Straddling Europe and Asia, the Black Sea links north to south
and east to west. It has undergone countless political transformations over
time. Some say the region is now coming into its own - but it
remains a contested and politically complex neighborhood that is home to deep
national fault lines. This reflects the changing dynamics of the Black Sea
countries and the complex realities of their politics and conflicts, economies
and societies. Geography, foreign interest in the region and the area's
relationship with the rest of the world are key to explaining its ongoing resurgence.
Oil, gas, transport and trade routes are all crucial in explaining its
Russia and the former Soviet states are still undergoing
a transition towards democracy after seven decades of communism. A paradoxical
coexistence between the former Soviet-Union socialism and fervent liberalism
has taken root in the region and persists to this day. The younger generation
carefully purges memories of Soviet times, but the older inhabitants cling on
to ideas of security delivered through communism.
Yet beyond an identity built on strategic positioning or
the value of trade routes, daily life for the people of this region carries on.