Siniša Kuko ; Town of Split, Split, Croatia
Petar Kurečić ; University North, Koprivnica, Croatia

Fulltext: pdf (343 KB), Croatian, Pages 7 – 28

After the breakup of the USSR, and the several rounds of Post-Cold War enlargements
of the Western integrations, once large space of newly independent
and geopolitically uncontrolled European post-communist states, located
between the EU, NATO and Russia, contracts geopolitically and “wanders”
strategically. The three states, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, located on Russia’s
western borders share about three thousand kilometers of borders with
the EU and NATO, and about two thousand and five hundred kilometers with
Russia, which implicates that they are prone to the geopolitical influences
from their surroundings. This Interspace of the three states lies inside the strategic
triangle comprised of: 1) Russia – geopolitically and militarily powerful
state as well as a giant considering its energy reserves, which makes her
relatively strong “hard” power as well as a significant “soft” power; 2) the EU
– economic giant on the global level that is not unified enough; has domestic
problems and is partially dependent on Russia when it comes to energy,
a civilian power without “hard” power that in its foreign relations relies on
policies based on financial assistance, assurance, and attractiveness; 3) NATO,
led by the USA – the most powerful military-political-security “hard” power
that exists today; it does not have the kind of influence on Europe and the
Post-Soviet space that it had in the 90-ies. However, as a consequence of
subordination of the Interspace that lasted for a couple of centuries, the common
characteristics intrinsic to this space occur: ambiguous identities; deficits
in the democratic practices; complicated, prolonged and incomplete transition;
economic decline, demographic problems – all of which favor a strategic
“adoption” of the Interspace by the Kremlin, a former imperial master. At the
same time, a relative marginalization of the Interspace is evident regarding
the processes of Euro-Atlantic integration. After the unsuccessful attempts of
“pulling out” Kiev, Kishinev, and the South Caucasian Tbilisi from this Russian
sphere of influence, the states positioned in the Interspace, together with
Russia, comprise a regional security complex, a stabilized geopolitical “Russosphere”
that is a key part of the Kremlin’s attempts for Eurasian reintegration
under Russia’s leadership.

Interspace; Geopolitical Region; Sphere of Influence; EU; Russia