Russia and the Caspian Sea: Projecting Power or Competing for Influence?

Russia and the Caspian Sea: Projecting Power or Competing for Influence?
Russia and the Caspian Sea: Projecting Power or Competing for Influence?
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The Caspian Sea territory, resides on the southern side of Russia, and is part of Azerbaijan and Kzakhstan, rich with hydrocarbons used in the production of crude oil and is an “eyed territory” for the United States, China, Russia and many other countries that could utilize the crude oil to gas production for economic and energy growth.  The Caspian region also poses a national security threat to Russia and a maritime opportunity for the United States given its close proximity to Afghanistan.

This monograph examines Russia’s policy towards the Caspian Sea region as Moscow attempts to counterbalance growing American involvement within what it perceives to be its zone of privileged interest. It focuses on the recent expansion of the Caspian Flotilla and the rationale behind this. Moscow has sought to counterbalance the growing involvement of other actors in the region, which has led to rising tension between Russia and its southern neighbors. The primary objectives of the research are to examine Russian perceptions of threat and security in the Caspian region and assess the implications for other actors. It will analyze the drivers of the increasing competition for influence, focusing on developments within the energy sector, and assess the implications of Russia’s consolidation of its dominance for security and stability in the region. This issue is important because a clear understanding of Russian strategic thinking and threat perception in the Caspian Sea is vital in order to facilitate effective U.S. policy in the wider Caucasus and Central Asian region.



TRACEY GERMAN is a senior lecturer in the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London, United Kingdom (UK), which provides postgraduate-level teaching at the UK’s Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC). Her research focuses on Russia’s relations with its neighbors, military reform, energy issues, as well as conflict and security in the Caucasus and Caspian region. Dr. German has published widely on intra- and interstate conflicts in the region, notably Nagorno-Karabakh, Chechnya, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia. Publications include Region-al Cooperation in the South Caucasus: Good Neighbours or Distant Relatives? (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2012), Russia’s Chechen War (Routledge, 2003), and co- authored Securing Europe: Western Interventions to-wards a New Security Community (IB Tauris, 2009), as well as articles in journals such as European Security, Europe-Asia Studies, Small Wars and Insurgencies, Central Asian Survey, Vestnik analitiki, and Politique étrangère.

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This book would be suitable for military leaders, especially naval and maritime personnel, political scientists, historians, international relations scholars, and world energy trade analysts.  High school to Graduate students in global history, Russian studies, military and political science classes may find this content helpful for research papers related to international relations and maritime policies, especially as it relates to Russia.

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Defense Dept., Army, Strategic Studies Institute; and Army War College
  • German, Tracey
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Key Phrases:
  • Russia
  • Caspian Sea
  • Projecting Power or Competing for Influence
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