Baltic Rim Economies

Baltic Rim Economies 3/2022 is published

Special issue on Kaliningrad

Highlights of this issue:

Border location and the attractiveness of Kaliningrad

“How do the inhabitants of Kaliningrad perceive its specific geographical location and the increased difficulties in communication with the main territory of Russia? Did Kaliningraders consider the exclave position an advantage or a source of inconvenience? The most objective indicator is population dynamics. The positive balance of migrations offsets the natural decline, and even in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic caused a significant increase in mortality worldwide, the Kaliningrad oblast remained one of six Russian regions out of 85 where the population continued to grow. According to a survey conducted in early 2020 (N=1,000), only 53% of the inhabitants were born in the oblast, 27% settled in it after the collapse of the USSR. Kaliningrad is one of the main destinations for the repatriation of the Russian-speaking population from the countries of the former Soviet Union: of those born outside the exclave, 41% came from Kazakhstan, the Central Asian republics, Ukraine and Belarus. According to focus group participants in Kaliningrad, Sovetsk and Mamonovo, recent migrants do not feel like outsiders.”

Vladimir Kolosov
Deputy Director and Head of Laboratory of Geopolitical Studies
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences

Kaliningrad on the Silk Railroad

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shaken logistic chains and has also hit the container rail transport between China and Europe, passing through Russia, including the Kaliningrad region. The future of the rail link developed for more than a decade by the PRC has come into question.”

Iwona Wiśniewska
Senior Fellow
Russian Department, Centre for Eastern Studies
Warsaw, Poland

The Kaliningrad Oblast: Baltic Sea Fortress

“Over the last years, the Kaliningrad Oblast became a true fortress in the Baltic Sea region. To achieve this status Moscow set two major objectives of its policy towards the oblast. First, to further tighten its control over the region and its links to mainland Russia in the political, social, and economic dimension. Second, to step up efforts to modernise and expand the Russian military potential. Both goals were largely achieved which led to an increased economic and social isolation of the Kaliningrad Oblast in the wider Baltic Sea region.”

Dominik P. Jankowski
Political Adviser/Head of the Political Section
Permanent Delegation of Poland to NATO

Strategic role of Kaliningrad after outbreak of war in Ukraine

“Security threats posed by both geographic location and military potential of Russia’s Western enclave, the Kaliningrad region that shares a border with Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea, but has no common border with Russia, have troubled the West for many decades since 1991. So far, Russia has used the Kaliningrad-argument as a “trump card” to threaten the West with conflict escalation in Baltic region when preferred by Russia[i]. However, the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February 2022 has dramatically changed the situation, as Kaliningrad has no further strategic value for Russia as a place for conflict escalation with West, because it is hard to top all aggressive action done by Russia already did in Ukraine. In changed circumstances Kaliningrad might for Russia no be seen not as asset for threatening West, but as an enclave under economic and political risks of embargo from West.”

Viljar Veebel
Researcher on Russia and Eastern European Studies
Baltic Defence College

Read all Expert articles of issue 3/2022

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To receive the Baltic Rim Economies review free of charge, you may register to the mailing list.
The review is published 4-6 times a year.

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