THE GEORGIAN-RUSSIAN CONFLICT, ENERGY PROJECTS, AND SECURITY OF THE BLACK SEA-CASPIAN REGION

Anna SHELEST


Anna Shelest, Leading research associate, regional branch of the National Institute of Strategic Studies (Odessa, Ukraine)


The Russian-Georgian conflict of August 2008 should be regarded as part of the general geopolitical and geoenergy situation in the Caspian-Black Sea region, its causes and consequences being extremely important for many actors. Rooted in the past, it is closely connected with what was going elsewhere, Kosovos independence proclaimed in February 2008 in particular.

I have written this article to offer my analysis of the 2008 events, reveal their impact on the energy situation and security in the Black Sea-Caspian region, and provide recommendations on how to diminish their negative impact on Ukraine.

I intend to discuss the causes that led to the crisis and its consequences.

I shall pay special attention to the positions of third sides and forecast possible developments.

The subject remains topical because the events of August 2008 directly affected the security of the Black Sea countries, their energy cooperation, and their relations with the European Union.

What happened in the summer of 2008 has become the subject of an academic discussion about the frozen conflicts in the Black Sea region which involves academics from post-Soviet states, Europe, and America.

Some of them are more interested in the causes and consequences; others in the roles of the third players in the region; while still others concentrate on individual aspects (ethnic, historical, military, political, etc.).

This subject remains inadequately studied, its discussion being limited to scattered comments and media reports even though the developments in any of the GUAM countries are directly related to Ukraines security.

The Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development , the International Crisis Group, the Center for Civil Society Studies, the South Caucasian Institute of Regional Security, and others have already produced well-founded analyses of their own.

The writings of those who look into the problem as part of the wider regional context of energy security inevitably affected by the conflicts in Georgia, Moldova, and AzerbaijanS. Cornell, N. Kassenova, and T. Marketosdeserve special attention.

Many in the expert community are convinced that the Russian-Georgian war and the 2009 gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine are interconnected as parts of Russias larger plan to destabilize the region. Russia is determined to prevent NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, mar their image in the world, and promote energy transportation routes bypassing the two countries.

The impact of the Russian-Georgian confrontation on the energy-related Black Sea context has two dimensions: transportation of Caspian energy resources across Georgia (the Odessa-Brody-Płock oil pipeline and the White Stream gas pipeline) and its influence on the Russian projects (the North Stream gas pipeline, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, etc.).

The Russian Federation is deliberately misinforming the world about the Nabucco project in an effort to promote its pet South Stream project. In November 2008, Russian Ambassador to..


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