The end of the Cold War and dissolution of the USSR transformed the Baltic Sea region. In little more than a decade, well over 90% of the Baltic littoral was integrated into the European Union. All, that is, except the St. Petersburg area and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. In recent years, the region has become a major theater in the New Cold War between Russia and the West. Estonia, for example, was the target of large-scale cyberattacks in 2007, an opening salvo in Russia’s hybrid warfare assaults on its neighbors. Perhaps no region affected by the New Cold War is more complex, comprising small states, medium-sized powers, and an erstwhile superpower; the supra-national EU and the NATO Alliance; a dense landscape of international treaties; long-standing regional affinities, rivalries and irredentist claims; vitally important commercial links and corridors; and a vulnerable natural environment. Historically, the Baltic region has oscillated between cooperation and conflict. On the Western side, Germany is the most engaged and effective player both as a nation and as a leader in multilateral organizations. What should Germany do in the face of Russian challenges to foster stability and cooperation, forestall conflict, protect the environment and enhance prosperity in the Baltic Sea region.
Germany and the Baltic Sea Region
former Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the U.N.