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Poland-Ukraine-Lithuania: a Matter of the Future or a Reincarnation of the Past?

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Photo: Poland-Ukraine-Lithuania. Source: Collage the Gaze.
Photo: Poland-Ukraine-Lithuania. Source: Collage the Gaze.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to Poland in April of this year was truly significant in the historical context. And here it is worth recalling the concept of the Baltic-Black Sea geopolitical arc, which is the reincarnation of the geopolitical construct of the times of Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky and the Hadyach Agreement on the abolition of the triumvirate consisting of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdom of Poland, and the Grand Duchy of Rus (Ukraine).

More than three and a half centuries have passed and we have witnessed the formation of a new, closer strategic partnership between three sovereign states: Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania. This is also the realization of the ideas of the Ukrainian geopolitician and poet Yuriy Lypa - the Black Sea Doctrine with its core in Ukraine, which forms a conglomerate of countries that form a security arc for Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

In fact, we have witnessed the destruction of the largest and most controversial geopolitical axis in history, the Berlin-Moscow-Beijing axis (with a short "stop" in Minsk). This effectively destroys the Eurasian ambitions of both Beijing and Moscow to use Russia's transit potential as an intercontinental "bridge."

The Baltic-Black Sea arc from Finland (recently admitted to NATO) to Turkey (forming its own Turkic alliance) has completely cut off the vector of autocratic regimes' "wedging" into the European geopolitical space, with Minsk as its point (migration crisis, energy crisis, crisis of the EU's collective security, etc.). This means that all new axes from Asia that will go to Europe, for example, from India, will now pass through Ankara and possibly Kyiv.

In the future, a new "Slavic core" may emerge within the EU, consisting of Poland, Ukraine, and, in a certain perspective, Belarus. This means 80 million people, about a trillion in potential GDP, compared to, for example, 90 million people in Germany and Austria. Of course, we are talking about positive competition. And this is a multipolar EU format, not a German-axial one.

The geopolitical rapprochement between Poland and Ukraine, with certain limitations, can be compared to the signing of an analog of the 1963 Elysee Agreement between France and Germany. It was this agreement that put an end to the longstanding enmity between the French and Germans and laid the groundwork for future cooperation, which culminated in the formation of the EU. By the way, the key idea of the agreement was to bring the peoples of the two countries, including the youth, closer together. 

Emphasis was placed on learning the languages of the two nations and mutual recognition of diplomas. The Franco-German Youth Bureau, Franco-German high schools, and international student exchanges were established. Cities and regions signed brotherhood agreements. It was contacts at the level of youth between the two countries that created the foundation for the strategic alliance between France and Germany, which are now the leaders of modern Europe. And such a foundation should be created between Poland and Ukraine.

Two Development Funnels

Two powerful economic funnels are currently being formed in the EU. They will accumulate the main economic, demographic, and resource potential of the euro area. 

The first is the Scandinavian funnel, consisting of the Baltic States, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway (the latter is not a member of the EU but participates in the deployment of the region's productive forces). GDP is almost $2 trillion.

The German funnel - Germany, Austria, the Benelux countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Hungary and Switzerland (the latter is part of this cluster, as is Norway). GDP is $8.5 trillion.

As you can see, the principle of building funnels is quite similar. There is an axial country, a kind of core of the formation. These are Sweden and Germany, respectively. There is a group of small countries. There are workhorses. And there are non-EU countries that perform specific functions in the context of productive forces:

Norway - natural resources and, in the future, the Northern Trade Route.

Switzerland is a financial and corporate hub.

What is interesting. Countries such as Italy, France, and the United Kingdom (which has left the EU) are becoming peripheral and transit economies of the eurozone. The Iberian countries and the Balkans are moving to the same format.

Thus, Europe will develop due to the dynamics of Germany and its zone of influence, as well as Scandinavia with its cluster. At the expense of the human resources of the Global South (Africa, Asia) and Eastern Europe. What is important. This model does not yet include the "Ukrainian project of the West," as the postwar restoration of Ukraine is sometimes called.

Perhaps the test of Ukraine's geopolitical subjectivity will be in the successful completion of the war and the ability to pull Belarus out from under Russia's geopolitical influence.

Hard Lessons from History

The Ukrainian geopolitician Yuriy Lypa formulated the Black Sea Doctrine for Ukraine, in which geopolitical unification took place between the Black Sea states and Ukraine was the axial country. 

This is, in fact, a historical project "B" for Ukraine. Project A was Bohdan Khmelnytsky's model of unification with Russia and Belarus. But in his concept, option A was valid only as long as Moscow did not violate Ukraine's rights and freedoms. Otherwise, option "B" would come into play. It had to be formulated by the next Hetman of Ukraine, Ivan Vyhovsky, who in the Hadyach Treaty joined the union of the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Grand Duchy of Rus (Hetmanate). 

It also included the restoration of Polish "Prometheanism" and Jozef Pilsudski's geopolitical doctrine of the "intermarium" - a partnership of countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

It is also the concept of a union of the countries of the Adriatic, Baltic, and Black Seas, or the concept of Polish politician and writer Jerzy Giedroyc, a partnership between Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Belarus.

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