“There is no Black Sea region, there is a Black Sea geopolitical fault instead. The Black Sea region is connected only by sea ferry operators’ activity. Virtually all coastal port cities, with the sole exception of Feodosia, are linked with each other by ferries today. All other fields are experiencing increasing competition, while the notion of a region requires some commonality,” such was the view of the Honored Economist of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, Chairman of the Board at the Taurida Institute of Regional Development, and chief editor of the Black Sea News online portal Andrii Klymenko which he expressed at the international roundtable “Stability in the Black Sea Region: External and Intraregional Threats and Ways of Countering Them,” which was held recently at the Crimean Research Center in Simferopol.
According to Klymenko, elimination of the Black Sea fault requires new ideas, a new analytical foundation, a new discourse and a new paradigm. The expert also believes that the region’s main problem is not the economic competition as such, but the fact that this economic competition unfolds against the backdrop of the geopolitical projects competition. “The main task of the expert community is finding a way to minimize the risks for economy while preserving and supporting healthy economic competition. Such an approach would place economy first, and politics second,” Klymenko said.
Meanwhile, Doctor of Sciences in Economics, Professor at the Chernorizets Hrabar Varna Free University, the author of several books on geopolitics Nina Dyulgerova noted the following points: “The Black Sea water area is part of a single transit, political, and economic system. The existence of this network allows us to speak about the Black Sea as one of the most important elements of international relations. Challenges of the 21st century are related primarily to energy problems. Geoenergetics is a principal regulator of international relations nowadays. The Black Sea is a transit space for oil and gas coming from the East to the West, so politics and diplomacy dominate economics. Multinational corporations are actively developing their relationships, and we should take into account their influence with politicians not only in the Black Sea region, but in the wider world, too, for example in China, Gulf states, North Africa. Transit connections are very important, and the states with the maximum number of transit corridors have great political weight.”
Doctor of Philosophy, Associate Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at the Vernadsky Taurida National University Serhii Kyseliov pointed out that after the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine withdrew from the Black Sea region. “A lot of people got the impression that Ukrainian political presence in the region is nominal only. The main directions of Ukrainian foreign policy are not generated within the country, but suggested from abroad,” he stressed.
The final part of the roundtable saw the experts agreeing that their job is not only to record events, but to create a strategy to help avoid risks and prevent conflicts. Public and Internet community can provide considerable assistance in keeping the peace through organizing exchanges of views and ideas and informing politicians about current trends in the changing world.
“All Black Sea countries, with the possible exception of Turkey, have their people standing with their backs to the sea and looking to the land. Should you say to any Yalta resident that their city is just 290 kilometers by sea from the (Turkish) city of Sinop, but as much as 900 kilometers from Kyiv, they will experience a culture shock. People view the coast and the sea as the end of the world, this is the main problem to be solved,” Klymenko said.