The Baltic Region

2019 Vol. 11 №3

The ‘сool war’ in the Baltic Sea Region: consequences and future scenarios..

Abstract

The relevance of this topic is determined by the Baltic region playing a special role in the current confrontation between Russia and the West, which is most accurately defined by the term ‘cool war’. Russia borders on the EU and NATO in that region. In this study, I aim to demonstrate the impact of the ‘cool war’ on international relations in the region and explain why the preservation of the status quo is the most likely scenario. I conclude that, in recent years, a certain regrouping has occurred in the region: there has been a stepping-up on the activities of the US and NATO, whereas the influence of EU institutions has decreased. A deep rift has developed between Russia and all other states in the region. There are five possible mid-term scenarios, ranging from outright confrontation to effective cooperation: an armed conflict, a dramatic aggravation of the current tensions without an armed conflict, the continuation of the ‘cool war’, the normalisation of relations, and a transition to large-scale cooperation. I argue that the ‘cool war’ scenario is the most likely, and the other four belong to the realm of the politically possible. Although the improvement of relations with the other states in the region is not very probable, Russia will benefit from taking every possible step towards it.

Download an article

Economic and geopolitical aspects of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

Abstract

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project (NS 2) along the bottom of the Baltic Sea is aimed to increase gas supply from Russia to Germany and other EU countries. It serves mutual economic interests: the predicted growth in gas demand in the EU markets and the need to strengthen the energy security of the EU. The implementation of the NS 2 project is complicated by the need to allow for the EU energy legislation and by the expanding influence of geopolitical factors on EU – Russia cooperation, including those stemming from the aggressive US energy diplomacy seeking to prevent the project from being successful and thus promoting the geopolitical interests of Washington. In this work, we aim to study the economic and geopolitical stances taken by the project’s supporters and opponents and to evaluate the prospects of NS 2. To this end, we carry out a factor analysis and employ the methods of economic, statistical and geopolitical analysis.We conclude that the project is high on the agenda of both EU-Russia economic relations and world politics. The project has good prospects despite counteraction from its geopolitical opponents. This is explained by it having a decided economic edge over alternative options for the EU. The launch of NS 2 may contribute both to providing the energy security of the EU and to easing the military tensions between NATO and Russia in the Baltic region. The need to ensure the reliable operation of gas supply infrastructure makes any military conflict in the region impossible.

Download an article