Geopolitical Developments in the Eastern Area in the Proximity of Romania

Author:Florinel Iftode

We will debate some aspects related to the geopolitical equation of space in Romania's proximity where we have bigger actors (Russia), smaller actors (Republic of Moldova), as well as actors without international legitimacy (Transnistrian Republic). The geopolitical issue includes the analysis of the intersections between the Russian border and the Euro-Atlantic area, on the border line... (see full summary)

International Relations in the Contemporary World. Geopolitics and Diplomacy
Geopolitical Evolutions in the Eastern
Space in Romania's Proximity
Florin Iftode1
Abstract: We will debate some aspects related to the geopolitical equation of space in Romania's proximity
where we have bigger actors (Russia), smaller actors (Republic of Moldova), as well as actors without
international legitimacy (Transnistrian Republic). The geopolitical issue includ es the analysis of the
intersections between the Russian border and the Euro-Atlantic area, on the border line represented by th e
Republic of Moldova. The effect of the geopolitical tensions on the internal dynamics of R. o f Moldova's
policy, exclusively the dependence on the Nistru crisis and the geopolitical and security blockage, is
represented by the “frozen conflict” in Transnistria. We will show with arguments why the states in the
Black Sea - Caucasus - Central Asia region have a double hypostasis: seen from Brussels, they are part of
the eastern neighborhood of the EU, but seen from the Kremlin, they are part of th e “close neighborhood”
of Russia. Therefore, each of these states resembles the pieces on the chessboard waiting to be moved. In
conclusion, the problems that th e area raises are countless - interethnic conflicts, a mosaic of religions,
frozen conflicts, instability, the presence of non-democratic institutions, collapse of states, economic
backwardness, authoritarian regimes. Of the above list, no feature has positive features, which is an alarm
Keywords: geopolitics; the proximity of Romania; Transnistrian Republic; frozen conflict
1. Introduction
The lack of natural boundaries has fueled a national obsession in Russia about the need to control
territories as a cover against invasions. Historian G. Patrick March said that the vulnerability of the
Russian territory gave rise to a “higher tolerance for tyranny” (March, 1996, p. 73). We believe that this
finding could help to understand some of President Putin's tough political decisions.
The western media loves to hate him, because he does not fit the templates - a sort of liberal leader who
receives cheering in chic conferences. What the media should see in Putin is not really the totalitarian
authoritarian, but only a Russian, ordinary semi-dictator whose cynical neo-imperialism is the result of
deep, very deep geographic insecurity.
Putin wants a dominant influence in the Baltic states. He wants state buffers in Eastern Europe. He does
not accept the collapse of the Warsaw Treaty. He knows he cannot reconstruct that treaty, he knows he
1 Associate Professor, PhD, Danubius University of Galati, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, Romania.
Address: 3 Galati Blvd, Galati, Romania, Tel.: +40372 361 102, Fax: +40372 361 290, Corresponding author:
European Integration - Realities and Perspectives. Proceedings 2017
cannot take back the Baltic states because they are NATO members. But he will try. He will continue
to press in various ways, through gas pipelines, organized crime, cyber attacks etc.
The same situation explains his need for buffer states in Belarus and Ukraine. For the same reasons, he
invaded Georgia in 2008; he exerts a significant influence in Central Asia, even if he does not have the
military capacity to reconstruct the Russian empire there. Putin thinks as a traditional Russian leader,
because Russia is open to invasions almost on all sides. Russia is a great land -based power without
natural barriers, and terrestrial powers are particularly vulnerable and insecure. They lack the security
of ocean-protected marine powers.
It is very likely that Russia will not succeed in overcoming all the “holes” in its frontier protection
system. It will have to consider priorities to preserve its right to state life. And the first is Ukraine.
Ukraine occupies the most productive part of the Russian cereal area - the southernmost area, where it
rains regularly. As the Russian capital and labor shortages accumulate, maintaining control over high
productivity and low-spending land will gain increasing importance. Together with the Republic of
Moldova, Ukraine controls the Bessarabian pass (low area between the Black Sea and the Carpathians).
By controlling this passage, Russia will limit Turkey's ability to threaten the Russian central territories.
Ukraine holds the largest population of ethnic Russians outside the Russian Federation. Their numerical
inclusion in the Russian system would improve and postpone the demographic twilight for a few years.
The industrial base of Eastern Ukraine is located in the immediate vicinity of Russia. Combining them
would help all parts of the Russian economy take some time. Ukrainian infrastructure transports almost
half of Russian oil and gas to Europe, so Ukraine is a special economic value. The only truly navigable
river in the former Soviet Union is the Dnieper, flows to the south, and allows Ukraine to integrate
economically with the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea and the rest of the world. Crimean Peninsula controls
the mouths of the Dnieper and is the seat of the only Russian naval base that do not freeze - Sevastopol.
As long as Crimea and Sevastopol are in the hands of Russia, Ukraine cannot reach a real economic
development, and foreign naval powers - the most important, Turkey - cannot dominate the Black Sea.
Russia's efforts to re-anchorage began in the Crimea in 2014. But they will not stop there. Under any
circumstances, a completely independent Ukraine would be a challenge for Russia.1
2. Frozen Conflict in Transnistria
The cold war covered the planet more completely than the other wars of the XXth century. The specifics
of the period 1945 and 1990 were given by tensions between two superpowers recognized as
protagonists of the Cold War: the US and the Soviet Union. The end of the Cold War “is marked by the
collapse of the Berlin Wall (1991). Although for the historians marks the end of a short XXth century
begun in 1914, the end of the Cold War does not also mean the disappearance of the privileged relations
between the US and the USSR, then Russia: the fallout situation and the nuclear arsenal of Russia and
Ukraine make them a partner to be spared. American diplomacy, on the other hand, sees itself widowed
by its Cold War ideology. Some, like Senator Paul Tsongas, even state, in the context of the economic
crisis and the debate about the American decline that “the Cold War ended with the victory of Japan”.
This strange end, unique in history, has the gift of provoking debates; and if the Cold War is over, for
historians it is just beginning, with the gradual opening of archives in the East.”2
1 Constantin Crânganu, Russia - The Closeness of Twilight (geopolitical), According to - h ttp://
2 International Relations Dictionary - XX Century, Volume coordinated by (Vaïsse, 2008, p. 291).

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