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Part I. Who and What

26.10.10
Text: RusNavy.com, Evgeny V. Arkhipovsky
"Who governs the sea is master of the situation"
Marcus Tullius Cicero


Dealing with an issue of Russia's naval cooperation with so-called states of near abroad, one should start with precise definition of terminology.

First, it would be reasonable to remind the esteemed audience that the term "near abroad" is not purely geographical. That is the common name used for former USSR republics. This politico-geographical logic implies that, say, Moldavia having no common borders with Russia is nearer to us than neighboring China. The subject matter will be not as extended as the head-line is. Mostly, naval cooperation is rather generalizing term than the picture of international relations among post-Soviet states. In this context it would be more proper to talk of cooperation in the area of naval arms. To be precise to the last, the matter is Russia's naval arms exports to the states of near abroad. It becomes apparent after detailed analysis of open media sources that the essence of the whole range of naval cooperation between Russia and near abroad countries is either concrete deliveries or perspective exports of Russian naval arms systems to the former Soviet republics. All talks of anything else (joint exercises and maneuvers, co-developments etc.) rapidly spin away or remain just verbal decorations.

And the last but not least thing. As long as the "USSR-related" theme emerged, we're going to name sovereign states of near abroad "cousinly", i.e. just like they're known in daily use. Saving respect for all sovereignties, we'd like the names of countries to be perceived habitually just to save time needed for readjusting ourselves from new names of counties to usual and well-known shape.

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Contents

Part I. Who and What
Part II. Non-geographical policy or non-political geography
Part III. Friends or competitors?
Part IV. Delicate hints
Part V. Naval cooperation: geography, economy, or policy?