The Baltic Region

2019 Vol. 11 № 3

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

DOI
10.5922/2079-8555-2019-3-1
Pages
4-24

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.