Northern Europe in Geopolitical terms
Geopolitics is a theoretical school that embraces both classical and neo-geopolitical approaches. In the context of territory, outlet to the sea, climate and neighboring it is very much interesting to find out what might be the scenario here for Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and northwestern part of Russia. As S.Huntingtom states, the “clash of civilizations” can be visible! Let’s remember that main clashes happen between states confessing various religions: “The main split runs between Finland and Russia, between the Baltic States and Russia, divides Byelorussia and Ukraine, then turns to the west, separating Transylvania from Romania coming to the former Yugoslavia separating Croatia and Slovenia from the rest. To the west and north from this split protestants and catholic live, to the east and south orthodox and Muslim live” . Another prominent geopolitician L.Gumilev also stated that “Europe (mostly Western) is divided from the rest by the negative isotherm in January” . This means that countries located to the east from this demarcation line have the average temperature in January below zero. If we turn to famous geopolitician J.Spykman and his concept that the world is divided into 2 parts – Heartland and Rimland, it will be clear that Rimland is much more powerful actor and more important in international relations . What we find out here is that Nordic Europe can be also treated using this categories. Nordic Europe can be divided in Western and Eastern parts. Thus, western Scandinavia (Iceland, Denmark, Norway) will compose Rimland and they are all NATO members. However, eastern part of Nordic Europe, i.g. Finland and Sweden, are neutral in this very context .
All the Northern countries, their northern regions, in particular, with the exception of Denmark, are located beyond the Polar Circle. All the states within the region possess an outlet to the sea but what matters here – different seas. Russia and Norway have an outlet to the Barents Sea. Iceland and Norway – to the Norwegian Sea. Norway and Denmark – to the North Sea. Sweden, Finland, Russia and Denmark – to the Baltic Sea. North-western part of Russia possesses an outlet to 4 seas that are the Barents sea, the Karskoe sea, the White sea, the Baltic sea (Kaliningrad harbor) and that is thanks to its huge borders extension. Taking into account especially the last harbor, definitely, Russia has the best geopolitical stance comparing to other Northern states. A great example will be Nordstream, a project which is running from Russia to Germany . It goes through the Baltic Sea embracing Finnish, Swedish, Danish bottoms – without agreements with countries the project wouldn’t be possible . Besides the Nordstream, a number of other projects are being planned in Northern Europe: Oeresound, a tube between Sweden and Denmark; Danish Belts – 2 tubes connecting 2 Danish islands; Baltic Pipe – a tube from Denmark to Poland; Balticconnector – a tube connecting Finland and the Baltic countries . Such infrastructure is very important if we take into account that Russia and Norway are rich with gas and are members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum , and other countries of the region are either gas consumers or gas transiters.