Azov and Black Sea Region: New Political and Legal Realities (Part II)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-11-87-98

P. Gudev (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 


The Black Sea is a unique maritime region of great strategic importance not only for regional states, but also for non-regional players – especially for the NATO countries. For the Russian Federation it is the maritime area of its Black Sea Fleet location, the exit of which into the Mediterranean Sea and further to the Atlantic Ocean lies through the Black Sea straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. For NATO members which are constantly strengthening their naval presence here, it is not only a region of interaction with allies (Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey), but also a region for direct access to potential partners – Georgia and Ukraine, as well as a place for naval exercises, gathering intelligence information, and, in general, – the area of direct contact with Russia’s naval potential under conditions of a new Cold War. This existing level of conflict in the region is aggravated by a number of other circumstances. Firstly, these are unresolved issues with the delimitation of maritime spaces: between Russia and Ukraine, the problem of which has only intensified after the entry of Crimea into the Russian Federation; between Russia and other Black Sea countries (Romania, Turkey, Abkhazia), also emerged after the Crimea’s accession. Secondly, this is the non-recognition of Russian zones of sovereignty and jurisdiction around the peninsula on the part of Kiev, and the filing of relevant lawsuits in international courts and arbitrations, which is hypothetically fraught with a growth of provocations in the waters adjacent to Crimea. Thirdly, this is a gradual aspiration of Turkey to strengthen the national level of regulation for navigation through the straits – the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. Finally, unrealized projects of the NATO’s Black Sea flotilla only exacerbate the tension here. Whether Russia will fully ensure the protection of its national interests in the Black Sea region, will determine its status of the largest and the most powerful Black Sea state. 


Crimea, Black Sea, Black Sea straits, Montreux Convention, 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, delimitation of maritime spaces, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, International Arbitration 


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For citation:
Gudev P. Azov and Black Sea Region: New Political and Legal Realities (Part II). Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2018, vol. 62, No 11, pp. 87-98.

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