The Living Force
And also, as it can be seen on the world map. It is a narrow strip of Earth through which the route connects Europe with the Middle East and India overland.
And for a bit more about Moscow's inheritance from Rome, here's an article that makes use of history to shine a light on Russia's ideas about its responsibilities, identity, and destiny, with implications for a battle in Odessa, by Pepe Escobar.
Western Europeans see the Orthodox and eastern Christians as satraps and a bunch of smugglers, while the Orthodox regard the Crusaders as barbarian usurpers bent on world conquest. Under an ubiquitous, toxic atmosphere of cognitive dissonance...