scene, and the new presidential decree on the "Security Council Questions". Yet, analysing these developments suggests that whether Putin will return to the presidency or whether he will remain the de facto leader is unlikely to have major repercussions on Russian domestic policy. For Russia, the priority today is the need to maintain internal stability and formal democracy, necessary to attract foreign technologies and thus advance the modernization initiative as well as to guarantee elite continuity through an internal balance between the siloviki faction and the liberals. Both a renewed Medvedev-Putin tandem and a return of Putin to the presidency fulfil these goals. While much debated, the personality of the future Russian president is unlikely to represent a major game changer in Russia today.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Silvia Colombo, Ian Lesser
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The paper provides a summary of the key issues raised in the third meeting of the Mediterranean Strategy Group which was convened in Rome to discuss the problem of energy security and cooperation in the Mediterranean from a transatlantic perspective. The meeting looked into the impact of geopolitical and economic variables on energy security around the Mediterranean, including the role and interests of “new” actors such as China, Russia and India. It also examined the outlook for new oil, gas, nuclear and electric power transmission projects, the prospects for alternative energy schemes, and the implications for strategy and policy affecting governments and the private sectors.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Elaborating a Strategic Concept is a delicate undertaking which implies a good deal of resolve, far - sightedness, and realism. Allies should neither search for a new North Star nor give in to the temptation of de facto acceptance of the status quo as the optimal solution. Instead, they should make choices reflecting a synthesis, not just a list, of their security priorities. In particular, they should consider the future of the allied deterrence and defence strategies in a security environment characterised by significant political and technological changes, including by thinking about steps towards withdrawing US nuclear weapons in Europe and creating an integrated missile defence system; learn the lessons from the Balkans and Afghanistan and accord greater priority to stabilisation than to rapid reaction capabilities; recognise that compromises will be inevitable if they are serious about considering Russia as a partner, and start by pausing for a while with enlargement. Allies should also make it clear that they have no ambition of turning NATO into a world gendarme and shift towards cooperative crisis management.
  • Topic: NATO, Treaties and Agreements, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Caucasian-Caspian region has become a stage for the collision of opposing foreign security and energy policies. After 16 years of a very fragile ceasefire, the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to depend not only on the attitudes of the conflict parties, but also and perhaps even more on the re-organization of the region at the political, security and energy levels. Three main developments can affect the prospects for conflict resolution in Karabakh: the parties' growing frustration with the OSCE Minsk-Group mediation; the US-brokered Turkish-Armenian rapprochement and the deterioration in US-Azeri relations; and finally, Russia's resurgence in the region. These three inter-related factors could result in a new regional scenario marked by the emergence of an energy triangle between Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey, which in turn could impact on the destiny of Nagorno- Karabakh.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Soviet Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The conservative report on NATO's new Strategic Concept, written by a group of experts chaired by Madeleine Albright, suits Italy's status-quo oriented agenda. As long as NATO does not shift its focus away from Europe, the renewed emphasis on expeditionary capabilities is acceptable to the Italian government. The Italians could also find comfort in the report's insistence on calibrating NATO ambitions to its actual resources and capacities. Italy could insist on making the advantages of NATO-EU cooperation more explicit, as this would favour EU defence integration, which in turn may help save money and maintain acceptable military standards. The section on NATO's relationship with Russia is the part of the Albright report with which Italy is perhaps most uncomfortable, as it seems to perpetuate NATO's ambiguity towards Russia. In the final analysis, assuming that the Albright report is a credible preview of the next Strategic Concept, the Italian government seems to have little reason to loose sleep over it.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Italy
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Following the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 and the ensuing Russian recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Caucasus has risen again on the Euro-Atlantic security agenda. First, the war highlighted that the “frozen” nature of the South Caucasus conflicts was a chimera, even if the war may have entrenched further the frozen nature of peace processes in the region. Second, the crisis generated new sources of instability for the entire post-Soviet space, not only because it highlighted a new form of Russian revisionism but also because it brought to the fore the limits of Western policies in what Kremlin views as its sphere of influence. The war brought to the forefront the colliding foreign policy agendas of the major external actors in the region. Not only in the run-up to the war, but also in the months and years preceding it, the American and European responses to Russia have been firm in rhetoric but compromising in reality. Russia made it clear that it has it own claims over the South Caucasus, it demonstrated its readiness to embark on military confrontation in order to achieve its goals, and through the war it wished to make crystal clear to the international community that Moscow is the only game in town. Third and related, the war exposed the inability of the West to prevent Russia from moving aggressively to restore its primacy over the former Soviet Union's territory. Thus the August war posed new implications and challenges not only for Georgia, but also for the wider Caucasus and beyond. This new context has induced the West to react and redefine its strategy towards the region and its relations with Russia, it has raised the urgency to engage in conflict resolution issues, and it has highlighted further the need for energy diversification.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Moscow, Abkhazia
  • Author: Sofia Chiarucci, Sara Raffaelli
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Moved by the conviction that any serious reflection on the future of European security should take into consideration Russia's contribution to it, the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) of Rome organized a Transatlantic Symposium on US-Europe-Russia security relations.
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri, Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After a period of severe turbulences, the United States, Europe, and Russia seem willing to start out on a new course. 'Pushing the reset button', as suggested by US Vice President Joe Biden, is an alluring formula, but it is no guide for action. A new US and European arrangement with Russia is more likely to endure if all parties learn from the troubled experience of the last few years.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: On 7 May 2009 in Prague the European Union inaugurated its Eastern Partnership (EaP). The initiative is based on a Polish-Swedish proposal of May 2008, which was held in standby until 2009. It took a full-blown war for the EU to pull this proposal out of the closet, as the August 2008 Georgian-Russian conflict and the ensuing Russian recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia posed new challenges to European foreign policy.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Poland, Georgia, Sweden