The Baltic Region

2013 Issue №2(16)

Energy policy

Russia’s energy geostrategy in the Baltic Sea region

Abstract

This article explores Russian energy policy in the Baltic Sea region in the context of the world energy market globalization. The study focuses on the three Baltic States — Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia — which have a similar geographical location and history. The dynamic development of the region as a whole is strongly influenced by the stability of energy supply in each state. The article analyses the role Russia plays in the energy policy of the region from both geopolitical and geostrategic viewpoints. The author identifies the main characteristics of the Russian energy policy in these countries, and provides with a forecast for energy policy development in the region. A geostrategic approach dictates any successful energy policy in the Baltic Sea region to bring in line Russian interests with those of the European states.

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Russia’s energy policy in the Baltic region: a geoeconomic approach

Abstract

This article analyses certain issues of implementation of Russian energy policy in the Baltic region fr om the geoeconomic perspective. The purpose of the study is to explain Russian energy policy in the region as dependent solely on the import capacity of its partners. Russian energy policy is viewed as one of the most important activities of the state and its business structures. As such it aims to achieve both general economic goals (generation of profit, market domination) and more specific geoeconomic tasks. At the same time, the policy follows the traditional rules of consumer/producer market game. Russian energy resources are delivered to an energy deficient region, wh ere the demand and need for them is stable. The study is based on the author’s geoeconomic methodology, which extensively uses geographical and general scientific methods. This work aims to develop a geoeconomic paradigm in the framework of social geography. It will be of interest to anyone who aims to analyse the true motives behind
Russian current energy policy.

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The prospects of nuclear power development in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea region as a factor of the formation of international relations system in the region

Abstract

The current development of economic diplomacy in the world is determined by a combination of globalization and regionalization. In addition, it has an economic dimension. At the same time, the Baltic Sea region demonstrates large-scale politicisation of economic cooperation. The development of nuclear power in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea is indicative of the effectiveness of political and economic cooperation in the region. The author believes that Russia and the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have the economic and technological opportunities for building up cooperation in the field of energy. This points to a question whether the traditional patterns of relations that developed among these countries in the past can be changed. A more pronounced international division of labour accompanied by the historically developed specialization of Russia makes nuclear power an important factor in Russia’s economic diplomacy. The promotion of Russian energy projects in the region contributes  to the development of a system of mutually beneficial ties. The increasing energy deficiency in the region can serve an economic prerequisite to this process.

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Nuclear power in the Baltic Sea region: the history of emergence and the political and economic features of its development

Abstract

This article focuses on the development of peaceful nuclear power. The author draws attention to the fact that nuclear power is a rather young branch of national economy. However, over recent decades, it has already seen rises and falls, and a number of states have had tragic experiences of nuclear emergencies. Nevertheless, many countries — including the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — express a strong interest in development, generation, and application of nuclear power. In the Baltic States, nuclear power dates back to the Soviet times, but its development was suspended pursuant to the EU regulations (the Ignalina NPP). Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have been striving for energy independence from Russia — the principal supplier of energy carriers to these countries. For a long time, the three Baltic States have been proclaiming their unanimity on the general European path of development. However, the reality proved to be different. The touchstone for achieving common goals was the idea of constructing a new NPP at the site of the closed Ignalina NPP. The author concludes that the joint construction of a new NPP is quite questionable. When it comes to politics, each of the three Baltic States is ready to build its own NPP. Thus, the development of nuclear power in the Baltic Sea region requires joint coordinated actions independent of any bloc-inspired interests of the states involved. Moreover, this success may prove sustainable if the actions are based on innovative decisions and modern technologies.

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Gas infrastructure development in the countries of East Baltic as a way to increase energy security

Abstract

In the context of regional gas infrastructure development this paper considers the issue of energy security of the countries of East Baltic, which depend heavily on a single energy supplier — Russia. In recent years, the countries of the region have announced several LNG terminal construction projects. The European Union will provide political and financial support to only one of these projects. The paper explores the role of gas and energy in the economy of the Eastern Baltic countries. The author concludes that the countries mostly dependent on Russian gas are Lithuania and Latvia. The announced LNG terminal projects are being reviewed in detail. Their necessity is estimated from the perspective of the current and future demand for natural gas, including the terms and conditions of contracts concluded with OAO Gazprom. Different scenarios and prospects for individual LNG terminal projects and associated pipeline infrastructure are evaluated. It is shown that the inability of countries to find a political compromise on this issue and the terms of existing contracts for Russian gas, as well as low domestic demand for gas hamper the implementation of a regional LNG terminal project even in the long term.

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International cooperation

North-West Russia in the context of European integration

Abstract

Integration is one of the main consequences of globalization. Elements of microsystems are growing closer, which brings to the foreground problems of interaction and — in a longer perspective — those of close cooperation between different social systems. The article considers the case of North-West Russia, the only territory having a common border with the EU, in order to examine the issue of Russia using the geographical factor, which Otto von Bismarck called the most powerful and intrinsic factor in history. The significance of this factor increased after the Cold War. It was then when the independent Baltic  States became a platform for emergence and recognition of the Baltic Sea region. The author focuses on the social and cultural integrity of the region and considers the traditional Nordic countries and the Baltic Sea states as interrelated components of a single region, different from other European regions in terms of economic interests, as well as its natural and sociocultural landscape.  

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Electric energy cooperation in the Baltic Sea region and the role of Russia in it

Abstract

This article examines cooperation in the electric energy sector in the Baltic region. The author explores the existing undersea HVDC power exchange projects. It is emphasised that cooperation in the electric energy sector is concentrated largely in the EU member states despite earlier plans to establish the Baltic energy ring, which would also include Russia and Belarus. The author stresses that one of the most acute problems for the EU today is overcoming isolation of the energy systems of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) from that of the major part of the EU. This task has become especially relevant after the closing of the Ignalina NPP (Lithuania), which used to be the primary energy source for the three Baltic States. The article examines key projects of the construction of new international power transmission lines in the framework of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) and the prospects of the Visaginas NPP (Lithuania) in solving energy problems of the Baltic States.  The author analyses Russia’s role in the electric energy market and focuses on a possible increase of the country’s energy market share following the construction of the Baltic NPP and the export of generated electric energy to Poland, Lithuania, Germany, and Sweden. The author concludes that the prospects of Russia’s energy export to the Baltic Sea region will be determined not only by technological, economic and market factors, but rather by the general state of relations between Russia and the EU. Moreover, a lot depends on Lithuania’s decision on the construction of the Visaginas NPP, as well as the way the EU and the Baltic States solve the problem of energy supply in case the NPP project is terminated.

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The creation of a common EU energy market: a quiet revolution with far-reaching consequences

Abstract

The article explores important changes in the EU energy structure and legislation. The authors examine the main stages of the creation of a common energy market in the EU. They analyse recent actions taken by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the EU against its member states and energy monopolists who directly or indirectly breach the rules of competition in the energy sector. The authors come to the conclusion that liberalization of the European energy sector will eventually have serious theoretical and practical consequences for the EU, as well as third countries, including Russia.

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Cross-border cooperation between nongovernmental organisations in the Pomeranian and Warmian-Masurian voivodeships

Abstract

This article is devoted to the issues of cross-border cooperation carried out by agents resident in the Pomeranian and Warmian-Masurian voivodeships. Among such agents there are non-governmental organizations. This article aims to identify the role of NGOs in cross-border cooperation and the predominant fields of their cooperation, as well as to assess their activity in attracting funding from European budgets. The article widely applies the results of surveys of NGOs conducted by the author, compares the results of performance reports submitted by these organisations within international projects, and offers the data presented in relevant publications (Euroregion Baltic documents and Phare CBC reports, Interreg IIIA and, Interreg IIIB, NMF, and Polish-Swiss Cooperation reports, as well as the data of the Central Department of Statistics). The research covers the period from the late 90s to 2012. The article highlights the difficulties agents face in forging and implementing cross-border cooperation, resulting from the mismatching definitions of the tertiary sector in Poland’s neighbour states.

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The role of transit in the economy of Latvia

Abstract

Transit is an important issue in the history of world economy, including the economy of Latvia. Transit makes a significant contribution to the budget of many transit countries, one of which is the Republic of Latvia. These countries do not have significant natural resources and prefer to focus on logistics and infrastructure in order to facilitate the transit process. This article focuses on the role of transit in the economy of Latvia, whose unique geographical position makes the country an effective transport corridor (bridge) in both the west-east and north-south directions. The article presents the results of an opinion poll conducted at Latvian transit enterprises regarding their future development and offers an overview of the main seaports and the Rīga international airport. The author examines the issue of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization and its impact on the Latvian transit, the prolongation of EU sanctions against Belarus, and the use of Latvian transport infrastructure for  handling the non-military cargo traffic to/from Afghanistan. In conclusion, a forecast of possible transit development in Latvia is provided.

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Research reports

The concepts of enclave and exclave and their use in the political and geographical characteristic of the Kaliningrad region

Abstract

This article focuses on the genesis of and correlation between the related concepts of enclave and exclave and the scope of their use in different sciences, fields of knowledge, and everyday speech. The author examines the circumstances of their emergence in the reference and professional literature in the Russian language. Special attention is paid to the typology of the world’s enclave territories as objects of political geography; at the same time, their new categories and divisions (international enclave, overseas exclaves, internal enclaves of different levels) are extended and introduced. The author offers a new classification of contemporary and historical enclaves and exclaves. The article identifies the specific features of the Kaliningrad region in comparison to other enclave territories. The difference between the exclavity of the Kaliningrad region in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods is emphasised. The author shows the evolution of the use of concepts of enclave and exclave for describing the fe atures of the Kaliningrad region’s positions from the perspective of the mother and surrounding states. The article introduces the concept of dividing states and stresses the need to take their interests into account to ensure the functioning of the Russian exclave. The author substantiates the thesis that the Russian region is an enclave of the European Union (but not NATO) and an exclave of the Russian Federation and a number of political and economic intergovernmental alliances with Russian participation. The article offers a generalised characteristic of the Kaliningrad region from the perspective of its enclavity / exclavity.

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