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What should happen with Kaliningrad?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2003 09:32 pm
Kaliningrad is the Russian enclave at the Baltic Sea, squeezed in between Lithuania and Poland, which both now have joined the EU. Which constitutes something of a pickle for all parties involved.

Kaliningrad is a big port town, and used to be a major marine base for the Soviet army, and largely closed for outsiders. Now the marine has been mostly pulled out from there (apart from being in a dismal state in any case), and none of the rest of the legacy of the Soviet industrial-military complex there has much to offer the city's inhabitants in terms of jobs, income, prospects. As a result, the place is a bit notorious as a hotbed of organised crime, smuggling and human trafficking.

Now that Lithuania and Poland have joined the EU, however, border controls will be significantly strengthened. This again puts the Kaliningrad population in trouble, as they would suddenly need hard-to-obtain visa to cross over into the rest of their own country on visits. After Russia had initially held out for some kind of transit zone through Lithuania (which would have reminded Balts most unpleasantly of the 'concessions' their governments had been forced to make after 1939), Russia and the EU have now achieved an agreement on a low-threshhold transit-pass system for the Kaliningraders. But the long-term question remains. What are the future prospects for this derelict outpost of the Russian Federation? See the poll.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 11,202 • Replies: 88
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2003 09:49 pm
I really don't have any idea, but I liked the sound of that first option....
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2003 10:03 pm
hello! i just said hi and thanks to you in that other thread i just started in "international news", my first here. all well w/you?

that's a squashed fairie, isn't it? <big grin> anastasia loves those ... i do, by now, too ... you know they even have tarot-ish cards of them?

anyway, yes, the options in the poll are not necessarily realistic in the current situation, but more like a first, sketchy attempt to come up with some imaginitive options for the future (& they're not all equally serious, obviously) - because one thing is sure, in this issue, i think: states and administrations will have to jump over/beyond their own shadow and 'think outside the box', if they're going to come up with a satisfactory, lasting solution for this political-territorial curiosity.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2003 10:04 pm
So howdja figure they'd get rich with option (is it 3?) ?
None of the options quite work for me, tho going back to using Konigsberg would be nice. So many family stories would make a lot more sense.

littlek, you'd love the area (not Kaliningrad itself, it's a horribly depressed, dirty dump). It looks much like the cape - lots of beautiful sand dunes. I've seen a few, very few, pix of what it looked like before the second world war - it was once a beautiful place. Gorgeous aspens, promenades on the Baltic. All gone.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2003 10:08 pm
hmmmmm, i actually do like option 4, especially if the options included being attached politically to Lithuania. It makes no sense to have any attachment to Eastern Europe - there's no real connection. It's a Baltic city and should be attached to a Baltic nation.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Jan, 2003 11:18 pm
I'm good nimh - leave it to you and Anastasia to know the pressed faries. I have two books (but not the newest revision) and a calendar. I did not know they had cards - brilliant!

I have a store of scanned faries on my website. So... if stasia wants to sign up and needs an avatar.....
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 12:14 pm
Nimh, you have a way of making me realize just how ignorant I am about the rest of the world. I don't know anything about politics in the Netherlands and, while I'd heard of Kaliningrad, I had no idea of where it was located.

I found an interesting site: http://www.castlesofpoland.com/prusy/krol_hist_en.htm.

Truly fascinating that the Amber Room came from there. That is a great and ongoing mystery.

As for your poll:
the first choice seems logical, but
the fourth choice appeals to my sense of fairness and
the sixth choice is fairly obvious--you do have fun, don't you?

How bad is the port? Any possibility of enough inprovement to attract business or industry, maybe some resorts?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 12:50 pm
This site gives some information and photos, with a - IMHO - strong 'german-westerly' view:

Kalingrad


Diane

Some photos of the port are on this (German) site:

Kalingrad port
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 12:54 pm
Since you never know, how long this article will be online, I' copied it

"Rosbalt, 08/01/2003
Kaliningrad - Russia in Europe?
What will the European Union's expansion bring the Kaliningrad Region: a moral and economic slump, as Kaliningrad's residents fear, or a wonderful opportunity to outstrip the rest of Russia in economic development and the building of a civic democratic society? And what factors will determine which way the Russian exclave turns?
Political analyst Solomon Ginzburg gives his thoughts on these questions in an interview for Rosbalt.

- Almost three years have passed since the concept of a 'pilot' region - a region of cooperation between the West and the East - was first mentioned by Vladimir Putin, then still Russian Prime Minister, at the EU-Russia summit in Helsinki. However, this concept has not been included in a single official document, has not been elaborated further, and, needless to say, has not been put into action. Why do you think that is?

- There's no question that a special Kaliningrad project, which would not only allow the Kaliningrad Region to be worked into the new economic, political and social context, but would also enable 'Mother' Russia to move closer to Europe in practical terms, would have excellent prospects. But for this the Kremlin's policies must in practice be concerned first and foremost with the details of Russia's economic modernisation, and not with outdated and clearly unattainable hopes based on its status as a great power.

Russia can be cured of this 'superpower' disease, which places it in confrontation with other countries, by developed democracy and a flourishing economy. This is what enabled Germany to forget its obsession with a 'special path' after World War Two.
We can also learn from Japan's experience. The country's decision to reject isolationism and xenophobia, to forgo military might, and to turn towards the West while still preserving its own national and cultural traditions has proved to be highly fruitful. The Japanese have learnt not to sacrifice freedom and individual rights in the name of 'order'. This is why, as I see it, we should speak not about Russia's 'special' path, but about its special responsibility to itself and its citizens.

In this context the results of the recent summit in Brussels, which was devoted to the Kaliningrad problem, are highly pertinent. The summit showed that the two sides are still only pretending to resolve the problem. The EU pretends that it has made a concession to Russia, and Russia pretends that it has stood up for its national interests. The results of the Brussels summit should more correctly be called not a 'strategic success', but a deferred compromise.
And yet, to my mind, the idea of a 'pilot' region is a sensible step towards a satisfactory denouement of our relations.

- It seems that some politicians are terrified by the thought that the Kaliningrad Region might become closer to Europe. They reap political dividends from the persisting 'cold war' mentality of the region's population:

- In the interest of fairness, we should acknowledge that the EU has contributed to this. On the eve of the summit in Brussels, the EU's stubborn refusal to make any form of compromise regarding the question of a visa-free regime for residents of the Kaliningrad Region very nearly led to a violation of the constitutional right of Russians to freedom of movement, which is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
However, I believe that attempts by a few politicians, particularly State Duma deputies, to stoke a mood of revenge under the cover of defending the interests of Kaliningrad's residents, and to accuse the EU of secret attempts to tear Kaliningrad away from Russia are unacceptable. Such a position threatens the whole architecture of our relations with Europe.

It is irresponsible to exploit so-called territorial problems, and to use such spectres of the past as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to further these aims. This page in European history has been turned down forever and should not even hypothetically influence the development of foreign policy.
Russia's sovereignty over the Kaliningrad Region is unquestionable and should not be a matter for public debate of any kind. However, the Kaliningrad problem needs to be resolved before Poland and Lithuania are admitted into the EU. That said, both the EU and Russia must show not only a readiness to make compromises, but also the political will to do so.

In this light, I think that in the first half of 2003 both the regional and federal authorities would be wise to concentrate - as a minimum - on five tasks, the completion of which would help to find a solution to the Kaliningrad conundrum.
Firstly, we should strive to ensure that all residents of the Kaliningrad Region are given free Russian external passports. The costs of this should be born by the federal government and the EU.
Secondly, we should propose to the EU that all residents of the Kaliningrad Region are given the right to receive multiple-entry, long-term Schengen visas according to a simplified process. The right to use visa-free trains should be extended to relatives of residents of the Kaliningrad Region living in Russia's main territory. It would be worthwhile recommending that the EU issues visas to Kaliningrad residents at their own expense and completes this process by the time Poland and Lithuania join the union.

As a gesture in return, Russia could introduce a less strict visa regime for countries signed up to the Schengen Agreement. I think it is also essential that Russia presents the 'G8' and the EU with a draft agreement 'On the Development of the Kaliningrad Region in the New Geo-economic and Geopolitical Conditions'. As well as the visa issue, the agreement should include more important social and economic aspects (standards, freight transit, the environment, fishing, customs and border procedures etc.).
Russia and the EU should together establish a Russian-European fund for the development of the Kaliningrad Region, above all the small and medium-sized business sector. The regional authorities must insist on this.

- As I understand it, your 'prescriptions' are aimed at breaking down the wall separating Russia from Europe, are they not?

- You're right. In 2002 Kaliningrad firmly established itself on the political map. However, it is necessary to go further, to take the next steps. Our European future should be recognised both by the political elite and society as a whole. Sensible people can be united on the pragmatic basis of returning to Europe and raising the standard of living. The results of 2003's parliamentary elections will make clear which direction the region and Russia are headed in - towards genuine European-style freedom, or Asian-style managed democracy.

As far as Kaliningrad is concerned, the federal bureaucracy must rid itself of the illusion that Kaliningrad's residents are its servants, ready to jump up at a whistle and do its bidding. The community can be consolidated and given direction by developing the region in a pilot regime, ensuring a decent standard of living, and promoting an ideology of healthy regional egoism. This will also serve to oppose negative phenomena such as separatism. The political will of our leaders will play an important role in solving these problems.

- The region's image will play a major role in its closer ties with Europe. Over the last few years this image has been considerably tarnished by regional squabbles, and rumours of extremely high levels of crime and AIDS. In your opinion, can it be repaired?

- The region's former leadership did not stand up to any criticism of its image. However today, the region has a new face, which is met with more good will. This factor should be put to as good use as possible. It takes a long time to form an image. It is a lengthy process. You need to develop each resident's sense of civic responsibility for the way the region is seen. Any sensible Kaliningrad resident should understand that people's attitudes towards an individual person are to a large extent defined by their attitudes towards the land where that person lives. This is why we need a carefully thought-out national policy aimed at developing out image - a policy extending from the mass media to personal contacts.

The slogan 'Russia in Europe' could be an effective brand, a trademark for the Kaliningrad Region. I believe that realizing the idea of 'a European life in Russia' would be a powerful consolidating start.

The interview was conducted by Roman Svetlov, Kaliningrad
Translated by Robin Jones "

http://www.rosbaltnews.com
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 01:03 pm
Oh the castle! Makes me so sad - 700 years old and knocked down in, what, a day?
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 01:14 pm
It's so sad. I don't think i could go there. I've said i'd want to, but i think it would be too sad.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 01:15 pm
Some of the gothic architecture there was stunning.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 01:54 pm
This is a Russian, but very objective site:

Kaliningrad/Königsberg Welcome Site
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 03:17 pm
The legends there in that Russian link are cool.
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 04:28 pm
Thank you, Walter, I didn't even know that it is a part of Belarus.

The pitures of the port are beautiful and make me wonder if the funding mentioned in one of the articles (if it comes through) would be enough to clean it up to the point of it's becoming a destination for people wanting a nice resort/vacation area.

Getting back to the poll:

Under #1--I'm not sure I understand the meaning. Would it be an independent state, not under anyone's rule?

What are the implications of #2? If it became a free trade zone, with the crime problem as bad as it is, wouldn't it be dangerous or would it provide enough incentive for legitimate business to move in successfully, replacing or reducing organized crime?

I still like #4, but doubt there is much chance of that happening unless there were distinct advantages for Russia and I don't understand what they would be.

These questions are embarrassing because they really reveal my ignorance of European politics, but I would like to understand if you agree to be patient with me.

Then there is #6. I think you should let us vote for two choices. LOL
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 05:26 pm
KALININGRAD
just joined the discussion group. this indeed a very interesting question - and even more difficult to answer. of course it was german at one time, but many differrent tribes have occupied this area over the centuries. does any group have a priority right to it? what would be a "reasonable" solution given the conflicting demands of different nations. my historical atlas shows that this area was inhabited by the "pruss" around the year 1000. prussia developed out of this but the land known as GERMANIA(and today germany > deutschland) was further to the west along the rhine river i believe(i think this needs some further reading and discussion). perhaps poland might have quite a legitimate claim to kaliningrad and the surrounding area - a look at the map might confirm this. many polish people lived in the area for centuries, even though they would have been german citizens. to be a little less serious, it is now again possible to travel fairly freely in the area. even the orient-express makes several excursions annually into the area(it is often described as MASUREN). the google site +deutschland+bahnreisen+ostpreussen has some interesting information. well, i'll check later to see what comments are coming up!
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 05:46 pm
History provides strong German claim, but I vote for Self-Determination. Personally, I feel a Free Trade Zone offers both the citizens of Kaliningrad and the populace of the region greatest benefit, but it should be up to the Kaliningradders. I more suspect, however, the matter will be decided by Belarus.


Hi, Hamburger! Welcome. Hurry up with those comments.

If you'd like a little help gettin' around here at A2K, just click on the links to The FAQ and the Help Forum down at the bottom of my signature box. See ya on the boards.



timber
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 05:54 pm
http://www.ostsicht.de/images/cd04/cd04070.jpg

littlek - found some birches in the dunes near Konigsberg/Kaliningrad in one of Walter's links

Walter - thanks for all those links - i'm slowly trolling through them.

Diane - isn't the Amber Room amazing! Maybe hamburger ( i know him as Dad ) can find the links to the Amber Room he sent me in the past.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 05:58 pm
following Hamburger's clue to links about the Orient Express travelling to Masuren brought me to ... this site and this pic
http://www.orient-express.de/images/Marienburg-Festung.jpg of a view from the train (i believe this is Marienburg)
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jan, 2003 06:10 pm
Welcome hamburger!!! Ehbeth's father is welcome anywhere, but especially here. We've heard lots of nice things about you and Mrs. hamburger.

Looking forward to the sites you find.

Beth, those are lovely.

Walter, how much choice does Kaliningrad have? Doesn't Belarus have final say?
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