The demise of the USSR in 1991 created a power vacuum in the Soviet space that lingers to this day. This development acted as a catalyst in igniting the conflicts in and around the region. Security concerns of the independent states have steadily increased over the past decade and a half and a search for alternative centers for cooperation and security has come about. Russia’s incapacity to offer a sound and reliable cooperation and security system coupled with an increased interest of European and Euro-Atlantic forces in the region has opened the way for a higher level of integration of these states with the West. The result of the tug of war between Russia and the West over the region remains open. Please clic here to read the text in full.