Baltic Rim Economies 3/2022

Special issue on Kaliningrad

Published on the 2nd of June 2022

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

Baltic Rim Economies 3/2022 includes the following Expert articles

Vladimir Kolosov: Border location and the attractiveness of Kaliningrad

Iwona Wiśniewska: Kaliningrad on the Silk Railroad

Dominik P. Jankowski: The Kaliningrad Oblast: Baltic Sea Fortress

Viljar Veebel: Strategic role of Kaliningrad after outbreak of war in Ukraine

Kalev Stoicescu: Kaliningrad – Russia’s military outpost in the Baltic region

Marek Żyła: The geostrategic context of the Kaliningrad region

Anna-Sophie Maass: The spectre of (in)security in Kaliningrad

Nadezhda V. Samsonova: University Center for mediation and conflict studies

Aleksandr Shchekoturov: Identity and historical memory of Kaliningrad citizens

Greg Simons: Kaliningrad’s regional identity and purpose as a window to Russia’s relations with the West

Andrey Mikhaylov & Anna Mikhaylova: Knowledge production capacity of exclaves: The case of the Kaliningrad region

Maciej Tarkowski: Regional smart specialisation strategies implementation: Lessons for the Kaliningrad Region

Olga Vinogradova: The land use system of the Kaliningrad region

Vitaly Zhdanov: Experimental laboratory of modern Russia

Alexander G. Druzhinin & Olga V. Kuznetsova: The exclave region in the regional policy of Russia

Salavat Abylkalikov: Kaliningrad region is among the Russian regions with highest population growth: What is the secret/reason?

Göran Roos: Basis for economic growth in Kaliningrad

Mikhail Plyukhin: Kaliningrad SEZ: Classification of legal regimes

Anna Belova & Nikolay Belov: Towards Green Economy: Carbon polygon in Kaliningrad region

Eduardas Spiriajevas: Tourism as a spatial construct in cross-border cooperation between Kaliningrad Oblast, Lithuania and Poland

Artur Usanov: Kaliningrad’s amber

Maria Zotova: The Kaliningrad region and neighbors: Objective indicators and subjective assessments of well-being

Jukka Mallinen: Kaliningrad – Far away and alone

Stepan Zemtsov & Vyacheslav Baburin: Kaliningrad region in ‘core-periphery’ spatial hierarchy

Hanna Mäkinen: Kaliningrad – increasing isolation

Ksenia D. Shelest: Transport accessibility of Kaliningrad region and geopolitical unsustainability

Katarzyna Maria Bartnik & Łukasz Bielewski: The Poland-Russia CBC: Great legacy, uncertain future

Krzysztof Żęgota: Experience in introduction of cross-border cooperation programmes at Polish-Russian border in years 2014-2020

Arkadiusz Żukowski & Wojciech Tomasz Modzelewski: The Polish-Russian border region – cooperation?

Andrzej Jarynowski: Disconnecting the Kaliningrad oblast and new threats from Polish perspective

Mikhail Drobiz: Kaliningrad and Kant

Kari Liuhto: The Iron Sarcophagus lands over the Kaliningrad region