© “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” July 15, 1994
Some recent news reports special attention in Russia attracted the news of the deterioration mode of passage of ships through the Black Sea straits.
Russia, whose traditional foreign trade freight flows pass through the Black Sea, substantially affected by such changes. However, no matter how important this event, which impairs the passage of Russian ships and cargo through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, it is only the very episode in the overall deterioration of Russia’s access to international sea routes. At the same time, and a number of land communication between Russia and the West is becoming increasingly unreliable. Moreover, gradually there is a danger of weakening relations of the European part of Russia to the outside world.
Let’s look at the actual material, such as concrete passes this negative process in Russia and the direction in which Russia is likely to seek a way out of this situation.
The dismemberment of the Soviet territory of sovereign states as a result of liquidation of the USSR, as well as the changes in Eastern Europe associated with the collapse of the Comecon system and the Warsaw Treaty, created in Russia a completely new transport and communication situation. The new position is characterized in that:
– firstly minimized Russian access to the Baltic and Black Seas. Thereby making it difficult to access Russia’s main trading sea routes;
– secondly, the end line more recently single (Soviet) Army communication system in Europe and Central Asia were in foreign countries: Ukraine, Kazakhstan and others.As a result, between the European and Russian outside world come to lie ring ( “inner”) from the former Union and now sovereign Republics;
– Thirdly, on the western perimeter of the former Soviet Union formed the outer ring of countries that, in fact, seek to not only play the role of a new “cordon sanitaire”, but also to make this their position a source of political and economic dividends (Poland, Hungary, etc. ).;
– Fourthly, partly domestic and international routes linking Russia with the outside world, especially in the south and west, were in the conflict zone (the Caucasus, Tajikistan, etc.), Or in zones of instability, both potential and actual,
It is important that create a negative for the Russian transport and communication situation is far from normalization, and in many respects continues to deteriorate.Therefore, in future trade and economic ties between Russia and the rest of Europe, as well as with a number of countries in other continents will be under threat of destruction. It can not be ignored, and military-strategic importance of these changes.
Let us try to illustrate the importance and scale of the changes taking place.
About half of Russian export and import of goods are carried by sea. The overwhelming majority of the traffic passes through the Baltic and especially Black Sea ports.
The dismemberment of the USSR was carried out so that the only two left in Russia (instead of seven) major port on the Baltic Sea
– Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg. At the same time cut off from the Russian Kaliningrad territory of Lithuania and St. Petersburg freezes in the cold season.
In the Black Sea Russian retained only the essential ports of Novorossiysk and Tuapse, the possibilities are limited. Odessa, Ilyichevsk and other ports, has always played a big role in the maritime trade of the country, remained outside Russia. Ports of Reni and Izmail, who earlier – provided – our access to the Danube, and, consequently, an important waterway in the Central Europe for Main-Danube Canal, the Rhine, also lost Russia.
On the whole, Russia needs a transshipment port capacity to 260 million tons, while all its remaining ports can provide a total of only 60% of this amount.
As a result, Russia is forced to have recourse to transit through the ports of the Baltic states and Ukraine, resulting in foreign exchange costs. So, for the transit of Russian oil products to pay the Baltic countries for $ 5 per ton, and the Tallinn terminal monopoly on fuel oil transshipment, generally set a very high rate – $ 16 per ton. A total of 35 mln. Tons of oil exported by Russia, 20 million. Tons she is forced to ship across the Baltic region.
the cost of transit, the decision related organizational and other issues depend on the position of transit countries themselves. Meanwhile, the Baltic states, for example, are interested in how to act rather as intermediaries between Russia and the West, additional intermediary for the trade itself, and not merely a transit country providing a transport service. This, of course, not the same thing. In this case, the mediator, the most enriching on resale, may make foreign trade transactions for Russian counterparties generally unprofitable. Very often, these intermediary operations carried out in the form of contraband. Exactly conducted widely publicized deal with the resale of Russian non-ferrous metals. And not just with them.
It should not be forgotten that the normal transit of goods and said resale transaction are in inversely related to each other. A transit country (for example, the Baltic States), making it difficult to excessively raise the price of transit, thereby forcing Russian companies to resort to trade brokering, say, the Baltic companies. In essence, the transit countries are interested in. to ‘reject Russia’s foreign trade to the backward,
However, freedom of transit and commercial availability depend not only on such economic or, more precisely, the vested interests of the transit countries. Equally important are political motives. Necessary goodwill transit countries. But can we be sure of this benevolence?
Estonia and Latvia are open about their territorial claims to Russia. Lithuania together with Ukraine, has repeatedly put forward the project of creation along the border with Russia, “Black Sea community Baltiysko-“, the idea of which belongs to Zbigniew Brzezinski, continued to oppose improving relations between the West and Russia. This “community” (to him and bowed Belarus) would further isolate Russia from the West, not only in the sea but also on land lines.
However, there are other “options”. Thus, the “care” of the Soviet Union from Eastern Europe (Warsaw Pact ceased to exist three years ago) did not lead to their independence not only from the East but in the West, does not guarantee the non-aligned their existence. These countries simply hastened to change the guidelines.There has been a tendency to create a “sanitary cordon”, directed against Russia.
Continue, for example, attempts to put together a group of the ‘Central and Eastern Europe ( “Visegrad Group”), Poland, Hungary and other countries in the region aspire to the speedy entry into NATO. Meanwhile, we are talking about the countries, through which pass all the major land freight traffic between Russia and Europe. By the way, trade with the EU accounts for 40% of Russia’s foreign trade. It is clear value in general westerly direction for the Russian foreign economic interests.
Western Communications unreliability svyazana- not only for political reasons. All along the route Warsaw-Brest criminal lawlessness reigns. It came to almost open levying tribute from the passenger cars of foreign brands, distilled from Germany and other Western countries to Russia. Theft of goods, extortion, armed robbery in relation to vehicles carrying food and other supplies, and other serious crimes have become commonplace. All this together makes the transport situation is very unstable.
However, not only in the West, but also in other areas not beam;
Central Asia covered conflicts or at least unstable and unlikely in the near future will be able to be used for active foreign trade cargo. In any case, Caucasian and Central Asian areas do not play a primary role in transport links between Russia and the outside world.
Opposite, in the geographical sense, the Russian frontier – north – due to severe.environmental conditions and other factors can not compensate for the loss of Russian transport and communications capabilities to the west and south.
As a result, it is impossible not to see arisen for Russian historical problem to prevent its marginalization process of the world’s transport routes overlap of some of its most important communications. As a consequence there is a real threat of gradual “push” Russia from the number of full-fledged participants in international economic ggnosheny. “mv
It is understandable that in the folded-1 sheysya difficult situation Russian] resorted to various measures of “current character to improve the traffic situation, a certain easing its dependence on transit, to protect its communications from foreign dictates, etc. However, the radical geopolitical changes, as we have seen, they are such that they set for Russian very strict limits any possible efforts to use the above three directions: to the west, south and north.
Nevertheless remains free even fourth direction – east, more precisely, the Far East, where Russia has a direct access to the Pacific Ocean area.
Labor and care of previous generations of Russia owns the Far East area of more than 6 million sq. Km, razvernu- ‘one to the Pacific Ocean. The length of the Sea of Japan coastline owned by Russia reaches 3240 km, the Okhotsk Sea – about 10 000 km.Among the ports operating in transshipment of foreign cargoes are Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Vostochny port and others. On the coast there are plenty of beautiful bays that are suitable for the construction of ports. At the same distance from the Russian Far East ports to many large overseas Asia-Pacific region is not greater than the distance between the ports of European Russia and Western maritime trade centers.
Using the Russian Far Eastern areas to eliminate ugrozy- transport (and, hence, the economic) isolation of Russia is possible if a serious review of long-term plans of development. This raises a number of challenges. Among them – a significant improvement of communications between the Russian Far East and the rest of the country, the development of the coastal infrastructure in the Far East of Russia, primarily in the Primorsky Territory, modernization and development of related industries. also need to address a number of difficult social issues.
. We should not underestimate the magnitude and difficulty performing this essentially historical mission. We are talking about changing the spatial orientation of further development of Russia. The Russian Far East, figuratively speaking, is to move from the deep rear of the vanguard of the future of Russia. Russia itself in the XXI century will be “facing the face” to the Pacific Ocean.
Whether it justified economically and politically, this reorientation? Is it enough for it only arguments relating to the deterioration of transportnokommunikatsionnoy situation in the European part of Russia and around it? Indeed, for the adoption of such large-scale solutions, there are other strong arguments. Name at least two of them.
The first is associated with a very fast, outstripping the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, it is this region becomes the leading in the world today and the most promising for cooperation. In this regard, Russia’s cooperation with the countries of the region – Japan, China, South Korea and the other becomes desirable and also more promising for the future than with Europe. Expanding its ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby .Rossiya “podklyuchaet- Xia” to its development. ^^^ 0
“” Another argument in favor of a major reorientation of the Russian Far East is that the Russian land, tending to the Pacific Ocean, are extremely rich in terms of nature, but at the same time, little populated (10.5 million people.) And more insufficiently exploited. That is why Russia, which has appeared today in the new boundaries, quite naturally, must strive to ensure that a new, more rational exploit its wealth, land and water areas. All this suggests that Russia will not be able to avoid a serious reassessment of its relationship to its Far Eastern territories, their populations, including the interests of the development of the region.
In general, all this indicates that Russia is facing the need to review the spatial orientation of its further development. It is quite possible that there comes a time when Russia will start more to turn in the direction of the Pacific Ocean.