Vol 21, No 3 (2021): Mediterranean Sea Basin – New Regional Security Complex?


Introductory Note

Mason R.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):413-415
pages 413-415 views


A Mediterranean Region? Regional Security Complex Theory Revisited

Stivachtis Y.A.


This article argues that the shift from the bipolar structure of the Cold War international system to a more polycentric power structure at the system level has increased the significance of regional relations and has consequently enhanced the importance of the study of regionalism. It makes a case for a Mediterranean region and examines various efforts aimed at defining what constitutes a region. In so doing, it investigates whether the Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT) can be utilized to define a Mediterranean region and argues that the patters of amity and enmity among Mediterranean states are necessary but not sufficient to identify such a region. It suggests that economic, energy, environmental, and other factors, such as migration and refugee flows should be taken into consideration in order to define the Mediterranean region. It also claims that the Mediterranean security complex includes three sub-complexes. The first is an eastern Mediterranean sub-complex that revolves mainly - albeit not exclusively - around three conflicts: the Greek-Turkish conflict, the Syrian conflict, and the Israeli-Palestinian/Arab conflict. The second is a central Mediterranean sub-complex that includes Italy, Libya, Albania and Malta and which revolves mainly around migration with Italy playing a dominant role due to its historical ties to both Libya and Albania. The third is a western Mediterranean security sub-complex that includes France, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain and Portugal. This sub-complex it centered around France, the migration question and its associated threats, such as terrorism, radicalism, and human trafficking. In conclusion, it is concluded that the Mediterranean security complex is very dynamic as there are states (i.e. Turkey) that seem eager and capable of challenging the status quo thereby contributing to the process of the complex’s internal transformation.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):416-428
pages 416-428 views

Greater Mediterranean Regional Security Complex: Myth or Reality?

Aghazada M.M.


The study of regional dimensions, including the role of individual regions in the international system, plays a significant role in understanding the formation of a new multipolar world order. Undoubtedly, one of the most important regions is the Great Mediterranean, which is considered to be the cradle of civilization. Located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, it has a special status in global economic and political events. The author first defines the concept of the Greater Mediterranean, analyzing it in the short, medium and long term and, accordingly, in a narrow regional, wide regional and global scale. Then the analysis is carried out from the point of view of the regional security complex theory. The purpose of the study is to identify the territory covered by the Greater Mediterranean, as well as the type of regional security complex that it is part of. Since there is no clear, unified definition among Russian and foreign scholars about the geographical boundaries of this region and what it represents, the theoretical justification allows the author not only to determine the limits of the region, but also to give its characteristics, which in turn conditions the relevance of the research. In summary, it is concluded that the Greater Mediterranean constitutes a global-level security complex as it includes states, such as Russia, France, and Great Britain, which have a significant influence in world politics, as well as Turkey, Italy, Israel, and Iran with considerable powerful capabilities that extend beyond their neighbors.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):429-440
pages 429-440 views

Russia in Greater Mediterranean: New Pacific Eurasian Transition

Chikharev I.A.


The relevance of the issues raised in the article is related to the active return of Russia to the Mediterranean region, as well as the international political transformations taking place in it. The purpose of the article is to identify the historical foundations, current state and strategic prospects of Russia’s presence and international influence in the Greater Mediterranean region. The article is based on the methodology of critical geopolitics, historical and comparative approaches, which critically analyze the geopolitical structures of the region, built in the interests of various regional and extra-regional political forces. The historical material of the ancient, medieval, new and modern periods in the history of the macro-region is used, including the poorly studied times of the Mongol presence on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Scientific works on the history, geography and international relations in the region, written in the 18th - 19th centuries, as well as modern scientific information on the trends of technological, infrastructural and political development of the Mediterranean region are introduced into scientific circulation. An important element of the article is the thesis about the special role of Russia in the Pacific-European (Eurasian) transit. From the author’s point of view, it includes not only the full implementation of Russia’s transport and logistics potential in the macro-region, but also the transfer of modern technologies, as well as the promotion of the formation of sustainable political regimes. As a result, a conclusion is made about the deep historical foundations of Russia’s presence and influence in the region, its strategic prospects are justified, and the main directions of our country’s international activities in the Mediterranean region are highlighted. An important conclusion of the article is the thesis about the need for a multilateral balanced approach to solving macro-regional problems.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):441-458
pages 441-458 views

“Blue Homeland” and Cyprus: The “Survival of the State” Coalition and Turkey’s Changing Geopolitical Doctrine in the Eastern Mediterranean

Moudouros N.


The importance of the Eastern Mediterranean for the Turkish state is diachronic. In recent years, however, a renewed interest of Ankara is being recorded as a result of the developments in the energy sphere. This is expressed through various forms of interventionist policy of Turkey in the area. This article examines the reshaping of Turkey’s geopolitical dogma and its connection with Turkish perception of the Eastern Mediterranean. It examines the impact of the failed coup attempt in 2016 on the ruling power bloc and its reflections in the Turkish geopolitical doctrine. In this framework the article explores the reinstatement of the need for “survival of the state” ( devletin bekası ) as a result of the reshaping of the ruling coalition and the legitimisation of the attempt to strengthen the authority of the state. At the same time, the ideological construction of the Eastern Mediterranean is important, as it can reveal the process of construction of security issues or the instrumentalisation of real threats through which geopolitical orientation is reshaped and specific policies are implemented. This study consequently reviews the identification of the Eastern Mediterranean with a wider “hostile region” and analyses the functioning of the “blue homeland” concept as a legitimising axis of Turkish politics. The concept of “blue homeland” is examined in conjunction with internal developments in Turkey and especially the change of balance in the power bloc. Finally, the last part of the article analyses the ideological legitimisation of the “blue homeland” concept in Turkey’s strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean. Through these dynamics, the change in Ankara’s perception of the Turkish Cypriot community and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is also identified.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):459-471
pages 459-471 views

Foundations of Turkish Claims in the Eastern Mediterranean

Gudev P.A.


The Eastern Mediterranean is becoming a new region of interstate confrontation and clash of national interests. This is largely due to the discovery of oil and gas reserves, the development of which is becoming possible with the existing technology. The Republic of Turkey has a special position regarding this maritime region. The paper analyzes those bases - historical, political and legal - that determine Turkey’s current policy with regard to maritime delimitation and the settlement of maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean. Particularly, it is shown that Turkey’s policy in the region continues to be based on the approaches that were announced by Turkey during the I-III UN Conferences on the Law of the Sea (1958, 1960, 1973-1982 respectively), which have remained unchanged up to now. This position, as regards both the outer limits of the territorial sea, the legal regime of islands and the delimitation of the continental shelf, continues to define the essence of the controversy between Turkey and other countries of the region, including Greece and the Republic of Cyprus. At the same time, it is shown that there is a set of circumstances that significantly limit the prospects of solving these interstate contradictions within the framework of international judicial instances, including the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The conclusion is made that, for both Turkey and Greece, the most acceptable option would be to work out a “model” of settlement, which would not imply the obligation of its immediate implementation. Particular attention is paid to the ideological and practical framing of Turkish claims within the framework of the “Blue Homeland” doctrine, developed by a number of retired Turkish officers. It shows how Ankara uses the ideas of pan-Turkism and neo-Ottomanism to justify its claims to vast maritime spaces. The distinctive feature of this doctrine most likely is its anti-American, anti-NATO and anti-European orientation. There is a paradoxical situation when certain ideas enshrined in this concept directly correlate with the interests of the Russian Federation.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):472-486
pages 472-486 views

Germany’s Position on the Greek-Turkish Dispute: Intergovernmental Theory vs. Neofunctionalism

Ivkina N.V.


The article identifies Germany’s position on the Greek-Turkish dispute in the Aegean Sea from the point of the intergovernmentalist and neofunctionalist theories. The relevance of the research topic is due to the constantly emerging contradictions between Turkey and Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the need for the third parties to intervene in this dispute. The subject of the study is the German position, which is explained by the desire of the country to become a mediator. In addition, in European historiography on the integration there is an ongoing debate as to whether countries are guided in their foreign policy decisions by a common European set of norms, principles and values, or still by their own national interests. The aim of the study is to identify the principles that Germany follows in determining the political vector of its foreign policy, using the example of the dispute between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea, and correlate them with the theories of intergovernmentalism and neofunctionalism. The research methods are comparative analysis for defining the correlation of the postulates and selected theories with the practical steps taken by Germany to resolve the Greek-Turkish dispute, as well as the institutional method, which allows determining the role and place of the state in the system of pan-European decision-making. The results of the study are presented in the form of a correlation of the main criteria of the theories of intergovernmentalism and neofunctionalism with the identified practical steps of Germany to resolve the dispute between Turkey and Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean. The conclusion identifies Germany’s commitment to one of the two theories for each of the selected criteria.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):487-497
pages 487-497 views

The Black Sea Region in the Contest of Geopolitical Projects of the Great Powers, 1991-2019

Irkhin A.A., Moskalenko O.A.


The Black Sea region (BSR) is becoming a geopolitical space of clash - a frontline zone for the formation of a new system of international relations. After the Cold War, the region from the peripheral became one of the centers of competition between regional and global powers. It has mostly geopolitical rather than simple geographical character, significantly expanding its borders in at least four variations: the BS as the space of seven coastal states, the BS as the Baltic-Black Sea region, the BS as the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region, and the BS as the “nerve center” of the Greater Mediterranean. The article analyzes the geopolitical projects of great powers in relation to the Black Sea region in 1991-2019. The aim is to study the evolution and dynamics of these geopolitical projects by comparing the conceptual and doctrinal levels, as well as the level of practical policy of the key actors in relation to the Black Sea region. The scientific novelty lies in the systematic analysis of the geopolitical projects of great powers in the BSR after the Cold War, which becomes one of the critically important regions in the current period of world history. The authors conclude that the United States, the EU and Turkey follow an offensive strategy in the BSR, while Russia’s strategy is aimed at maintaining the status quo. After 2014, the USA and its allies have embarked on a third attempt to implement the Euro-Atlantic Black Sea project and the Greater Black Sea project, which involve the displacement of the Russian Federation from the Black Sea region. The geopolitical significance of the BSR is determined by its strategic location at the intersection of the interests of key actors. Their competition in the BSR is carried out both at the regional (Russia - Turkey - EU) and global (USA - Russia, Turkey, Iran; EU - Russia, Turkey, USA; China - USA, EU, Russia) levels, determining the content of conceptual approaches to the political structure of the region and specific integration (and infrastructure) projects. The complexity of the current geopolitical situation in the region is determined by a large number of competing powers and changing contours of the international system. The main axis of intra-regional competition in the BSR is focused on achieving a balance of power between Russia and Turkey.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):498-516
pages 498-516 views

The Role of non-Western Countries in the Construction of Russian Great Powerness: The Cases of Turkey and Israel

Birinci E., Sucu A.E., Safranchuk I.A.


This article contributes to the study of Russian great powerness, focusing on the potential of the Russian-Turkish and Russian-Israeli relations to influence the construction of Russia’s great power status in a multipolar world. Based upon Russian and English literature dedicated to the study of great power concept and Russian great powerness, authors adopt analytic eclecticism for the theoretical framework of the study. In this regard, for a comprehensive understanding of Russian great powerness, both constructivism with its focus on identity, and neorealism stressing national interests, security, and power, are applied. The authors actively employ the official documents, international agreements, statements of government officials, and official declarations. As a result, the study examines to what extent bilateral relations with Turkey and Israel, the West’s traditional non-Western allies, can contribute to the construction of Russian great power identity. For this purpose, first of all, the factors of Russian great power construction and its role in Russian foreign policy are examined. After addressing the efficiency of great power status as a foreign policy tool, the development of Russian-Turkish and Russian-Israeli relations are discussed. It is concluded that Russia has developed strategically significant relations with Turkey and Israel despite the deteriorated relations with the West, and the development of these relations has supported the consolidation of Russia’s great power status at the international and regional levels. Furthermore, the study suggests that Russian-Turkish and Russian-Israeli bilateral relations can enable Russia to strengthen its great power status vis-à-vis the West via cooperation and competition and contribute to the construction of a multipolar world.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):517-528
pages 517-528 views


Internet Revolution or Just Fitna: Towards the Tenth Anniversary of the Arab Spring

Vasiliev A.M., Zherlitsina N.A.


The article is dedicated to the analysis of the tenth anniversary of the revolutionary events in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), called the Arab Spring. The relevance of the study of the consequences of political transformations in Arab countries is due to the incompleteness of the modernization processes in such areas as public administration, justice and human rights, which gave rise to the discontent of the active part of society, which had initiated the protests. The idea of the research was to compare the causes of popular uprisings, the methods of political struggle, the main actors and the results of the Arab Spring for most of the countries affected by this process. Particular attention has been paid to the growing popularity of Islamist political forces, which have given their answers and pseudo-answers to acute societal issues. With the help of comparative and typological analysis, the peculiarities of different models of political development in the Middle East and North African countries have been studied. Over the past decade, world science has accumulated a significant layer of research on the Arab Spring phenomenon. The authors have taken into account a wide range of opinions of scholars from Europe, the United States, Turkey, Israel, and the Arab states. Aiming to assess the political transformation of the MENA region over the past 10 years, this study analyzes changes in the position of external actors such as Russia and the USA. The authors conclude that the influence of the US as a whole in the region has decreased, while the influence of Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia has increased. Israel has managed to strengthen its own security by establishing normal relations with a number of Arab states in the region. The popular unrest that erupted again in Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, and Tunisia in 2018-2021 was objectively caused by the same conditions that had given rise to the Arab Spring and with the same uncertain results so far.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):529-542
pages 529-542 views

Populism in the Foreign Policy of the Turkish Republic

Avatkov V.A.


The paper explores the role and peculiarities of the populism in the modern foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey. Populism became especially popular in Turkey’s foreign policy discourse when the Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002 and R.T. Erdoğan as President in 2014. Special attention is paid to R.T. Erdoğan’s populist statements made in the context of the key foreign policy ideologies - Neo-Ottomanism, Neo-Panturkism and Islamism. The propaganda of Neo-Ottoman ideas is aimed at restoring Turkey to its former Imperial greatness. The ultimate goal of Turkey’s populism in Turkic states is to form a new Turkish-centric subsystem of international relations - the “Turkic world”. Turkey’s Islamic populism within the country is primarily aimed at the conservative part of the population and at the world Islamic community on the international arena. The main task of such populism is the gradual abandonment of the principles of M.K. Ataturk and the secularism, as well as the formation of public opinion that Ankara is the center of the Islamic world. The author comes to the conclusion that Turkey’s populism is quite effective and assists the ruling elite in achieving its foreign policy goals. In many ways, the success of Turkey’s populism depends on the competent policy of its implementation by R.T. Erdoğan - a classic example of an Eastern politician with a charismatic type of leadership. However, the situation may change significantly in case of the power change in Turkey, emergence of a new leader and, consequently, new populist mechanisms.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):543-554
pages 543-554 views

Military-Political Peculiarities of Germany’s Participation in Resolute Support Operation, 2015-2021

Trunov P.O.


The Afghan direction is rather important for German foreign policy, given the scale and duration (nearly two decades) of German military presence in this Central Asian country. It remains to continue one of the directions of Bundeswehr’s usage outside the NATO zone of responsibility. The article tries to explore the specifics of the German military and political-diplomatic tools used in the course of Resolute Support operation. The key research methods are comparative and event-analysis. The paper evaluates the characteristics and the results of the German participation in ISAF activity by the mid-2010s. In this regard it is shown that to a large extent the efforts of the Bundeswehr contingent in “Resolute Support” were aimed at completing unfinished tasks during the ISAF mission. The new (since 2015) tasks of the German military personal, their determinism, and the peculiarities of their implementation are defined. The article traces the ascending dynamics of the German military presence in Afghanistan. In comparison with Syria and Iraq, taking into account the scale of threats projected from their territory to the Euro-Atlantic community in the mid-2010s, the peculiarities of forms and amounts of the Bundeswehr’s use in Afghanistan are demonstrated. The author examines Berlin’s attempts to maintain its military presence in Afghanistan in conditions when US President Trump’s administration and the Taliban (banned in Russia) signed an agreement on the withdrawal of US troops on February 29, 2020. The range of factors that could affect the revision of the White House’s position in the second half of 2020 and early 2021 is defined. During this period, Germany has been trying to keep its military presence in Afghanistan. But after the final decision of the Biden administration on the withdrawal of troops, official Berlin was forced to accelerate the evacuation of its contingent (by July 1, 2021), which largely crossed out the previously declared results of the strategy in Afghanistan. The article concludes by presenting the consequences of the military drawdown in Afghanistan for the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany as a whole.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):555-570
pages 555-570 views


Admission of Turkey into the European Union: “Does Religion Matter?”

Aryal S.K., Nair A., Bhattarai G.


With the rising fear of Islamisation in Europe and increasing Islamist sentiment in Turkey, the issue of religion in the context of integration of Turkey into the European Union remains relevant. After a long-lasted wait and continuous negotiations, Turkey seems to be moving further away from getting accepted in the EU. The research focuses on the religious factor in this unrelenting friction between the two regions / entities and answers the question as to why the EU and Turkey should consider religion as one of the variables in the European integration. The analysis is done with the use of primary and secondary sources with special focus on Samuel Huntington’s realism-inspired work ‘Clash of the Civilization.’ Turkish sources were used for better understanding the dynamics of Turkey. In terms of methodological approach the research is done with using the content analysis and contemporary observation of socio-political scenario and behavioral changes that the EU and Turkey going through. The authors conclude that there is no proper mechanism to consider religion as a variable, but psychologically it is still playing a major role in both the EU and Turkey. The authors believe that the EU and Turkey should discuss the religious dimension of integration while talking other dynamics.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):571-582
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Book review: Bazoobandi, S. (Ed.). (2020). The New Regional Order in the Middle East: Changes and Challenges. London, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 141 p.

Brebdane A.M., Al-Mahmadava S.R.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):583-586
pages 583-586 views

Book review: Gresh, G. F., & Keskin, T. (Eds.). (2018). US Foreign Policy in the Middle East from American Missionaries to the Islamic State. New York: Routledge, 326 p.

Werfelli W., Hourieh R.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):587-590
pages 587-590 views

Book review: Solovyov, E.G., & Chufrin, G.I. (Eds.). (2020). Political Processes in the post-Soviet Space: New Trends and Old Problems. Moscow: IMEMO RAN publ., 276 p. (In Russian)

Kurylev K.P., Smolik N.G.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):591-593
pages 591-593 views

Book review: Koch, B., & Stivachtis, Y. A. (Eds.). (2019). Regional Security in the Middle East. Вristol: E-International Relations Publishing, 242 p.

Lashina A.A.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):594-597
pages 594-597 views

Book review: Fenenko, A.V. (2020). History of International Relations: 1648-1945. 2nd edition. Moscow: Aspekt Press publ., 800 p. (In Russian)

Alekseeva T.A.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(3):598-602
pages 598-602 views

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