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A Caspian Power beyond the Caspian: The Caspian Flotilla from the Past to the Present
Thanks to its rich energy sources, geopolitical position, and importance in terms of energy transfer, Caspian Sea attracts the attention of not only regional but also non-Caspian states and increasingly constitutes a ground for a military struggle. In this context, the focal point of the struggle has been the issues of sharing regional resources and definition of Caspian’s legal status. This ongoing struggle brings the question of Russian Caspian Sea Fleet – a naval force stationed in the Caspian Sea during the reign of Petro I- in the foreground. The power struggle that erupted in the region following the demise of the Soviet Union paved the way for the Russian policy to improve her naval force in the Caspian Sea. The Russian administration increased the number of navy ships in her Caspian Fleet and equipped them with advanced missile systems. Russia also has conducted large-scale exercises in the region especially since the presidency of Putin. Russian Caspian Sea Fleet constitutes the largest and well-established maritime power in the region in comparison with the naval capacities of other Caspian littoral states. It should be noted that the fleet exploited the opportunity of demonstrating its capability with missile attacks at targets in Syria in October 2015. The aim of this study is to determine the efficiency of the fleet in triggering or diminishing Russian intra-Caspian and global security anxieties since the time of its inception. Additionally, the reactions of intra and extra-regional states against Russian plans about the Caspian Fleet will be analyzed. With the help of this analysis, “Is Russian Fleet the key of security or insecurity?” question will also be answered.

Caspian Sea, Russian Fleet, militarization, energy competition, Arab Spring

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