June 28, 2018 - Cyrille Bret
June 28, 2018 - Cyrille Bret
Kaliningrad Oblast – Russia`s westernmost region physically separated from the mainland – has reappeared in the forefront of international security-related discourse. Liberated from virtually complete isolation with the fall of the Soviet Union, this territory was hoped to soon turn into a prosperous “bridge of co-operation” between Russia and the West.
August 2, 2017 - Sergey Sukhankin
This article originally appeared in "Meanwhile in the Baltics...", a collection of articles written by the graduates of 2016 Solidarity Academy - Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue, organised by the European Solidarity Centre in partnership with the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
May 11, 2017 - Dorian Jędrasiewicz
In 1855 a notorious ultra-conservative Ukrainophobe Count Peter Valuev, disgruntled with the humiliating experience of the Crimean War (1853–56) and the crumbling façade of the Russian imperial court, came up with a sobering essay, in which he rightfully captured the real state of affairs in 19th century Russia: “on the surface - glitter, inside - rot”. Indeed, it would not be a mistake to argue that the events that have befallen Kaliningrad over the past several months have made this formula fully applicable to this westernmost Russian region; in a sense summarizing the twenty five years of its post-Soviet development. This analysis seeks to provide an answer for the following question: does the image of Kaliningrad, as presented by Russian mass media and officials, have much in common with the reality?
October 20, 2016 - Sergey Sukhankin
One would find it hard to name a part of the former Soviet Union, where high expectations and great potential have been wasted so miserably as in the tiny Russian “island” situated in the heart of Europe – the Kaliningrad Oblast. Amidst tumultuous 1990s many romantically predicted that Kaliningrad would soon become either a “Baltic Hong Kong” or the “Fourth Baltic Republic.” The past twenty five years have dispelled these sentiments leaving instead merely one word applicable to the current situation of Kaliningrad – disappointment. What are the reasons of such an inglorious outcome and how is it possible that an area bordering dynamically developing members of the European Union is now reduced to the doles of Moscow in exchange for being a “scarecrow of Europe”?
July 29, 2016 - Sergey Sukhankin
In the 19th century a system of fortifications was built around Königsberg (today’s Kaliningrad), the capital of East Prussia, with the aim of making the city impenetrable. This is how the “fortress city” came into being. However, the surrounding net of forts, bastions and barracks did not manage to defend the city during the Second World War. Faced by new military technology, the 19th-century fortifications proved to be of little use. After the Second World War, the part of East Prussia with the capital fell in the hands of Stalin. After considering several different options, including the incorporation of the territory into Polish People’s Republic or Soviet Lithuania, the leadership of the Soviet Union decided to separate the fragment of East Prussia with Kaliningrad and turn it into a closed military zone. This is how the Kaliningrad Oblast was created, becoming the strategic westernmost bridgehead of the USSR.
July 7, 2016 - Paulina Siegień