1. The Baltic-Black Sea Union
* building a “union state”
The trade route “from the Varangians to the Greeks” has been relevant since the times of Kievan Rus. The idea and the project of the Baltic-Black Sea alliance of Eastern European states, is being developed by Ukrainian, Polish and Lithuanian geo-political scientists for over 100 years. All the countries located on the Baltic-Black Sea axis are Christian ones and their nations have long European cultural traditions. They are Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus (which is building a “union state” with Russia), the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia. If these countries were joined by two Muslim countries — Azerbaijan and Turkey — the possible union of these states would be self-sufficient and powerful because their overall GDP would twice exceed Russia’s GDP.
At the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century, Ukrainian political and public figures Yulian Bachynskyi (1895), Mykola Mikhnovskyi (1900) and Stepan Rudnytskyi (1923) made the first attempt to develop a Baltic-Black Sea geopolitical concept. In the times of the UPR, an outstanding Ukrainian historian and Head of the Tsentralna Rada (Central Council) M. Hrushevskyi introduced the idea of creation of the Baltic-Black Sea Alliance in his work “The Black Sea Conception” (1918).
The public figure, writer, publicist and ideologist of Ukrainian nationalism, Yuriy Lypa created the geopolitical “The Black Sea Doctrine” (1940), which pointed to the historical community of peoples inhabiting the shores of the Baltic and Black Seas. Yu. Lypa was in favour of creation of the Baltic-Black Sea Federation consisting of Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.
For the first time the Baltic-Black Sea Union (BBSU) was established at a conference in Riga in August 1919. The document was signed by the delegations of Poland, Ukraine, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The BBSU’s program, developed by the Foreign Minister of Latvia Zigfrīds Meierovics, contained plans for a defensive alliance, integration of economic systems, common banking and monetary system, political convention on mutual support and common foreign policy, securing the free route from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Nevertheless, for a variety of reasons this project did not come true.
A significant contribution to the development of the project of the BBSU was made by Polish politicians and officials. Thus, in 1920s, the Polish Marshal Jozef Pilsudski put forward the idea of Confederation consisting of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, which had to revive the multinational Rzeczpospolita as a counter-balance to Germany and Russia’s domination in Eastern Europe. The USSR and all the Western states, except France, were at that time against that idea.
Among those involved in developing the project of the BBSU were Foreign Minister Josef Beck, General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the leader of the right-wing nationalist party — Confederation of Independent Poland Leszek Moczulski and others.
It should also be mentioned that for the first time a new concept of relations between Ukrainians, Lithuanians and Belarusians was formulated by the outstanding Polish philosopher Juliusz Mieroszewski who explained the need for liberation from Russia of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. This concept is called the Giedroyc-Mieroszewski Doctrine and is the basis of Poland’s modern Eastern European diplomacy.
The concept of Intermarum is consonant to the “NATO-Bis” idea launched in the early 1990s by the former Polish President Lech Walesa. In March 1993, Tomasz Szczapanski‘s book “Intermarum” was published in Poland, in which the author presents the geopolitical characteristics of the region, gives different options for forming the Baltic-Black Sea Union and forecasts its possible relations with Russia, Western Europe and Scandinavia.
For the first time since the collapse of the USSR, the initiative to intensify the Baltic-Black Sea cooperation on the state level was voiced by the then President of Lithuania A. Brazauskas at the 2006 Summit in Vilnius. From 2 to 5 May 2006 in Vilnius, there was the “Common Vision for Common Neighborhood” International Conference, devoted to the problems of the Baltic-Black Sea cooperation.
As pointed out by the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania after the restoration of independence Casimir Prunskienė: “I have not lost hope that the Baltic-Black Sea alliance is not only our historical past from the time of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Certain historical motivations have remained until now.”
In 1992, the Belarusian Popular Front (Zenon Pozniak) put forward the idea of creating a Baltic-Black Sea Union as a buffer international formation without NATO and Russia’s military bases. Moscow, however, headed off the creation of the BBSU by supporting A. Lukashenko‘s puppet regime, and the destruction of the Belarusian sovereignty under the guise of the so-called Union StateofRussiaandBelarus, which has already being built for more than 20 years. In 2010, the project “New Rzeczpospolita” appeared in Belarus. Its aim is creation of “People’s Republic” consisting of Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine.
In February 1993, in Budapest, President L. Kravchuk put forward the initiative to establish a zone of stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe. It was assumed that it had to include the Baltic States, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria and Romania. In April 1993, Kyiv prepared the project of creation of the Central and East European Space of Stability and Security (CEESSS), which had to work under the slogan “Security for one — through security for all”.
In 1994, in Kyiv there was created the League of parties of Intermarium countries, which was to generate the idea of the Baltic-Black Sea alliance as the stability and security zone. September 10-11, 1999, in Yalta, there was a Summit “Baltic-Black Sea Co-operation: to the Integrated Europe in the Twenty-First Century without Dividing Lines”, where they discussed issues of strengthening multilateral cooperation in the area between the two seas. Speaking at the summit, President L. Kuchma said, “Baltic-Black Sea axis can and should be one of consolidating and stabilizing rods of the new Europe and, therefore, an integral part of it”.
However, formalization and institutionalization of the Baltic-Black Sea cooperation did not happen during the Summit in Yalta. Partially the BBSU principles have been implemented in the political, institutional and economic dimensions through the creation of the Visegrad Group (1991), GUUAM (1997) and the Community of Democratic Choice (2005).
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available atcom.ua