Gudev Pavel
Freedom of Navigation in the Baltic (Risks and Challenges for the Russian Federation)
Publication Type:


DOI 10.31857/S0201708323070082

The Baltic Sea is an extremely important maritime region for Russia from the point of view of the realisation of interests in the field of maritime transportation. The Baltic Fleet bases are also located there. Civil vessels and warships of the Russian Federation enjoy here the relevant rights granted to them under international maritime law, and above all, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The paper shows how some Baltic countries interpret its norms and provisions quite broadly in favor of their national interests in the field of national security. Special concerns, on their part, are raised with regard to various types of naval activities within their exclusive economic zones, where freedom of navigation must be respected. This right is now valid in the waters of the Viro Strait, as part of the Gulf of Finland. Recent statements by some countries about the need to tighten the shipping regime cannot lead to its closure. The study focuses on the legal status of the Baltic Straits. The analysis shows that the order of passage through them may differ fundamentally in peacetime and during international armed conflict. The article highlights the position of non-regional countries, primarily the United States, on freedom of navigation in the Baltic. The research reveals that this position does not always contradict Russia's interests, even in the conditions of the existing confrontation.


Keywords: freedom of navigation | innocent passage | transit passage | law of the Sea | humanitarian law | international armed conflicts | naval activities | Baltic Sea | Gulf of Finland | Baltic Straits |



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