Научная статья на тему 'Ukraine: politics in the Black Sea-Caspian Region and relations with the Caucasian states'

Ukraine: politics in the Black Sea-Caspian Region and relations with the Caucasian states Текст научной статьи по специальности «Социология»

The Caucasus & Globalization
Область наук

Аннотация научной статьи по социологии, автор научной работы — Finko Anton

The author offers an overview of Ukraine's relations with the Caucasian states within the framework of its present policy in the Black Sea-Caspian Region and looks into the distant past in search of the roots of the present developments.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Ukraine: politics in the Black Sea-Caspian Region and relations with the Caucasian states»


In Lieu of


Iran’s post-Soviet geopolitical involvement in Central Eurasia was greatly limited by geographical factors and its opportunity to exert its influence on the vast region. At the same time, the range of its security interests is much wider than those born by its geographic proximity to the Central Caucasus and Central Asia. The IRI entered the 21st century still involved in a conflict with the only superpower; its continued exacerbation does not exclude the use of force. This means that Iran should take into account the specifics of the Central Eurasian spaces liberated, in the post-Soviet era, from rigid geopolitical control.

The fact that the security interests of Iran and its newly independent Central Eurasian neighbors (ethnic and territorial issues, the Caspian legal status, etc.) are intertwined stimulates Iran’s adequate regional policies. On the whole, however, in Central Eurasia, Iran’s geopolitical activity is concentrated around its efforts to prevent the U.S. and its allies from using this space as a foothold to contain Iran and undermine its domestic political stability or even to deliver strikes against it.

Unable to fill the post-Soviet geopolitical vacuum on its own, Tehran has to cooperate with Russia (which, unlike Iran, has direct geographic contacts with all the Central Eurasian regions and enjoys much greater possibilities of projecting its influence onto them). In fact, seen from Tehran, the Kremlin’s control in Central Eurasia looks like a “lesser evil” than Washington’s, which is determined to transform the Tehran regime. More than that: Russia and Iran see it as their vitally important task to squeeze the West from this vast area.

This geopolitical logic determined Iran’s post-Soviet activities in Central Eurasia, which took the form of its obvious and deliberately manifested respect for Russia’s “special interests” in the region, concentrating its activity on economic cooperation with the local newly independent states and refusal to support serious regional political initiatives which exclude Russia.


Ph.D. (Philos.), expert at the Kiev Center for Political Studies and Conflictology

(Kiev, Ukraine).






he author offers an overview of Ukraine’s relations with the Caucasian states within the framework of its pre-

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sent policy in the Black Sea-Caspian Region and looks into the distant past in search of the roots of the present developments.


I n t r o d u c t i o n

For a long time Ukraine remained part of the Russian state and had to follow its foreign policy.1 This was especially obvious in its relations with the Caucasus or, on a wider geographic scale, with the Black Sea-Caspian Region. On the one hand, the Russian (later Soviet) military-political umbrella helped promote Ukraine’s economic interests and offered wider settlement opportunities for the Ukrainians, as well as protection against external threats. On the other, the Ukrainian top crust was deprived of any forms of independence. Certain politically active groups, the national kulturtrager intelligentsia in particular, remained at all times an active or potential opponent of Russia’s colonial policies. Independence largely changed Ukraine’s political role and its contacts with the Black Sea-Caspian Region.

The above suggests the following range of problems to be treated here:

■ Ukraine’s historical ties with the peoples of the Caucasus;

■ Geopolitical and geoeconomic specifics of the Ukrainian lands within the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union which affected, among other things, the Black Sea-Caspian contexts;

■ Relations with the Caucasian states as part of President Kuchma’s “multivectoral” foreign policy;

■ The “color-induced” changes in Ukraine’s relations with the Caucasian states;

■ The response of Ukrainian society and the political community to the August 2008 events in South Ossetia.

Ukraine and the Caucasus:

The Past

Relations between Ukraine and the Caucasus are rooted in the distant past and go back to Kievan Rus, which had direct contacts with some of the Caucasian peoples: the Kosogs (Adighes) and Iases (Alans). There is information about contacts between Rus and the south Azeri dynasty of the Sajides.2 Arabian and Persian sources (Al Mas’udi, Ibn Miskawayh, Ibn Hawqal, and others) contain information about the “Ruses” who raided the Caspian coastal areas in the latter half of the 9th-early 11th centuries, probably to capture the trade routes that connected Europe and the Orient.3

The Armenian communities in Ukraine and the Crimea developed under strong Turkic influence. In 1894, a group of linguists together with prominent Ukrainian Orientalist A. Krymskiy analyzed the Armenian judicial archives of Kamenets-Podolskiy dated to the 16th-17th centuries to conclude that they were written “in a Turkic language that used the Armenian alphabet.” Today Ukrainian linguists point out that “the Armenian-Kypchak language is one of the Kypchak-Polovtsy languages of the Crimea... It is very close to the Trakai dialect of the language of Karaims, the Kuman language, the Kypchak Urum dialects, and the mountain ... dialects of the language of the Crimean Tartars.”4

1 To identify the role of Ukraine at any of the historical stages I rely on I. Wallerstein’s terms: the core, periphery, semi-periphery, and capitalist world system.

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2 See: F. Turanli, “Z istorii ta traditsiy azerbaijantsiv,” available at [www.narratif.narod.ru] (in Ukrainian).

3 See, for example, A.Ia. Garkavi, Skazaniia musulmanskikh pisatelei o slavianakh i russkikh, St. Petersburg, 1870, available at [www.vostlit.info]; “Ibn Miskaveikh o pokhode russov v Berdaa v 943-944 gg.,” available at [www.adfontes.veles.Iv].

4 A. Garkavets, “Kypchakoiazychnye armiane...” in: Kypchaksko-polskaia versiia armianskogo sudebnika i armi-ano-kypchakskiy protsessualny kodeks, Desht-i-Kypchak, Baur, Lvov, Kamenets-Podolskiy, Almaty, 2003, pp. 758, 767.


The history of relations between Ukraine as part of the Russian Empire and the Caucasus brings Ukraine’s dual political role into bolder relief. It is wrong to discuss it within the “colony-metropolitan country” dichotomy since in actual fact it was a country with a double image: as a semi-periphery, Ukraine demonstrated certain features of the imperial “core” and imperial periphery depending on the specific circumstances in which these hypostases came to the fore.

On the one hand, the Ukrainian lands were gradually deprived of their former independence, the traces of which were carefully obliterated. On the other, the Ukrainians, together with the Great Russians, were the “vanguard” of the imperial center’s military and colonizing projects.

This brings to mind Scotland as part of the British Empire and Hungary as part of the empire of the Habsburgs; however, the Ukrainians and Russians had an additional advantage, their ethnic, linguistic, and religious affinity helped to bridge the gap between the two peoples even more and create favorable conditions for assimilation. To be more exact, over a long period Ukraine remained an arena of rivalry between the idea of a Russian community encouraged by the imperial center (which looked at the Great Russians, Little Russians, and Byelorussians as sub-ethnoses) and the Ukrainian identity created and encouraged by the nationalist-minded kulturtrager intelligentsia.

Ukrainians reached the Caucasian piedmont soon after Russia annexed the Crimean Khanate: “The annexation in 1783 of the Crimean Khanate together with its part along the Kuban River moved the borders of Russia to the Kuban middle reaches. After 1792, a Russian/Little Russian (Ukrainian.—Ed.) Black Sea area appeared in the steppes where Nogais used to roam. It was a powerful imperial outpost populated by Zaporozhie Cossacks who were moved there. By the late 18th century, the Caucasian Line was more or less clearly visible as a stretch of compact Cossack settlements between Taman and the mouth of the Kuban in the west and the mouth of the Terek in the East. Armenian, Greek, and German settlers were part of the Russian ethnic colonizing element, to say nothing of a strong Little Russian core involved in colonization of the Black Sea areas and Novorossia.”5

It should be said that gradual movement to the Caucasus started when General Tekeli routed the Zaporozhie Sech in 1775, a highly symbolic event that finally lifted the burden of the traditional Ukrainian liberties from the imperial center. Some of the Cossacks moved to Turkey to form the Trans-Danubian Sech. The loyal part was later transformed into the Black Sea Army which in 1792 was dispatched to the Caucasus. Still later, united with some of the Cossacks of the Caucasian Line, they formed the Kuban Cossack army.6 Ukrainian peasants willingly came to settle along the Kuban and the Terek next to the Russian settlers (by the 1910s, the share of Cossacks in these areas was as low as 42.9 percent).7

Well-known Caucasian Viceroy and Field Marshal Prince Paskevich was not the only Ukrainian involved in Russia’s actions against Iran and Turkey. There was Field Marshal Count Gudovich who, as commander-in-chief in Georgia, captured Anapa and Gumri, founded Ust-Lab-insk, and joined Dagestan to the Russian Empire. Another Ukrainian, Lieutenant General Kotliar-evskiy (known as Suvorov of the Caucasus), took part in the march on Ganja, commanded the Russian troops in Karabakh, occupied Akhalkalaki and Lenkoran, and played an important role in the court of the last Georgian czar Georgi XII. In his “The Captive of the Caucasus” written in 1821, Pushkin wrote the following about him: “I shall celebrate our hero Kotliarevskiy, scourge of the Caucasus: wherever his thunderous presence loomed, his coming, like the black death, brought havoc and destruction to the mountain tribes. Now he has put down his avenging sword, he no longer takes pleasure in war,” which cannot but leave one dumbfounded. Indeed, was it praise or a charge of war crimes?

5 A. Tsutsiev, Atlas etnopoliticheskoi istorii Kavkaza, Evropa, Moscow, 2006, pp. 33, 34, 35.

6 See: Entsiklopediia ukrainoznavstva, Vol. 10, Lvov, 1994, pp. 3771, 3772 (in Ukrainian).

7 Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 1213.


Despite Ukraine’s active involvement in colonization of the Caucasus, during the Caucasian War the national kulturtrager intelligentsia was on the side of the resisting mountain dwellers. Taras Shevchenko, in his poem “Kavkaz” written in 1845, was one of the first to lash his caustic invectives at the empire’s aggressive policy; he extolled Imam Shamil and the rioters as “great knights” with “truth, glory, and Divine will” on their side.

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The 1926 population census registered as Ukrainian 47.1 percent of the population of the Kuban area and 32.8 percent of the Stavropol area.8 There were Ukrainian settlements in the northern valleys of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and North Ossetia.9

The period of Ukrainization of the Kuban area, when Ukrainian schools and periodicals appeared, was short, limited to the late 1920s-early 1930s. In these places, regional and social affiliations, especially among the Cossacks, were much more important than vague ideas about ethnic roots. The local Ukrainians were bi-ethnors (people with double ethnic affiliation and awareness) who easily identified themselves with the Russian ethnos; halted Ukrainization came neither as an unpleasant surprise nor as a challenge, which made assimilation easier.

Ukrainian settlement of the Transcaucasus was of a different nature and different scope: “As distinct from the Caucasian piedmont where Russian settlers came in great numbers to the sparsely-populated steppes of the nomads, in the Transcaucasus, a region with a fairly large population and long history of settlement, Russian colonization took a different form. It can best be described as dotted or dispersed: settlements of several types (villages of Russian sectarians, military settlements or settlements of retired soldiers, and small townships built by Russian settlers) were scattered across the territory occupied by the local people.”10 Such was Petropavlovka (now Sabirabad), which Ukrainian peasants built on the banks of the Kura and the Araz in Azerbaijan.11

The dual nature of the Ukrainians’ political role complemented the ambivalence Russia demonstrated during its colonization of the Black Sea-Caspian Region. According to I. Wallerstein, “Russia supplied the classical example ... of a semi-periphery, a state which combined, in the most intricate way, the features of a [capitalist] ‘core’ and a periphery. As distinct from the Asian empires, in the 18th-19th centuries Russia controlled important military potential situated in close proximity to the European ‘core’ of the world-system. This explains why Russia neither degenerated into a colonial periphery nor joined the capitalist ‘core.’ It stopped somewhere in between to become a semi-peripheral military giant with a chronically weak economic heart which frequently suffered from the blocked vessels of its bureaucratic apparatus.”12

The dual nature of Russian colonization was particularly shown in the fact that thanks to Russia (which played the role of “semi-conductor” of European influence), Western capital penetrated the oil and gas sphere in the Caspian at the turn of the 20th century (the Nobels, Rothschilds, and Royal Dutch/Shell of Henri Deterding). This is typical of semi-peripheral subjects, which served as intermediates between the core and the periphery.13

It should be said that a “chronically weak economic heart” did not prevent the Russian leaders from going far in the development of transportation, trade, and shipbuilding infrastructure in

8 Ibid., Vol. 8, pp. 2119, 3015.

9 See: A. Tsutsiev, op. cit., p. 24.

10 Ibid., p. 34.

11 See: Administration of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic. The Presidential Library. Administrative-territorial division, p. 112, available at [www.elibrary.az/docs/azerbaijan/rus/gl2.pdf].

12 I. Wallerstein, “Rossiia i kapitalisticheskaia mir-ekonomika: 1500-2010,” Svobodnaia mysl, No. 5, 1996, pp. 38, 39.

13 The “conducting” semi-peripheral role of contemporary Turkey in the Black Sea-Caspian region is highly illustrative in this respect. Turkey, writes E. Urazova, “seized the opportunities offered by the disintegration of the Soviet Union to assert itself, to secure far-reaching political and economic aims, and to help the West, in various ways, to master the post-Soviet expanse in Western and Central Eurasia. It was necessary, in particular, to facilitate access to their markets and natural riches (hydrocarbon and other mineral resources) for the Western transnational companies” (see: E.I. Urazova, Ekonomicheskoe sotrudnichestvo Turtsii i tiurkskikh gosudarstv SNG, IIBV, IV RAN, Moscow, 2003, pp. 24-25).


Novorossia, the southern lands of which abutted on the Black and Azov seas. To acquire them, the Russian Empire pushed back Turkey in the 18th and early 19th centuries and moved into what is now Ukraine’s southern lands (including the former territories of the Zaporozhie army and Novaia Serbia).

Newly founded Kherson and Nikolaev and, especially, the large Odessa port (founded in 1794 in the Haji Bay) offered traditional Ukrainian exports (wheat raised in the Podolie and Volhynia) even better conditions: “Merchant ships in increasingly greater numbers left Odessa for Turkey, Italy, France, and England . and the Middle Eastern countries. The Suez Canal offered access to India, China, and Japan. The Odessa port was developing into Russia’s southern gates to Europe and Asia. Odessa became Russia’s main grain exporting port which handled 40 percent of its grain exports. Russia became the main grain exporter in Europe.”14

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This was the time when the Ukrainian lands played the role of a semi-periphery of the Russian Empire which, in turn, was a semi-periphery of the “core" of the capitalist world-system which had been formed around the West European countries. In exchange for their lost autonomy and traditional liberties, the Ukrainians acquired access to the Caucasus and Novorossia as part of imperial colonization. They reached the Black Sea coast, which widened the framework of Ukrainian ethnic settlement, fortified defenses in the south, and created a base for Ukrainian exports.

In Soviet times, marine potential was developed further. Independent Ukraine inherited Europe’s biggest Black Sea Shipping Company (over 300 ships) from the Soviet Union. Ukraine had the most ramified system of sea ports with the Soviet Union’s largest freight turnover, as well as shipyards and a ramified pipeline system, a solid foundation for Ukraine’s active policies in the Black Sea-Caspian Region.

The country lost much of its potential in the economic crisis of the 1990s. “Professional incompetence cost the state its marine power. Ukraine’s communication backbone, which rested on the West-East-South (sea borders) geopolitical axes, lost one of its pillars. All opportunities to create Ukrainian-Black Sea and Azov trade and industrial regional complexes in the near future designed to ensure foreign economic ties and to develop the seas’ natural resources were essentially lost. Limited finances and the international disagreements with Rumania and Russia made it impossible to develop, on a large scale, the offshore energy resources any time soon.”15

Freight turnover in the commercial ports dropped from 121.4 million tons in 1990 to 53 million tons in 1996.16 During Leonid Kuchma’s second presidency (1999-2004), the situation improved together with the rest of the Ukrainian economy. In 2000, freight turnover was 84 million tons; in 2001, 89 million tons; in 2002, 106 million; in 2003, 110 million, and in 2004, 111 million tons.17

Ukraine and the Black Sea-Caspian Region:

The Kuchma Presidency

Under President Kuchma, the country maneuvered between NATO and Russia within its multi-vectoral foreign policy. This was done to diversify energy sources to decrease the country’s depend-

14 Iz istorii morskogo flota, available at [www.who-is-who.com.ua].

15 V. Dergachev, “Geoekonomicheskiy prognoz,” in: Geoekonomika (sovremennaia geopolitika), Vira-R, Kiev, 2002, available at [www.dergachev.ru/book-geoe/index.htm].

16 See: V. Stetsiuk, “1990-2005 gody: dinamika gruzooborota portov Ukrainy,” Porty Ukrainy, No. 3, 2006, available at [http://www.blackseatrans.com].

17 See: V. Ivanov, “O perspektivakh morskikh portov Ukrainy,” Porty Ukrainy, No. 3, 2006, available at [http:// www.blackseatrans.com].


ence on the Russian Federation, while preserving close economic and non-conflict political contacts with Moscow. This was especially important because the freight turnover of the Ukrainian sea ports depended on transit, mainly Russian transit. In “2007, for example, Russian transit (over 51 million tons) was nearly one third (29.2 percent) of the total turnover of the Ukrainian ports.”18 The same year, the freight turnover of the Ukrainian sea ports topped a similar index for the Russian ports on the Azov and Black seas (158 vs. 152 million tons).19

The country’s territory is crossed by 3, 5 and 9 pan-European transportation corridors (TC) as well as the TRACECA (Europe-the Caucasus-Asia) and the Black Sea-the Baltics corridors.20 Odessa, for example, belongs to transport corridors No. 9, TRACEKA, and the Black Sea-the Baltics.

Ukraine’s involvement in TRACECA was regarded as a tribute to the Western vector of the country’s multivectoral policies: it allowed the EU to shatter Russia’s control over the export routes leading to the Black Sea-Caspian Region, Central Asia, and China. In the latter half of the 1990s, the Ukrainian Ukrferry company, working together with its Bulgarian partners, commissioned the rail-way-ferry line “Varna (Bulgaria)-Ilyichevsk (Ukraine)-Poti/Batumi (Georgia).”

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The Odessa-Brody oil pipeline project (1996-2002) followed the same logic oriented toward the United States; intended to move Caspian oil to Europe as an extension to the earlier commissioned Baku-Supsa pipeline, it ran into numerous problems at the earliest stages. Since neither Kazakhstan nor Azerbaijan sent their oil to it (contrary to what Ukraine had expected), the pipeline became known in the expert community as a “diversification simulacrum.”

The project became the epicenter of uncompromising rivalry with the much larger Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) project. The fact that in November 1999 the United States, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey signed the BTC agreement meant that “Turkey won the rivalry with Russia and Ukraine over the Caspian oil route in full conformity with the U.S.’s geopolitical aims.”21

The Odessa-Brody pipeline remained idling for a long time until in 2004 it started operating in the reverse regime, very much in the multivectoral spirit, on Russian oil supplied by TNK-BP. Ostensibly concerned about the increased load on the Black Sea Straits, Turkey and the United States were obviously displeased.

At the early stages of regional cooperation in the Black Sea-Caspian Region, Ukraine attached special importance to the BSEC as a possible foothold from which it could have claimed regional leadership. It was interested in the projects designed to create a common energy fuel market and transport infrastructures, in particular the “circular highway along the Black Sea coast and a system of main oil and gas pipelines to connect Central Asia, the Transcaucasus, and the Middle East with Eu-rope.”22 Ukraine joined the Black Sea Naval BLACKSEAFOR group and Operation Black Sea Harmony.

Over time, Kiev developed skepticism about the BSEC as an efficient structure: “So far the BSEC has not implemented any large-scale projects.”23 More than that: there were enough other claimants to regional leadership, Russia and Turkey in particular.

18 K. Ilnitskiy, “Uidet li iz Ukrainy rossiiskiy tranzit?” Porty Ukrainy, No. 4, 2008, available at [http://www. blackseatrans.com].

19 See: K. Ilnitskiy, “Borba za liderstvo v Chernomorskom regione,” Porty Ukrainy, No. 8, 2008, available at [http://www.blackseatrans.com].

20 See: I. Tushkanova, “Reki gruzov,” Distributsiia i logistika, No. 3, 2007, p. 40.

21 O. Gavrish, “Turetskiy marsh ne iskliuchaet ukrainskogo gopaka,” available at [www.ngv.ru].

22 I. Maximenko, “Geopolitichni zmini v Chornomorskomu regioni ta perspektivi regionalnogo spivrobitnitstva” (Geopolitical Changes in the Black Sea Region and the Prospects of Regional Cooperation), available at [www.niss.od.ua] (in Ukrainian).

23 G. Shelest, “Iuvilei zi zmishanimi pochuttiami” (The Jubilee of Mixed Feelings), Ukraina i svit sogodni (Ukraine and the World Today), No. 28, 2007 (in Ukrainian).


This forced Ukraine to pay attention to GUAM, a project that caused serious concern in Moscow, which regarded it as a vehicle of North Atlantic ideas about the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian arc as a “stretcher” of the Black Sea-Caspian region rather than an instrument of its integration.24 At the same time, President Kuchma had his doubts about GUAM as well; as part of the multivectoral policy, it was regarded as an instrument of communication with the Euro-Atlantic world and as a counterbalance to Moscow rather than something of considerable economic and political value.

In fact, even the loyal part of the expert community had its doubts about GUAM and its Euro-Atlantic vector: they were convinced that Ukraine’s interests in the Black Sea-Caspian Region were not adequately ensured. These experts pointed out that NATO membership of Rumania and Bulgaria and Turkey’s possible integration into the European Union might push Ukraine away from the routes that connect Europe with the Caucasus and Central Asia.25

Some experts deemed it necessary to point out that at a time when Russia was obviously negative about GUAM and Turkey had moved away from it, the project needed maximum American and European support. They wrote that the prospect of a “strategic triangle” (Kiev, Warsaw, Ankara) as an instrument of stability in the Baltic-Black Sea Region, the Caucasus, and Central Europe had been shelved. Experts pointed out that “the confirmed routes of the BTC and the Transcaspian gas pipeline . crowned the political stage of the Caspian-Turkey-Europe energy bridge. Turkey has acquired objective conditions for its stronger position in the region. This means that to a certain extent Ankara can be described as a rival of Kiev when it comes to strengthening GUAM and energy transportation. The Turkish idea of a peace and stability pact in the Caucasus was not a random initiative.”26

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The most radical opponents of GUAM pointed out that the Odessa-Brody failure had been caused by a wrong assessment of the Azeri and Georgian intentions and GUAM’s overestimated role (as a “union of those displeased with Russia”): “Ukraine placed its stakes on Azerbaijan and its oil, on Georgia and its Black Sea port to handle oil, and on Poland as a transit country. This was a strategic mistake. Heydar Aliev’s and Eduard Shevardnadze’s polite smiles could not conceal the fact that they had opted for the ‘Turkish’ route. Warsaw had no role to play in the project. What the investors thought was most important. The United States was arguing in favor of the ‘Turkish’ route. Ukraine could rely on Kazakhstan, but the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine was making GUUAM a priority. So all the talk about the ‘project of the century’ and diversification of energy sources was no more than an exercise in eloquence.”27

Bilateral relations with the Caucasian countries were given fresh impetus once Ukraine had recovered from the economic depression of the 1990s. In 1995, the Ukrainian leaders paid their first official visit to Azerbaijan to discuss cooperation in the oil and gas sphere and the possibility of technical assistance in developing the Ukrainian Black Sea shelf. In March 2000, President Kuchma paid an official visit to Baku to promote the idea of extending the Baku-Supsa pipeline to Odessa-Brody. The sides signed an agreement on strategic partnership and economic cooperation in the energy sphere.28

Bit by bit the two countries increased their trade turnover: in 2004, Ukrainian export to Azerbaijan reached $222.9 million (an increase of 45.6 percent over the previous year). Azerbaijan’s imports to Ukraine in 2004 amounted to $11.7 million.29 “Products of the fuel and energy complex (kerosene

[ See: “Geopolitika zony ‘Chernomorie-Kavkaz-Kaspiy’” (I), available at [www.odnarodyna.ru].

24 i

25 See: Ia. Matiychik, “GUUAM—stan, novi aspekti i perspektivi rozvitku” (GUUAM—the State, New Aspects and Development Prospects), available at [www.niss.gov.ua/book/2004_html/012.htm] (in Ukrainian).

26 V. Korendovich, A. Pavlenko, V. Chumak, “Ukraina-GUUAM-Turtsiia,” Zerkalo nedeli, No. 5, 2001.

27 A. Goncharenko, “Mify ukrainskoi diplomatii,” Zerkalo nedeli, No. 28, 1999.

28 See: B.O. Parakhonskiy, “Regionalna politika Ukraini” (Ukraine’s Regional Policies), available at [www. niisp.gov.ua] (in Ukrainian).

29 See: S. Terekhin, “Ministerstvo ekonomiki i po delam evrointegratsii Ukrainy,” in: Mosty druzhby: Ukraina-Az-erbaijan, Vol. 2, Ukrainskiy izdatelskiy konsortsium, Kiev, 2005, p. 23.


and lubricants), polyethylene, gas turbines and fixtures, and agricultural products (hazelnuts, fruit, juices, etc.) came to Ukraine from Azerbaijan, while Ukraine sold Azerbaijan products of its machine-building (special purpose vehicles and oil tank cars), ferrous metallurgy (steel products, pipes, etc.), products of its electrotechnical industry, tires, foodstuffs ... etc.”30 The Dnepropetrovsk National University opened its branch in Baku.

The two countries, however, did not see eye to eye on many fuel and energy issues. Baku deemed it necessary to formulate its position (contrary to what Kiev wanted in the oil sphere): “Despite the fact that the Ukrainian route looked fairly attractive, Azerbaijan (represented by the State Petroleum Company) is involved in the Main Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Export Pipeline, which demands considerable financial investments. Therefore, it finds it next to impossible to contribute to the Bro-dy-Plotsk oil pipeline.”31

The Financial-Production Interpipe Group (trading in pipes), the Frunze Scientific and Research Organization in Sumy (equipment for compressor stations), the Open Joint-Stock Company Turboatom in Kharkov (turbines), the Zaporozhie Plant of High Voltage Equipment, AvtoKraz Company (lorries), the Yuzhkabel enterprise and Rossava Ltd. (tires), the Kharkov State Aviation Enterprise, Praktika Ltd. (technical protection of banks and offices and fire prevention); the Poltavakondit-er Open Joint-Stock Company and Sandora Open Joint-Stock Company (fruit juices) were operating on the Azeri market.32

In 1993, Ukraine and Georgia signed a Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance and promoted their privileged partnership in many, including military-technical, spheres. In 2004, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $158 million. Ukraine exported many products of its ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, chemical, and machine-building industries, while Georgia exported foodstuffs, ores, manganese concentrate, and chemical products to Ukraine.33

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In 2001, during President of Armenia Kocharian’s visit to Kiev, the two countries signed a Treaty on Economic Cooperation for 2001-2010. In 2004, the trade turnover between them was $78.9 million (export accounted for $70.8 million; import for $8.1 million).34 Armenia found it profitable to use the Ilyichevsk-Poti/Batumi Ukrainian-Georgian ferry line as a foreign trade outlet.

On the whole, in the period between its independence and 2004, while recovering from the economic depression of the 1990s, and realizing its foreign policy course in the Black Sea-Caspian Region and elsewhere, Ukraine, as a typical semi-peripheral country, demonstrated that it wanted to be more or less independent. Like Russia, Ukraine placed its stakes on national capitalism: its most attractive assets were privatized by Ukrainian companies (“oligarchic business;” Interpipe, the financial group mentioned above, being the most apt example), rather than by transnationals.

The Ukrainian leaders, with the European Union and NATO close to the country’s western borders, had to pattern their foreign policies accordingly. Without membership in the EU, one of the hegemons of the “core” of the world-system, anywhere in sight, they treated strategic partnership with Russia as a must. It should be said that the official multivectoral policy had a pronounced Western bias: it was announced that the country was oriented toward Western or even Euro-Atlantic values. Kiev tried to keep an equal distance in its relations with Washington, Brussels, and Moscow (the centers of global impact).

30 A. Abbasov, “Ekonomicheskie otnosheniia Azerbaijanskoi respubliki s Ukrainoi,” in: Mosty druzhby: Ukraina-Azerbaijan, Vol. 2, p. 23.

31 Ibid., p. 16.

32 See: Mosty druzhby: Ukraina-Azerbaijan, Vol. 1, Ukrainskiy izdatelskiy konsortsium, Kiev, 2004; Mosty druzh-by: Ukraina-Azerbaijan, Vol. 2.

33 See: G.V. Shelest, “Ukrainsko-gruzinski vidnosini—faktor stabilnosti v Chornomorskomu baseini,” Strategichni prioriteti, No. 2, 2007, p. 53 (“Ukrainian-Georgian Relations as a Stability Factor in the Black Sea Basin,” Strategic Priorities) (in Ukrainian).

34 [www.mfa.gov.ua/armenia/ua/3593.htm].


Its leeway proved to be fairly limited; this was especially obvious in the case of the Western vector in general and the Caspian-Black Sea energy Big Game in particular. By the time it gained its independence, Ukraine had already lost the status of a main gas supplier, while its deep-sea oil reserves were hard to develop. As a transit country and a consumer of energy resources, Ukraine failed to squeeze into the Western transportation project with its Odessa-Brody oil pipeline. The Euro-Atlantic forces, however, pushed the Ukrainian route off the list of political and economic priorities.


in the Black Sea-Caspian Region:

The Orange Period

The “color” coup that brought Victor Yushchenko and his team to power early in 2005 buried the “Byzantine” multivectoral maneuvering. Ukraine turned to the Washington-instigated “democracy promotion” strategy in the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian Region. The new leaders formulated their ambitious ideas: NATO membership in 2008; squeezing Russia out of the region with American help; involvement in settling the frozen conflicts in the Caucasus; and gaining access to the Caspian energy resources.35

In April 2005, Jumhuriet of Turkey offered the following opinion: “The U.S. is clearly seeking an effective instrument in the Black Sea area, the center of a rectangular formed by the Caucasus, the Balkans, Russia, and Turkey, to be used to control Eurasia. This explains why the West attached great importance to the regime change in Ukraine and Georgia.”36

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In December 2005, Victor Yushchenko and Mikhail Saakashvili initiated the Community of Democratic Choice to tie the Baltic and the Caucasian-Black Sea expanse with Euro-Atlantic ideas. It brought together Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Rumania, and Slovenia. Several other countries also attended the constituent ceremony, but did not sign the declaration.37 The relations between GUAM and NATO, the EU and BSEC were pushed in the same direction.38

Politically, this course hinged on the special relations between Ukraine and Georgia as two “democratic vehicles” and on the presidents’ personal friendship. Those experts who voiced the official position deemed it necessary to point out that “for various ... reasons Ukraine cannot yet play the role of a regional leader on its own. It needs external support; today, the Ukraine-Georgia tandem looks like the best instrument.”39

In 2005, the trade turnover between the two countries was $240 million; in 2006, it reached $384 million; in 2007, $669 million; and in 2008, 791.8 million. In 2008, Ukraine exported $657 million-worth of products to Georgia and imported $114 million-worth from Georgia.40 The two coun-

35 See: Ukraina: strategichni prioriteti. Otsinki (Ukraine: Strategic Priorities. Assessments), NISD (National Institute of Strategic Studies), Kiev, 2006, pp. 516-517.

36 Quoted from: D.E. Eremeev, Turtsiia na rubezhe XX i XXI vekov, Gumanitariy, Moscow, 2007, p. 103.

37 See: L. Rassokha, “Balto-Chornomorske partnerstvo: perspektivi e,” Ukraina i svit sogodni, No. 9, 2006 (“The Baltic-Black Sea Partnership: There are Prospects,” Ukraine and the World Today) (in Ukrainian).

38 See: T.S. Starodub, O.I. Danilchuk, “Pitannia spivrobitnitstva ODER-GUAM z OChES, ES, NATO u formuvan-ni sistemi bezpeki u Chornomorsko-Kaspiyskomu regioni,” Strategichna panorama, No. 1, 2009, pp. 91-100 (“Problems of Cooperation of ODER-GUAM with BSEC, EU, NATO in Forming a Security System in the Black Sea-Caspian Region,” Strategic Panorama) (in Ukrainian).

39 G.V. Shelest, “Ukrainsko-gruzinski vidnosini—faktor stabilnosti v Chornomorskomu baseini,” p. 52.

40 See: Ibid., p. 53 (see also: [http://www.mfa.gov.ua/georgia/ua/12150.htm]).


tries pinned special hopes on the new Kerch-Poti ferry in the hope that Armenia would actively use it for its exports and imports. As part of military-technical cooperation, Ukraine delivered high-precision weapons, radar stations, small arms, T-72 tanks, aircrafts, and Buk and Osa surface-to-air missile systems to Georgia. In 2007 alone, Ukraine supplied 99 tanks, armored fighting vehicles, guns and mountings, aircrafts, and 10 thousand units of small arms.41

The Ukrainian leaders and part of the expert community close to them hoped that with time the Russian peacekeepers in Georgia would be replaced with GUAM (mainly Ukrainian) peacekeepers in full accordance with the decisions of the June 2007 GUAM Summit held in Baku. At the same time, Kiev admitted that it could not be engaged in peacekeeping outside the UN mandate, while Russia would use its right to veto to block the initiative in the UN Security Council.42

Cooperation with Georgia was based on the Community of Democratic Choice, while in its dealings with Baku the new Ukrainian leaders tried to revive the dialog about Caspian oil at international energy summits. In 2007, such summits were held in Vilnius and Cracow; in 2008, in Kiev and Baku.43 The maneuvers can be described as partly successful because Azerbaijan seemed more interested in the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.

The Privat Financial and Industrial Group, one of Ukraine’s largest (it controlled the Galichina and Neftekhimik Prikarpatia refineries and, therefore, needed Caspian oil), succeeded in lobbying its Caspian-related interests.

President Yushchenko issued a decree that banned the use of Russian oil in the Odessa-Brody pipeline; the Cabinet’s supporters hinted that this could only be done when Caspian oil arrived in adequate quantities.

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Trade between Ukraine and Azerbaijan was given a fresh boost: in 2008, trade turnover increased by 49 percent against the previous year to reach $1 billion (Ukraine’s positive balance being $835 million).44 Some of the leaders of Ukrainian metallurgy, machine-building, and the food industry showed a lively interest in the Azeri market. The following Ukrainian companies were represented in Azerbaijan: Ukrprominvest (Bogdan buses), AvtoKRAZ, Roshen, AVK, Sandora, and Veres (foodstuffs). Cooperation in the military-technical sphere proved just as impressive: in 2006, Azerbaijan bought “50 tanks, armored fighting vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, and fighting aircrafts from Ukraine; in 2007, the figure was 103.”45

Cooperation with Armenia was less intensive: in 2005, trade turnover was $110 million; in 2006, $158 million; in 2007, $262 million; and in 2008, $304 million. In 2008, Ukraine’s positive balance was $241 million. Ukraine exported mainly metallurgical products and foodstuffs (wheat, maize, sunflower oil, flour, margarine, chocolate, milk and cream) to Armenia.46

In fact, the “color” leaders of Ukraine tried to capitalize on the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian activities to gain their country a stronger position in its dialog with the European Commission as part of “new Europe,” a transit country of energy resources, and a partner in the Caucasian settlement. The Ukrainian authorities expected Brussels to take notice of Ukraine as part of its efforts to “defrost” the Caucasian conflicts. It was generally believed that Ukraine’s interests in the Black Sea-Caspian Region were basically identical to those of the European Union. In February 2008, Javier Solana admitted to Saakashvili that the EU might send its peacekeepers to Abkhazia and South

See: D. Popovich, “Oruzheinoe delo,” Kommersant-Ukraina, No. 132, 2009.

41 <

42 See: G.V. Shelest, “Perspektivi zaluchennia Ukraini do vreguliuvannia konfliktiv na Kavkazi” (The Prospects of Ukraine’s Involvement in Conflict Settlement in the Caucasus), Strategichni prioriteti, No. 1, 2008, p. 181 (in Ukrainian).

43 For more detail, see: D.I. Kiriukhin, “Energeticheskaia politika Ukrainy: ekonomika na sluzhbe geopolitiki,” available at [www.analitik.org.ua].

44 [http://www.mfa.gov.ua/mfa/en/publication/content/29355.htm].

45 D. Popovich, op. cit.

46 [www.mfa.gov.ua/armenia].


Ossetia. In Ukraine, experts close to the official circles described this as “a unique chance for Ukraine.”47

Integration in the energy sphere received its share of Kiev’s attention: “When Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia joined the EU in 2004, and Bulgaria and Rumania in 2007, the EU-formulated strategic assignment of creating a Baltic-Black Sea energy security belt reached its final stage. Ukraine played the key role in the process. The country’s future EU membership explains why its gas pipelines were joined to the EU infrastructure; Ukraine thus became a transit element of European energy securi-ty.”48 This ideology dominated the Brussels Declaration Ukraine and the European Commission signed in March 2009, which highly displeased Moscow.

Very soon, however, the “New European” single-vectoral course aimed at Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian integration ran into serious problems. In fact, the most far-sighted members of the expert community warned at the early stages of the “color” U-turn: “.Ukraine’s excessive dependence on one axis only . might distort its regional and even global policies and contradict its Euro-integration intentions. In the short-term perspective Ukraine’s identification with the ‘sanitary cordon’ the U.S. is busy erecting against Russia and, by extension, against the Paris-Berlin-Moscow-Beijing axis might damage our state’s energy security and push it to the margins of the main continental processes.”49

The fact that GUAM structuralized itself (it acquired its Secretariat, etc.) cannot disprove what Thomas de Vaal said about this in 2005: “A mirage.”50 The same fully applies to the Community of Democratic Choice; the absent economic aspect was both structures’ obvious fault.

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Back in 2005, experts voiced their doubts about Ukraine’s privileged partnership with Georgia which, they believed, was patterned to suit Tbilisi’s political plans rather than Kiev’s economic interests. As distinct from Russian financial-industrial groups, similar Ukrainian structures were effectively kept away from privatization of Georgia’s key assets. They pointed at Chiaturmarganets, Tkibulugol, and the Vartsikhe Hydropower Station as examples that went to Russia’s Evraz rather than to Ukraine’s Interpipe.51

On the whole, Ukrainian experts believe that today Ukraine has no effective instruments to promote its interests in the Caucasus; this makes it a potential hostage of third countries; indeed, write they, none of the new power transportation routes (BTC, BTE, or even Baku-Supsa) offered Ukraine diversification chances. Possible peacekeeping activities will hardly bring dividends. V. Kulik, for example, has written: “While in Transnistria Ukraine can be an effective mediator and as such can offer non-conflict models (and compromises), in the Southern Caucasus Kiev will find itself in the alien role of an ‘enemy and tamer of Abkhazian and Ossetian separatism.’”52

Pessimists have concluded that “so far Ukraine has failed to realize hardly any of its initiatives in the Southern Caucasus.”53 It was generally believed that in the Black Sea-Caspian Region, Ukraine

47 G. Shelest, “Chernomorska sinergiia,” Zovnishni spravi, No. 9, 2008 (“The Black Sea Synergy,” Foreign Relations, in Ukrainian).

48 T.S. Starodub, O.I. Danilchuk, op. cit., p. 99.

49 E. Sharov, “Balto-Kaspiysko-Chornomorski region: problemi realizatsii natsionalnikh interesiv Ukraini” (The Baltic-Caspian-Black Sea Region: Problems of Realization of Ukraine’s National Interests), in: Ukraina: strategichni pri-oriteti. Otsinki, pp. 520-521 (in Ukrainian).

50 Gosudarstvennost i bezopasnost: Gruziia posle “revolutsii roz,” ed. by B. Coppieters, R. Legvold, Interdialekt+, Moscow, 2005, p. 392.

51 See: V. Kravchenko, “Ukraina-Gruziia: budushchee, polnoe neopredelennosti,” Zerkalo nedeli, No. 11, 2005.

52 V. Kulik, “Konfliktogenny potentsial Yuzhnogo Kavkaza kak sistemny vyzov natsionalnoi bezopasnosti Ukrainy,” available at [www.eurasianhome.org].

53 O.O. Kotelianets, “Pozitsii krain Chornomorsko-Kaspiiskogo prostoru shchodo viznachennia mistsia Pivdennogo Kavkazu u formuvanni regionalnoi sistemi bezpeki” (Positions of the Countries of the Black Sea-Caspian Expanse on Identifying the Place of the Southern Caucasus in Setting up a Regional Security System), Strategichna panorama, No. 2, 2009, p. 70 (in Ukrainian).


was guided by idealistic aims to the detriment of such purely realistic tasks as building up a large Black Sea commercial fleet.

Turkey, one of the key players in energy transit and the military-political games in the Black Sea-Caspian Region, remained devoted to its well-balanced position; it showed no intention of joining forces with Kiev and was not alien to concentrating energy transit routes on its territory. Ankara demonstrated its complete indifference to the Community of Democratic Choice54; it remained distanced from GUAM and agreed to accept the Russian Blue Stream gas pipeline on its territory. Turkey reached a preliminary agreement with Moscow on the South Stream gas pipeline laid in its territorial waters, thus making unnecessary any talks about the project with Ukraine. Moscow, in turn, offered Turkey the role of the main transit country for Russian gas, which now belongs to Ukraine.

The August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia in South Ossetia widened the gap in Ukrainian society, which disagreed over Kiev’s foreign policy in general and in the Black Sea-Caspian Region in particular. The public opinion poll conducted by the Segodnia newspaper and the Research & Branding Group on 14-18 August, 2008 registered a split; a slightly greater share of the polled sided with Russia and South Ossetia: 43 percent described Georgia as the aggressor against 33 percent who accused Russia. Fourteen percent of the respondents demanded that Ukraine support Georgia; 14 percent believed that Ukraine should be on Russia’s side; 67 percent advised neutrality. In agrarian western Ukraine (Victor Yushchenko’s base), 13 percent believed that Georgia had started the war; 68 percent saw Russia in this role; in the agrarian center (the base of Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko), 31 percent described Georgia as the aggressor state; 42 percent, Russia. In the industrial southeast (the base of the opposition Party of the Regions and its leader Victor Yanukovich), 62 percent blamed Georgia; 14 percent, Russia.55

President Yushchenko sided with Mikhail Saakashvili: he visited Tbilisi and even tried to achieve unilateral regulation of the continued presence of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol by putting pressure on its commanders. Yulia Timoshenko preferred to remain neutral, while leader of the opposition Party of the Regions Yanukovich, after a long pause, suggested that Ukraine should recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Communist Party of Ukraine condemned the presidents of Ukraine and Georgia. Later everything that Russia said about Ukrainian arms supplies to Georgia and the Ukrainian military’s involvement in the war was used in domestic political squabbles. The war dimmed the prospect of Ukraine’s NATO membership.

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■ In 2009, the country had several grave headaches: first, the new course that identified Ukraine’s interests with those of “new Europe” radically worsened its relations with Russia and did nothing to bring it closer to EU membership. The Brussels Declaration did not mean closer relations with the EU leaders; in fact, they gradually moved further away.

The year 2009, however, marked progress in the talks on a free trade zone and on association and a visa-free regime with the EU countries. The European Neighborhood Policy and Eastern Partnership Program with very limited budgets (of which Ukraine is member together with the Caucasian countries and Belarus) cannot be described as a palliative of European integration.

■ Second, it became much more obvious that the Western and Russian players alike wanted to bypass Ukraine as a transit country. The Western Nabucco, the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, and Russia’s South Stream and North Stream will bring Ukraine nothing; it will have to pay

54 See: M.O. Vorotniuk, “Stavlennia Turechchiini do SDV,” in: Spilnota demokratichnogo viboru: suchasniy stan ta perspektivi rozvitku (“Turkey’s Position on the CDS,” in: The Community of Democratic Choice: Contemporary State and Development Prospects), Regionalniy filial NISD, Odessa, 2006, pp. 14-17 ) (in Ukrainian).

55 See: Proekt “Otsenka sobytiy v Yuzhnoi Osetii, avgust 2008," available at [http://www.segodnya.ua/files/articles/ 120570/65/table2.doc].


more for its gas if Nabucco is realized. These projects will leave Ukraine, with its one of the world’s largest gas transportation systems, in the cold.

Transportation corridors, likewise, might bypass Ukraine: Russia has concentrated on the St. Petersburg-Moscow-Voronezh-Rostov-on-Don-Novorossiisk route, while the EU is developing the Bulgarian Black Sea ports, and Constanta of Rumania, which deprives the Odessa group of ports of their share of business.56 This means that Ukraine’s transportation interests have nothing in common with either Russia or the West.

S. Tolstov has written on this score that Ukraine became a hostage of the EU neighborhood policy: the European Union is limiting its future expansion to the Balkans while treating Ukraine as an external, marginal, belt of its influence and security.57 Brussels is obviously interested in the Caucasian countries (which also belong to the influence and security belt) as sources of fuel and transit countries and seems indifferent to Ukraine’s transit interests. This is further exacerbated by Russia’s desire to lay transit routes alternative to the Ukrainian.

Despite the clashing energy transportation interests, Ukraine, together with Turkey, found itself among the countries the European Union has “offended.” The Ukrainian expert community has split over the Turkish Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform: there are cautious supporters58 and determined opponents.

In an effort to remedy the situation Prime Minister Timoshenko put her White Stream project on the table for moving gas from the Azeri Shah Deniz field across Georgia. Its underwater stretch was expected to join the Ukrainian transportation system in Feodosia (the Crimea). It aroused no enthusiasm in Azerbaijan; some analysts believed that Ankara would be dead set against it since it would allow Georgia to move further away from Turkey. Iran showed an interest in the Armenia-Georgia-Ukraine gas transit route59 even if irritated by Ukraine’s active involvement in this type of projects. Tehran is contemplating several possible routes, including those across Turkey.60

In fact, Ukraine cannot be completely excluded from energy transportation projects; the situation in this sphere might change, which will push the Odessa-Brody pipeline to the fore. Ukraine still can defend its interests; development of Ukraine’s offshore hydrocarbons might strengthen its position.

On the whole, however, in the sphere of oil and gas transportation routes and transport corridors, there is an obvious effort to push Ukraine to the margins of the capitalist world-system and depriving it of its subjectivity. As part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, Ukraine realized its interests in the Black Sea-Caspian Region (colonization of South Ukraine/Novorossia, settlement in the Caucasian piedmont, foodstuff exports via Odessa, and development of the transportation system) within the Russian military-political and geoeconomic paradigm. Its traditional duality, however, played a mean trick on independent Ukraine: it looked much too pro-Western from Moscow and much too pro-Russian from the West. The attempt of the “color team” to perform a U-turn toward the Euro-Atlantic vector seriously undermined the country’s foreign policy position. In view of the upcoming presidential election and the end of the “color stage,” Ukraine has to readjust its foreign policy in the Black Sea-Caspian Region, among other things.

56 See: V. Dergachev, “Yuzhny geopoliticheskiy vektor vneshnei politiki,” in: Geoekonomika (sovremennaia geo-politika), Vira-R, Kiev, 2002, available at [www.dergachev.ru/book-geoe/index.htm].

57 See: S. Tolstov, “Ukraina, Rossiia, ES: tendentsii, problemy i perspektivy vzaimodeistviia,” in: Ukraina ta Rosi-ia v politichnomu prostori edinoi Evropi (Ukraine and Russia in the Political Expanse of United Europe), Foliant, NIP-MB, Kiev, 2007, p. 101 (in Ukrainian).

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58 See: O. Chabala, “Khto zbudue spilniy Kavkazskiy dim,” Zovnishni spravi, No. 4, 2009 (“Who Will Build the Common Caucasian Home,” Foreign Relations), available at [www.uaforeignaffairs.com/article.html?id=379] (in Ukrainian).

59 See: Iuzhny Kavkaz: tendentsii i problemy razvitiia (1992-2008), Krasnaia zvezda, Moscow, 2008, p. 119.

60 See: G.I. Starchenkov, “Truboprovodny transport Turtsii vstupaet v novy etap,” in: Sovremennaia Turtsiia: problemy i resheniia, IBN, IV RAN, Moscow, 2006, p. 173.


C o n c l u s i o n

Relations with the Caucasus and the Black Sea-Caspian Region as a whole can be regarded as an element of Ukraine’s highly complicated relations with Russia. Their history abounds in confirmation of the Ukrainians’ dual political role. In the Russian Empire, their lands were a “dual semi-periphery,” that is, a dependent periphery and an imperial “core,” while Russia, in turn (according to Wallerstein), was a semi-periphery of the “world-system.”

The lost remnants of political independence and national character were exchanged for the opening of so-called Novorossia (and the Caucasian piedmont as its part) once Turkey was driven away and the Crimea joined to Russia. This also ended nomad inroads and extended export possibilities for traditional Ukrainian products across the Black Sea. Under Soviet power, Ukraine developed its industrial and marine potential.

After it acquired its independence and gradually recovered from the prolonged crisis of the 1990s, Ukraine, under President Kuchma, developed its relations with the Caucasian countries as part of its mul-tivectoral policy of balancing between the U.S., Russia, and the European Union in an attempt, which was not too successful, to use Caspian hydrocarbons to diversify its energy sources. On the whole, at that time Ukraine demonstrated the independence and subjectivity typical of semi-peripheral countries.

In the “color period,” the attempts to push Ukraine to the periphery of the capitalist “world-sys-tem” became more pronounced, especially when dealing with energy transit in the Black Sea-Caspian Region. The events in South Ossetia demonstrated a lack of unity in the political community and the public. Ukraine could still defend its foreign policy interests, while the split over the Russian-Geor-gian conflict in South Ossetia was bridged by the fact that the nation’s majority (irrespective of their convictions) wanted the country to stay away from the squabble. This shows that neutrality is probably the best possible option for the country.

Teimuraz BERIDZE

D.Sc. (Econ.), professor at the International Black Sea University,

advisor to General-Director of the JSC “International Bank of Azerbaijan-Georgia” (Tbilisi, Georgia).



This article analyzes the objective and subjective factors to reveal the logic of the development of the events in August 2008 (the Russian-Georgian war). It

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studies the political and economic results of the conflict and suggests possible short-term and long-term ways to resolve the rather difficult situation that has developed.