On June 28-29, 2023 FPRI’s Eurasia Program partnered with Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia, to hold a two day conference on Black Sea geopolitics, security, strategic connectivity, and resilience.
The Black Sea region looms increasingly large as the locus of great power military, political, and economic competition. Russia has chosen the region as a focal point of its challenge to the Western security order, as its 2008 invasion of Georgia and its 2014 and 2022 invasions of Ukraine make clear. Geopolitically, the region is where the West, Russia, and the wider Middle East come into contact. As countries like Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia seek EU membership, Russia looks to destabilize them. Turkey aims to retain its good standing with NATO, preserve its ties with Russia, and assert its interests in the Syrian civil war.
The region also holds considerable importance as an economic and energy transit zone, with the West, Russia, and China launching transportation and energy infrastructure projects there. Finally, Black Sea states struggle to build political, economic, and social resilience in the face of Russian attempts to destabilize them and subvert their sovereignty. The goal of this conference was to advance understanding among regional and Western scholars and policymakers on the challenges and opportunities the Black Sea region presents.