Security Challenges in Northern and Southern Europe (FLANKS)

FLANKS is a research project carried out in partnership between the New Strategy Center and the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI) between 2020-2021. This project aims to study the phenomenon of militarization of the Arctic region and the Black Sea region. The project activities include visits and information seminars, organization of events in Oslo, Bucharest and Brussels, the elaboration of articles on the topic, and the carrying out of a comparative study of this phenomenon in both regions. The project aims at a better knowledge both in Romania and in Norway, of the security challenges that the two countries are facing, thus consolidating the cohesion at the bilateral and Allied level. FLANKS is financed through Fund for Bilateral Relations SEE&NO 2014-2021.

The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs [NUPI] is a leading centre for research on international issues in areas of particular relevance to Norwegian foreign policy.

NUPI has three main pillars of research and expertise: security and risk, growth and development, and international order and governance. The Security and Risk pillar covers traditional security and defence policy and peace operations, as well as other aspects of risk in Norwegian foreign policy related to greater investment, travel and presence abroad. Growth and development focuses on the emerging powers, international economics and developmental issues. Order and governance covers the multilateral system, regional organizations and how diplomacy as an institution works and evolves.

More information about NUPI, available here: https://www.nupi.no/nupi_eng/

Studies

FLANKS Working Paper – Information Warfare And Information Operations in the Black Sea Area

This paper covers the subject of information warfare from conceptualization, current features and examples to its place in the Russian strategic thinking and planning. The authors further exemplify the use of information warfare in the Black Sea Region, one of the main battlegrounds of Russian information warfare and information operations. Furthermore, a correlation between information warfare and an insecure cyber environment, as well as an assessment of the cybersecurity challenges in the Black Sea Region contribute to an overview on the subject.

Authors: Alina Bârgăoanu, Jakub Godzimirski, Daniel Ioniță

FLANKS Policy Brief – How to Deal with the Information Warfare Challenge in the Black Sea Region 

The aim of this policy brief is to examine how countries in the Black Sea Region (BSR) should deal  with the new challenge posed by Russia’s use of various information-related instruments and how the situation in the information sphere in the area should be dealt with by regional actors and other players with stakes in this region. This material presents the most important findings and conclusions presented in more detail in the FLANKS Working Paper  Information Warfare and Information Operations  in the Black Sea Area  prepared jointly by members of the FLANKS project.

Authors: Alina Bârgăoanu, Jakub Godzimirski, Daniel Ioniță

FLANKS Working Paper – The tail wagging the dog. Frozen conflicts – the precursors of trouble to come

A comprehensive material on the protracted conflicts located in the strategically important area of the Black Sea, within the sovereign territories of the newly independent republics following the dissolution of USSR: Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh), Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), Republic of Moldova (Transnistria) and, more recently, Ukraine (the so-called ‘people’s republics’ of Donetsk and Lugansk). The author proposes answers to what Russia wants when maintain and using frozen conflicts and presents options for reintegration of separatist regions in some cases.

Author: Dan Dungaciu

FLANKS Policy Brief – Russia and Frozen Conflicts in the Black Sea Region

This policy brief examines the role frozen conflicts play in Russian policy towards the Black Sea Region and measures that could be taken to limit the negative impact of this policy in the region. Its focus is on the four frozen conflicts existing in the post-Soviet space – Transnistria in Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, and Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan, as well as on the more recent conflict in Eastern Ukraine that has many features characteristic of frozen conflicts.
This material presents the most important findings and conclusions presented in more detail in the FLANKS Working Paper The tail wagging the dog. Frozen conflicts – the precursors of trouble to come prepared by members of the FLANKS project.

Authors: Dan Dungaciu, Jakub Godzimirski

FLANKS Working Paper The Crimean Aircraft Carrier. Russian Federation Militarization of the Black Sea

The study analyzes the evolution of the military capabilities of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea area, highlights the strategic importance of the Crimean peninsula in the Russian defensive system and presents the role of the Black Sea in Russian strategic thinking. The authors explain how deployed capabilities have become not only a platform for interdiction in the region (AntiAccess/AreaDenial – A2/AD), but also one of force in the Middle East and North Africa, by virtue of the historical obsession with access to warm seas. The study also analyzes the negative impact of the militarization of the Black Sea on trade and freedom of navigation, in an area with important energy resources and gas pipelines for the whole of Europe. To address these complex challenges, a unified strategic approach by NATO is needed, from the north, from the Barents Sea and the Kola Peninsula, to the south, the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.

Authors: Leonardo Dinu, George Scutaru

FLANKS Policy Brief The Crimean Aircraft Carrier. Russian Federation Militarization of the Black Sea

This policy brief covers the security situation of the Black Sea region in which Russia has engaged in a strong militarization program of the Crimean Peninsula, becoming thus a “power projection platform”.
The material presents the most important findings and conclusions presented in more detail in the FLANKS Working Paper The Crimean Aircraft Carrier. Russian Federation Militarization of the Black Sea prepared jointly by members of the FLANKS project.

Author: Leonardo Dinu