Russian challenges to the Baltic Sea Region and European response
The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) has traditionally been one of the main geopolitical targets of Russian foreign policy and expansionist ambitions. Nonetheless, the collapse of the USSR led to three Baltic States gaining independence and Kaliningrad Oblast becoming Russian enclave/exclave on the Baltic, which has in many ways weakened Russian posture in the region. Nevertheless, starting form 2007 the Russian side started to demonstrate growing assertiveness in the domain of foreign policy. Coupled with the expansion of NATO to the east this resulted in the BSR once again becoming a venue of collision of strategic interests of Russia and the West. Unlike the Cold War period however, current situation appears to be even more complicated and in a way dangerous than used to be the case. Aside from steps related to intensive military build-up, the Russian side has galvanized its activities in the domain of “soft power”, whereby trying to drive a wedge between members of the EU and NATO. Therefore, this seminar aims to discern the ways Russia is trying to influence regional affairs as well as main tools and strategies employed by Moscow in pursuing of this goal.