Abstract. The article describes the strategic importance of the Mediterranean region in the global context. Starting from the changes taking place in the area, it outlines the political, military and economic strategies that Russia is implementing to secure a significant role in this area of the world. Next to the military intervention in Syria, the Russian Federation has acquired a leading player role in stabilizing the area and moving it towards a lasting peace. The strategy to achieve this goal is based on a cooperation policy that seeks to involve more stakeholders in order to bring them to a common convergence from both a political and economic perspective.
The Mediterranean region, stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Black Sea according to the Russian vision, has regained a strategic importance, thanks also to the increase in international trade, making it a new pivot area from both a political and an economic perspective.
The ”memorandum on Russian foreign policy” of 1995 clearly outlines the Russian strategy in the region that pivots on the concept of the ”Great Mediterranean”. This is the general framework for the political, military and economic action of the Russian Federation, aiming to regain an active role in this region in order to secure stability, peace and development of Russian economic interests in view of a new perspective based on economic, technological, cultural and security cooperation.
The Mediterranean, even if though accounts for only 1% of the global water surface, is crossed by 19% of world maritime trade; 30% of oil trade and 65% of other energy resources destined for Italy and other European countries. Therefore, no doubt it is a crucial junction for maritime trade. It also has large amounts of recently discovered energy resources, but is also the scene of growing international instability and, thanks to the strategic location, a bridge between the stable North and the conflicting South.
Since ancient times, the Mediterranean has played a crucial role in the evolution of world history. It created the Roman Empire, set the borders of the Phoenician coastal expansion, integrated and rebuilt the northern European civilization during the barbarian invasions, assumed Christianity making it the heir of the Universal Imperium, and finally generated, after the imperial projects of Charles V, the dynamics of the national States and their interrelation.
Its geographic shape of a closed sea, similar to a real lake, makes it a natural geopolitical continuum between the three large continental landmasses that limit it – Europe, Africa and Asia – and of which it is a functional bridge.
This region, which has over the centuries facilitated contacts and interchange between populations, determining the birth and flowering of the great civilizations of which the Mediterranean was the cradle, regain a pivotal role within the new geopolitical framework.
The emergence of the new Asian and South American powers, along with the disordered economic growth of African countries with multiple rates of growth compared to those of Europe, has led to a shift in the geopolitical axis towards the south of the globe, encouraging concentration in the Mediterranean of the new geo-economic flows of the global economy.
This trend is allowing the Mediterranean region to become a crucial crossroad for long-range intermodal transport, and as a result of that compete with the North Sea routes.
New global players, such as India, China and Brazil, are entering the Mediterranean area, including Russia and Turkey, making it a worldwide pivotal arena where the major powers are competing in order to conquer the control of the Euro-African-Asian landmass of which the region is a bridge.
Even today, the Mediterranean game does not seem even close to an end. Currently there are two blocks facing each other: the Western one, led by the United States, and that of BRICS, led by Russia and China.
The United States is supporting the establishment of a new elite in the North Africa area able to put together the values of the Western democracy and those of market economy.
This action is based on the strategy that aims to control the coastline of Eurasia, ie.. from the Iberian Peninsula, through the Near East, up to the Persian Gulf.
A strategy that is not at all new in conception, but dates back to 1944, when geopolitical Nicholas Spykman’s book The Geography of Peace claimed that those who control the coastal territory (Rimland) control as the result Eurasia, and with it the fate of the whole world.
* Tiberio Graziani, President Vision&Global Trends
** Alberto Cossu, Degree in Political Science Sassari University, Master in Business Administration, Vision and Global Trends senior researcher
*** Filippo Romeo, Degree in International Relations La Sapienza University of Rome, Master in Geopolitics and Global Security, Vision and Global Trends senior researcher
 Alberto Cossu, interview to Tatiana Zonova, La Russia nel Mediterraneo, Sputnik, 2018 https://it.sputnik news.com/opinioni/201801085489291-tatiana-zonova-intervista-russia-nel-mediterraneo/
 Speech by Italian Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi at the conference ”Italy and the Sea between geopolitics, security and economic strategy” http://www.difesaonline.it/index.php/it/9-notizie/mare/ 2774-l-italia-e-il-mare-tra-geopolitica-sicurezza-nazionale-e-strategia-economica
 Giancarlo Elia Valori, Il Mediterraneo del XXI secolo, p. 2
 Spyridon St. Kogas, I BRICS e il Mediterraneo: Il mare della Multipolarità?, http://www.geopoliticarivista.org/ 24691/i-brics-e-il-mediterraneo-il-mare-della-multipolarita/
 Nicholas Spykman, The Geography of Peace, Harcourt Brace, New York, 1944, p. 43