عنوان مقاله [English]
Russia has historically had a powerful army and air force but its Navy was weaker than its competitors. Attention to the security and economic importance of the sea areas in the Russian foreign policy in recent years has increased. Russia assumes that presence, influence and control over important seas is one of the foundations of the rise and strengthening of its position in international politics. In the other words, just like any other great power in the last two centuries like Britain, the USA and China which along with their power increased, have created large and strong navies and boosted their presence in the strategic seas, Russia also is going to do same, since its primary goal is to prove itself to the world as a great power and treats and to be treated as one of the poles of international politics. Therefore, Russia has followed wide reinforcement and modernization plans in the Navy. Furthermore, Russia like most of the world's great powers has tried to have military presence beyond its borders. On the other hand, two main international crises in the last six years have been Ukrainian and Syrian crises, which Russia has significantly intervened militarily in both. Syria unlike some countries like Egypt was one of the loyal partners of the Soviet Union and had good relations with it to such a degree that the Soviet Union was permitted to open a naval military base in Tartus in 1971, giving the Soviet Union a stable presence in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. This relationship has continued after the Cold War especially in the Syrian crisis in which Russia firmly supported Syrian government against its enemies who wanted to oust the Assad regime, vetoed all anti-Assad resolutions in the Security Council and finally intervened militarily on the eve of the collapse of the Assad regime on December 2015 and rescued it. On the other side, after Euromaidan demonstrations and the fall of pro-Russian president in Ukraine, as the most important countries for Russia in the Near Abroad, Russia with permission from its parliament invaded the Crimean Peninsula and after a controversial referendum annexed this peninsula. Why Russia did such military actions in Syria and Ukraine? On this basis, the authors seek to answer the question that what is the cause of Russian intervention in the Ukrainian and Syrian crisis? Russia obviously has economic and political interest in Syria but why didn't Russia support Saddam in the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite that it had even far more economic interest in there than Syria? Or despite the security importance of Ukraine and Russia's concerns about joining of Ukraine to the EU and NATO, why wasn't Russia so sensitive about Baltic countries and allowed them to become members of the EU and NATO? What was the different between Ukraine and Syria and the other cases? In other words what was the 'deep" cause of Russian military involvement in these two crises? In response, the authors claim that one of the main causes of Russia's intervention in Ukraine and Syria is to maintain and strengthen control over the Black and the Mediterranean seas. Given the fact that Russia has naval bases in both Ukraine and Syria by intervening in Ukraine and Syria tries to save the Sevastopol and Tartus bases and thereby strengthens its control of these important areas. As a matter of fact, one of the main factors explaining Russia foreign policy as a whole in recent years is control and domination over the world's crucial water areas. It is obvious that effective and strong influence over the vital sea areas requires having presence in the important coastal countries. Thus having good relations with some coastal countries have become a strategic goal for Russia. No other countries could better serve this Russian goal than Syria and Ukraine, which have unique positions in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea respectively. Russia, as the traditional land power, views the Black Sea as the gate towards world domination and hegemony and sees the Mediterranean Sea as an indispensable part to access the "World Ocean". It shouldn't be overlooked that Russia at first gave much more weight to the Black Sea than the Mediterranean. but in the past two decades during which, NATO has exclusively dominated over the Mediterranean on the one hand and Russia has become more powerful and assertive after the "lost decade" of the 1990s on the other hand, Russia has given more attention to the Mediterranean Sea than before. Russia has traditionally associated Geopolitical thinking and because of its size and geography has been one of the most important geopolitical regions that have attracted geopoliticians. But ironically at the same time, Russia suffers from a "Geopolitical Dilemma" since it has no appropriate access to the warm and free waters. Based on this the authors have found out that the main reason behind the Russian military interventions in Ukraine and Syria was to overcome its Geopolitical Dilemma and to secure its access to the Mediterranean and the Black seas. Indeed, Russia viewed Ukraine and Syrian events through the lens of its long-term, strategic interest so it paid many economic and political costs to ensure its foothold in Tartus and Sevastopol. The methodology used in this article is Descriptive-analytical and data collection is conducted in a combined way desk research and internet resources.