Caspian – uncharted waters

Justyna Mielnikiewicz

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously described as the world’s largest lake or a sea. Over 130 rivers provide inflow to the Caspian, with the Volga River being the largest. The Caspian Sea is growing in importance as a major economic world asset loaded with immense gas and oil resources, which are only beginning to be fully realized. The legal status of the Caspian Sea remains a key problem since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Negotiations related to the demarcation of the Caspian Sea have been going on among the states which border the Caspian: Iran, Russia and three independent countries which emerged after Soviet Union fell apart – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Negotiations and possible resolutions for years were heavily influenced by international politics and ever changing alliances formed between both -local and international actors having their various interests in the region.

The final decision on the determination of the Caspian Sea legal status might finally be reached in September 2017 in Iran. The 50th meeting of the special working group on the development of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea at the level of deputy foreign ministers of the Caspian states is scheduled for that time.

My story  is a visual primer of the nations of the Caspian Sea. My work focuses on the relationship between people and the seaside reality. From a wander’s viewpoint, these images introduce the audience to the Caspian region, an area whose significance has dramatically increased as Europe actively seeks alternative energy resources.

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