The 2014 Winter Olympics. The 1945 Yalta Conference. Anton Chekhov’s 1899 story “The Lady With the Dog.” These are but a few testaments to the enduring geopolitical and cultural significance of the Black Sea. But the region’s history isn’t all sports, seaside romances and peace negotiations – far from it. Over the centuries, the Black Sea has time and again been the focus of competition and conflict as its littoral states, namely Russia and Turkey, vie to protect critical security interests there. These powers and others have fought over, won and lost territory in and around the sea – some of them more than once. And as Russia’s interventions in the Crimean Peninsula and in Georgia attest, the struggle is alive and well in the 21st century. This Deep Dive will look at why the Black Sea and its surrounding shores have been the subject of so much strife and how the power distribution among its littoral states today propagates the cycle of conflict.