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The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Challenges and limits of its integration in the Baltic region

L’exclave russe de Kaliningrad. Défis et limites de son intégration dans la région baltique
Yann Richard, Alexander Sebentsov et Maria Zotova


Fondé principalement sur une recherche de terrain réalisée en 2012 par une équipe internationale, cet article vise à mieux comprendre pourquoi il semble si difficile à Kaliningrad de s’intégrer totalement dans la région baltique, en dépit du fait que les conditions économiques et sociales semblent réunies pour permettre le développement de la coopération transfrontalière et régionale. Le relatif isolement de Kaliningrad du reste de la région baltique est causé par son statut particulier au cœur d’une mésentente entre la Russie et l’Union européenne et par un contexte politique et institutionnel peu favorable. D’autres raisons purement locales sont à l’origine de cette situation. La faible intégration de Kaliningrad dans les réseaux d’échanges baltiques est due entre autres à la persistance d’orientations géopolitiques et de représentations antagonistes dans les opinions publiques tant du côté russe que du côté polonais et lituanien.

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Notes de l’auteur

The article was written with the support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR-National Research Centre project No. 12-06-91052).

Texte intégral

1Since the collapse of the Soviet Union much scientific literature has been produced about the Oblast of Kaliningrad. The available scientific production follows various directions. Most of the times, in the framework of geopolitical and international relations approaches, Kaliningrad is presented as a major issue in the relations between Russia and the European Union, especially since the Oblast is totally surrounded by European Union member countries (since 2004). In a recent paper, Diener and Hagen ask whether Kaliningrad, thanks to its unique situation as an exclave/enclave (Tétart, 2005 ; Archer and Etzold, 2010), could boost productive exchange and dialogue between Russia, the EU, Poland and Lithuania and if it would help Russia adopt a more European approach in various foreign policy issues (Diener, Hagen, 2011). More generally, Browning and Joenniemi think that marginal places can exert a strong influence on international affairs, contributing to set local and regional agendas and eventually “shaping the environment of regional and international politics” and “the development of EU–Russian relations and their subjectivities” (Browning and Joenniemi, 2008). In a critical geopolitical approach, Pami Aalto had previously demonstrated that Kaliningrad can become an opportunity for the EU to consolidate its geopolitical subjectivity, in the wider context of its relation with Russia (Aalto, 2002). This idea was also developed by Browning in a paper published later: according to him, the Kaliningrad issue is an opportunity for the EU to reconsider its conception of the border, considered not as a line of exclusion anymore but as a zone of contact and interaction, blurring the distinction between the inside and the outside (Browning, 2003). In this line of thought, and according to D. Trenin, Kaliningrad is nothing less than “a natural laboratory for EU-Russia relations” (Trenin, 2002).

2Russian experts consider the Kaliningrad region at the same time as an exclave of Russia (between Poland and Lithuania) and as a semi-enclave of the European Union (Vinokurov, 2007). Yet the prospects for cooperation between the region and neighbouring communities in Poland and Lithuania, which once constituted an integrated social, economic and political space, remain unclear. Media analysts and scholars tend to view the Kaliningrad region as a “double periphery” – if not a geopolitical hostage (Lopata, 2005)–, since it is excluded from major modernization processes both in the European integration area and in the Russian Federation.

3In this particular context, the situation of Kaliningrad is strongly influenced by several matters: its status as a Russian military facility isolates the Oblast from the surrounding countries and it hampers its social and economic development (Wellmann, 1998; Krickus, 2002 ; Misiunas, 2004). More importantly, Moscow feels very much concerned by Kaliningrad’s relation with neighbouring European countries and regions because it lacks experience with decentralization and it fears possible secessionism of this Baltic territory (Kulhanek, 2010; Misiunas, 2004). In fact, despite substantial efforts made by the Russian government since the 1990s (notably the creation of a free economic zone; see Zverev, 2007), it appears that there will be no solid and sustainable economic development for Kaliningrad without a deeper and stronger integration in the Baltic region (Oldberg, 2000). Only integration could help the Oblast take advantage from the economic dynamism of this region.

4Building on the existing scientific production, and based on a field research carried out in 2012, this paper aims to understand why it seems so difficult for Kaliningrad to get fully integrated in the Baltic region. The poor development of Kaliningrad’s exchanges with the neighbouring countries of the Baltic region is caused by its particular status as a subject of disagreement between Russia and the European Union and by institutional policy. But there are also purely local reasons for that situation. The integration of Kaliningrad in Baltic exchange networks is also caused by the persistence of adverse geopolitical orientations in the local populations and persistent stereotypes in the public opinion.

5In the first section, we propose a presentation of the concept of regional integration, with a special stress on the new regionalism approach, and we underline how it can be applied to the case study of Kaliningrad. In the second section, we try to show how this particular region turned into a double periphery of Russia and the EU and how this situation hampers its integration in the Baltic region. We present an analysis of the stages of the region’s exclavisation, since the Russian policies of social support stem from this particular status. We also present the negative perception of Kaliningrad in the EU at the institutional level, which partially explains, together with various obstacles, the poor development of cross-border cooperation with Poland and Lithuania. The third part is dedicated to a detailed study based on the use of multilevel socioeconomic indices. In a comparative approach, we analyze the socioeconomic situation and standards of living in the Kaliningrad region and in the neighbouring communities of Poland and Lithuania. This comparison highlights the prerequisites for mutually beneficial interregional cooperation. This section is aimed at highlighting a paradox: the local socioeconomic context seems favourable to cooperation and better regional integration; but it is hampered by negative geopolitical perceptions and mental barriers.

1. Regional integration as a top-down and bottom-up process at the crossroads of institutions, representations and practices

  • 1 For an extensive presentation of this concept in sociological approaches, see Social Integration: A (...)

6The word “integration” refers to various processes: first, the inclusion of an element in a system to which it eventually happens to belong; the growing relations and interdependence between elements originally separated which finally constitute a unique whole. We speak for example of social integration to refer to the process whereby international migrants, peacefully and more or less rapidly, establish strong links with a host society. In this case, integration does not mean the abolition of the characteristics of the person, but the adoption of the values and standards in force in the host society and a dense network of social interactions. More generally, one talks about social integration when people from diverse social, cultural or professional origins eventually estimate that they belong to the same company and when they step by step form a new whole1. As Durkheim already pointed out in his work, social integration (i.e. the attachment of an individual to its social group) means that individuals finally share norms, beliefs and values, resulting in a collective consciousness based on daily social interactions.

7In various disciplines, one can speak of regional integration to designate the formation of regional groupings of various sizes. Since the 1950s, most scientific literature dedicated to this research topic has been provided by economists and specialists in international relations who usually present the regional integration as a state-centered, top-down process led by governments (Balassa, 1961; Baldwin, 1997; Frankel, 1998; Haas, 1958; Hoffmann, 1990; Moravcik, 1993; Nye, 1968; Viner, 1950) who decide to sign regional agreements (generally trade agreements). Integration is thus based on the growing cooperation between more or less contiguous states in various domains and sometimes on the establishment of common supranational institutions. In these academic disciplines, mainstream research is mainly oriented towards the construction of large groupings such as the European Union, the NAFTA, the ASEAN, the Mercosur, etc. These macroregional ensembles finally happen to form an intermediate territorial framework between the local/national and global levels.

8Sociology (Saurugger, 2008) and more recently geography (Beckouche, 2008; Didelon, Grasland, 2007; O’Loughlin, Anselin, 1996; O’Loughlin, Van der Wusten, 1990; Poon, Thompson, Kelly, 2000; Richard, Zanin, 2009; Taglioni, Théodat, 2008; Taillard, 2004) participate in the renewal of the scientific debates on regional integration. Examples include the pioneering work of Ernst Haas and Amitai Etzioni who paid attention to the role of elites in regional integration in Europe (Haas, 1958) and in other parts of the world (Etzioni, 1965). New approaches were developed in recent researches dedicated to the construction of the European Union (Guiraudon, 2000; Rumford, 2002; Smith, 2004; Manners, 2006; Favell, 2008), standing out from political and economic mainstream approaches. Setting out bottom-up approaches, they are less focused on the actions of institutions and governments than on the behaviour of individuals or non-governmental and non-institutional collective actors (Smith 2004; Rumsford 2002; Saurugger, 2008).

9A renewal of the debate comes from the new regionalism approach as well, in particular the work of B. Hettne and F. Söderbaum (Hettne, Söderbaum, 1998, 2000). Without neglecting the actions of governments and public institutions, they argue that it is also necessary to pay attention to informal forms of regional integration initiated and eventually consolidated by non-state actors (transnational actors in particular). They particularly put the stress on non-institutionalized and even unintentional integration processes, pointing at the formation of functional regions, that is territorial systems based on various types of social interactions at different scales. They view regional integration, which gives shape to regions, as something in the making and they assume that the internal organisation and the limits of the considered regional ensemble are then in perpetual motion. This theoretical renewal is rooted in social constructivism, which poses that any region is a social construct in perpetual becoming. It means that the resulting political communities never come out of a hat (Vayrÿnen, 2003). To the contrary, they are constructions based on networks of contingent social relations that deploy at different scales. Such an approach shows the interest of putting individual players, their behaviour and their representations at the very heart of the analysis. The concept of regionness is very central to Hettne and Söderbaum’s research (Hettne, Söderbaum, 1998, 2000). Resulting from the contingent – and not necessarily irreversible – combination of global, regional, national and local forces, regional integration designates the rise from a lower to a higher level of regionness. This rise in the scale of regional integration means that the process of integration is the one whereby a portion of space, regardless of its size, is gradually “filled” by enough economic, institutional, political, cultural, identity and substance to become one system distinct from the others and be eventually perceived as such. It supposes that the social actors involved in the process finally happen to share common representations.

10Building on this work, we can assume that the intensity of social interactions is at least as important as the political impetus given by governments to regional integration. Besides, regional integration, regardless of the size of the territorial systems considered, is a process driven by the interactions between actors at all levels, from the individual and other non-state actors to the international organizations. As a result, when we question the possible integration of the Kaliningrad Oblast in the Baltic region, it is essential to capture the behaviour of these actors – local populations, involved public institutions (from the local to the national and even European levels) – and the representations that determine their behaviour. In the following sections, we will thus consider several actors in a multi-scalar analysis and how they are involved in the integration of Kaliningrad in the Baltic region. In a first step, we take a look at the process whereby Kaliningrad has become a double periphery of Russia and the EU because of its particular geographical position and geopolitical situation. In a word, Kaliningrad suffers from contradictions and disagreements in the Russia-EU relation. In a second step, we go down to the local level. We observe the practices of non-institutional actors and individuals in a context theoretically favourable to better cooperation and integration.

2. The gradual exclavisation of Kaliningrad as a double periphery of Russia and the EU

11An analysis of the stages of the region’s exclavisation and policies of social support stemming from the uniqueness of the economic and geographical position of the region shows the specificity of the region and the difficulties of its integration in the Baltic region. Exclavity of the Kaliningrad region has been developing over time.

The geopolitical context and the emergence of barriers: two major steps

12The first stage (1990s) is connected to the process of state building in Lithuania and Belarus. The emergence of actual barriers as a result of the introduction of border and customs control, customs duties and visa fees made import and export of products more time- and money-consuming. It accelerated the rupture of international production ties. The situation also deteriorated owing to the region’s high dependency on power and fuel supply from the neighbouring countries, as well as the transit of Russian energy carriers via their territory. It led to a deep recession in the industries vital for the regions – mechanical engineering, pulp and paper industry, fisheries, etc. The population was mostly affected by the economic consequences of the region’s exclavisation, although travel across the new Russian-Lithuanian border remained free.

  • 2 Since 2002, land transit to the Kaliningrad region via Lithuania has been possible with the simplif (...)

13At the second stage (2000s), the exclavity resulted from Euro-Atlantic integration extending to the bordering regions, which led to the emergence of new customs and border barriers both for the population and economic entities of the region. Thus, if previously residents of the Kaliningrad region could visit Poland and Lithuania without a visa2 and only with their national passports, in 2003, such travel required a special visa (at that point, however, people were issued multi-entry visas for free). Special transit documents for railway and other land transportation were issued for transit to Russia and back. In 2005, transit to Russia already required a foreign passport (except for air and ferry travel). The isolation from mainland Russia was gradually increasing and began to affect the life of the region’s residents.

14The federal and regional authorities made efforts to mitigate the exclavisation process through diplomatic measures, as well as developing and adopting a number of regional and federal regulations. The region was granted significant preferences in terms of taxes and customs duties, as well as transport support (subsidies for air travel, compensations for expenditure on gas transit via Belarus and Lithuania, etc.). The establishment of the Yantar free economic zone on the territory of the region in 1991 and the confirmation of the special economic zone (SEZ) status in 1996 made it possible to import raw materials and intermediate goods and export finished goods duty free under the condition that the value added in the region accounted for at least 30 % (15 % for electronics and household appliances). As a result, the region developed large automotive, electronics, and electro-technical clusters based on the import substitution principle (Fedorov, 2010).

15Large investments from the state and state-controlled companies were made to reduce the region’s energy dependence (the construction of the Kaliningrad CHPP-2, the commencement of the construction of the Baltic NPP) and to develop its transport opportunities, namely links to mainland Russia (the ferry service in Baltiysk). So, the initiatives of the federal and regional authorities became an important factor of regional development.

16The Federal law on SEZ in the Kaliningrad region of October 1st, 2006 established a ten year transition period (until 2016) without withdrawing customs privileges for legal persons registered before April 1st, 2005, however replacing them with tax concessions for new residents of the SEZ (Federal law No. 16 of January 10th, 2006) (Federal law…, 2006).

17Certain adjustments were made through the introduction of new mechanisms limiting access to the free customs zone regime in the framework of the Customs Union (Agreement on SEZ of June 18th, 2010). In order to balance the restrictions, in June 2013 amendments were made to the Kaliningrad SEZ Federal Law securing, until April 1st, 2016 and at the expense of the federal budget, compensations for the customs duties on Customs Union goods to all SEZ residents registered before April 1st, 2006. However, the compensation mechanism has not been developed yet and the prospects of SEZ residents after 2016 remain unclear. Today, businesses enjoying SEZ privileges account for 70 % of the region’s industrial output, i.e. 1/4 of the GRP (Kachevskaya, 2013).

18Economists estimate that, after the law on SEZ becomes ineffective in 2016, the GRP will drop by 16-19 %, approximately 500 enterprises will close down, 45-50 thousand people will lose their jobs, consumer market will shrink and, as a result, trade turnover and industry output will decrease (Business Ombudsman, 2013). In 2013, in order to ensure the region’s sustainable development and mitigate the consequences of exclavity, the federal program “Socioeconomic Development of the Kaliningrad Region until 2020” was adopted. The program is designed to ensure public support for the region: to eliminate excessive administrative barriers in the field of customs administration, to consider prolongation of the transition provisions of the SEZ law (2006), to introduce a special regime for goods transportation between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Customs Union, as well as additional tax concessions (corporate income tax, property tax, VAT, etc.) to support individuals involved in the priority activities (industrial production, technology development, etc.) (Russian State program, 2013; Federal law, 2006). According to the governor of the region, the modernization of customs facilities envisaged by the program will also contribute to overcoming the consequences of the withdrawal of SEZ privileges and will make it possible to lower administrative barriers for business.

19However, exclavity cannot be fully redressed because the compensation mechanisms must be coordinated with the governments of neighbouring states and their integration alliances. The interests of the exclave as a territorial system relatively isolated from the mainland do not always coincide with the interests of other Russian regions and the state in general. The solutions aimed at overcoming exclavity result in additional advantages for the region over other regions with similar economic specialisation. It results in interregional economic and political conflicts. Moreover, certain advantages lead to the emergence of semi-legal businesses.

20So, the concessionary terms of import and customs clearance, which functioned in the Kaliningrad region in the early 2000s, did not only contribute to the rapid increase in the per capita car rate (many cars registered in the region were used elsewhere in Russia), but also led to protests of car manufacturers and, later, authorities in other Russian regions — namely, Samara and Nizhny Novgorod. An even more serious conflict was related to the attempt to strip the Kaliningrad car manufacturer Avtotor of customs concessions for foreign knock-down kits, which gave the company exclusive privileges. Under the pressure from the Association of Russian Automakers, Avtotor had to close the Chery assembly line, which posed serious competitive threat to the AvtoVAZ production. Despite a significant contribution to the budget and an increase in regional industrial output as a result of assembling Chinese cars (more than 35,000 cars were manufactured and sold in 2007), AvtoVAZ’s powerful lobby in high places made Chery and Avtotor abandon their plans to jointly build a factory with a capacity of 200,000-250,000 cars per year (Zverev, Yu, 2010; Demidov, 2007). One can suppose that the car cluster project announced in 2013 in the framework of a public-private partnership in a context of decreasing car production and demand can provoke similar conflicts (Information on the socio-economic situation, 2013; Vylegzhanina, 2013).

21In some cases, decisions made for the benefit of the country as a whole do not take into account the exclave position of the region and adversely affect its population and economy. So, the long-awaited Russia-EU agreement on the facilitation of the issuance of visas, which came into effect on June 1st, 2007 resulted in a stricter visa regime for the region’s residents. Instead of a free one-year visa for travel to Poland and Lithuania, the residents had to obtain a one-entry visa with a 35-euro fee. Another example is the application of article 15 of the Federal Law on the Procedure of Exiting and Entering the Russian Federation, which restricts international travel of citizens evading obligations imposed by the court or the third party (credit, alimony, utility payment debts, etc.). This article restricts the travel of residents of the Kaliningrad region to other constituent entities of the Russian Federation since it requires crossing the state border (On the problems of realization, 2010).

Kaliningrad in Russia’s vision of Europe: preserving the territorial integrity of the Federation

22The Russian government considers Kaliningrad a very important issue in its relations with the European Union since the enlargement. In order to combat possible restrictions to the mobility of Russian citizens, the Russian government has put its shoulder to the wheel in order to come up with agreements on the border regime with Brussels, Warsaw and Vilnius. Because of – and thanks to – the very special situation of this region, Kaliningrad is at the same time seen by the Russian part as a matter of concern and as a trump card. A subject of concern because the Russian leadership fears a potential territorial collapse: surrounded by the EU (and NATO) territory, Kaliningrad could be definitively separated from the Federation. A trump card because Moscow perfectly knows that Brussels considers the Kaliningrad region as a threat and a danger (see below). In this context, the Russian government has utilized Kaliningrad to encourage favourable European decisions and gain several benefits. But the Russian vision of Kaliningrad is not really shaped by the idea of territorial cooperation. The government has made several decisions to support its economic development (a special economic zone for instance). But it is not favourable to the possible integration of Kaliningrad in the Baltic region, because integration means Europeanization and eventually a possible separation. Vladimir Putin has made it clear on various occasions.

  • 3 March 23 2001, interview in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
  • 4 In June 2002, at a meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States: "I am absolutely convinced that (...)

23For Vladimir Putin, the territorial cooperation between Kaliningrad and the neighbouring regions is permanently underpinned by the possibility to enhance the overall relation of Russia with the EU. In 2001, in an interview, he reminded that his purpose was “to conclude a special agreement between Russia and the EU, which will solve such crucial issues as free transit between the Kaliningrad Region and the rest of Russia in order to solve the transit issue”. He also said “the Kaliningrad Region, while remaining part of the Russian Federation and its domestic market, can become a testing ground for trying out new and effective forms of cooperation with foreign countries, the European Union included.”3 However, in many occasions, the Russian president has more or less implicitly – sometimes very explicitely4 - said that he fears a possible separation of Kaliningrad from the rest of the Federation.

  • 5 Speech at the Celebrations of the 750th Anniversary of Kaliningrad, July 2, 2005.
  • 6 Press Conference Following the Meeting with Federal Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder and Pre (...)

24In his speech for the celebrations of the 750th Anniversary of Kaliningrad, he presented this territory as “the westernmost border of our country.” According to him, “it was [t]here that our first contacts with European countries began. It was [t]here that Peter the Great arrived at the head of his famous Great Embassy to Europe.” Finally, he stated: “We will never forget the feats of our forebears who outstandingly defended the interests of our Motherland on these Baltic borders on more than one occasion.” He put once more the stress on the symbolic presence of many Russian officials during the ceremonies: “The leaders of all our country’s regions are present here today to share in this common celebration. I know for certain that they all want to develop relations with Kaliningrad. I am sure that after today we will see new projects, commercial ties and new opportunities that will undoubtedly contribute to the development of Kaliningrad Oblast.”5 Last, one must keep in mind that Vladimir Putin decided not to invite his Polish and Lithuanian counterparts to attend to these ceremonies: “we are holding the 750th anniversary of Kaliningrad as an internal political, Russian national event…”6 He then reaffirmed that the Russian identity of the Kaliningrad Region is certainly more important that any form of territorial cooperation and regional integration of Kaliningrad in the Baltic ensemble.

The negative perception of Kaliningrad in the European Union

  • 7 In this subpart, we consider the vision of the European Union itself as a political body as exempli (...)
  • 8 And by the Council of the Baltic Sea States, notably in the priorities of the Lithuanian presidency (...)
  • 9 ‘The Northern Dimension is a joint policy between EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland. The ND Policy was (...)
  • 10 « European Parliament resolution on a Baltic Sea Region Strategy for the Northern Dimension” (2006/ (...)
  • 11 Brussels, 17.1.2001, COM(2001) 26 final, Communication From the Commission to the Council, The EU a (...)

25The necessity to better integrate Kaliningrad in the Baltic Region is regularly stressed by the EU7 in various frameworks8, and by countries such as Poland and Lithuania, namely in reference documents of the Northern Dimension9 and, more recently, in a resolution of the European Parliament10. Nevertheless, since the first half of the 2000s, the Kaliningrad region has become an important matter of concern in the European Union for several reasons. First, it is traditionally seen as a non-secure place characterised by various trafficking (especially narcotics), organised crime, poverty and, generally speaking, a low level of development and a worrying social, economic, sanitary and environmental situation. Briefly speaking, the European vision is clearly shaped by justice and security issues. Kaliningrad is seen as a potential threat because of its location at the external border of the European Union. Several official documents specifically dedicated to Kaliningrad such as the communication of the Commission released in 2001put the stress on security and on the terrible social and economic situation of the region.11

  • 12 Commission launches debate on impact of enlargement on Kaliningrad, IP/01/66, Brussels, 17 January (...)
  • 13 Kaliningrad and the EU. Fact and Figures, Memo/02/192, 18 September 2002.
  • 14 « European Parliament resolution on a Baltic Sea Region Strategy for the Northern Dimension”. The m (...)
  • 15 Commission Staff Working Document. 2004 Annual rteport on the Implementation of the Northern Dimens (...)
  • 16 See the report at the following URL address, page 53 : (...)

26A couple of years later, the former Commissioner for External Relations stated: “Kaliningrad suffers from organised crime, environmental pollution and extensive drug and health problems. We should help – and not just out of altruism. These problems have obvious transborder implications.”12 In 2002, in a special memo, the Commission follows the same lines: “unemployment and poverty in Kaliningrad have increased dramatically since 1990”, “the standard of living is lower than the Russian average”, “30% of the population is estimated to live below subsistence level”. In this document, the Commission expresses concerns about the “growing, evident, wealth gap between the region and Poland and Lithuania” and the “drastic changes in the regional economy”, in a region where “much activity is now informal, with the black economy accounting for more than 60% of GDP and over 90% of mined amber is smuggled out of the region”.13 And in a resolution of the Parliament released in 2006, it is said that “the Kaliningrad Oblast is still an enclave plagued with many social, economic and ecological problems, such as the significant ecological risk posed by the presence of the military bases and weapons in the region, the substantial health risk and the high levels of organised crime and drug addiction”14. Last example, in a document concerning the implementation of the Northern Dimension and the TACIS credits, the security and justice issue is underlined15. And in the 2010 General Report on the Activities of the European Union, the only reference to Kaliningrad is a photography which shows cigarettes smuggling at the Polish Russian border.16 To sum up, the Kaliningrad region is traditionally considered by the EU more of a problem and a potential threat than an opportunity. Besides, the Lithuanian and the Polish governments declared several times that they were worried by the construction of a nuclear plant of Russian technology and by the concentration of troops and military devices in the region of Kaliningrad which is considered a threat for the stability of the Baltic region.

  • 17 Speech of Romano prodi, former president of the European Commission: The reality of enlargement, Br (...)
  • 18 Presidency Conclusions, Cologne European Council, June 3 and 4 1999.

27The Oblast of Kaliningrad is seen by the EU as an exception: a Russian territory separated from the rest of the Russian Federation and a territory very different from the EU member states which surround the Baltic Sea. In this context, in order to guarantee their own security and to support the development of their own border regions, the European Union and various countries of the Baltic region state that Kaliningrad should be better integrated in the Baltic region, by reducing the barrier effect of the frontier. The main leverage of this integration is the territorial cooperation (cross-border and transnational cooperation). In 2002, Romano Prodi declared that Kaliningrad could become an example of what the EU and Russia could achieve in their relationship in general.17 And before that, the conclusion of a European Council in 1999 had already stated that the EU should better cooperate with Russia through regional and cross-border cooperation and the construction of infrastructure, by “working more effectively with Russia in the various forums of regional cooperation (CBSS, BSEC, Barents Euro-Arctic Council), and by enhancing cross-border cooperation with neighbouring Russian regions (including Kaliningrad)…”.18 That was a period when the major issue was the transit of Russian citizens between Kaliningrad and the rest of the Russian Federation.

28The negative perception of Kaliningrad in the EU at the institutional level is partly responsible for the poor development of cross-border cooperation (CBC). The border position of the Kaliningrad region also entails official programs of regional cooperation, many of which are aimed at reducing the exclavity effects and facilitating the development of the border districts of the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring EU states. The territorial cooperation between Polish and Russian local and national governments started in the 1990s and two intergovernmental Councils were established in 1992 (Russian-Polish Council, composed by 12 commissions working on thematic issues) and 1999 (Russian-Lithuanian Council, with 8 commissions). As soon as the 1990s, the principle of cross-border cooperation was pushed forward by officials in order to make the region more competitive and attractive. Polish and Lithuanian neighbouring regions signed a series of agreements on permanent cooperation with Kaliningrad counterparts and several Euroregions were established in 1997 and 1998 (« Nemunas-Niemen-Neman » and Euroregion « Baltic »), inside which projects were supported and partially financed on EU funds (Phare program in Poland and Lithuania).

29Euroregion « Baltic » includes border and coastal territories of Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and the whole Kaliningrad region. Euroregion « Neman » covers border territories of Poland, Lithuania, the Kaliningrad region and Belarus. The total amount of grants allocated to projects between 1998 and 2005 exceeded 8.9 million euros for « Baltic » and 13.2 million euros for « Neman », which resulted in 500 (240 and 279) cross-border projects respectively. Overall, the official paper of the Foreign Affairs of Russia very skeptically assesses efficiency of the euroregions' activity and their future development. It does not take into account the huge experience of cross-border cooperation.

30After the EU enlargement in 2004, territorial cooperation was implemented in a renewed framework: the Neighborhood Program « Lithuania, Poland, Kaliningrad region » 2004-2006 was launched. More than 44.5 million euros (€36.5 million euros from ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and 8 million euros from TACIS) were allocated to the program for the period 2004-2006, that resulted in 162 cross-border projects granted on two priorities. The first priority is competitiveness and productivity growth of the cooperation area through development of cross-border infrastructure and border security, economic and scientific/technological co-operation (priority 1). First priority included 71 projects. Most of them were realized in big cities: Kaliningrad, Klaipeda, and Polish three-cities (Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot). Projects concerned environmental research, cultural and educational exchanges, trainings, development of eco-tourism and plans for wind energy production were realized in Baltic Sea coastal zones. Besides, we can mark out one more centre of CBC that was located to the east of Kaliningrad. Belostok, Suwalky, Goldap (Poland), Marijampole, and Alytus (Lithuania) were deeply involved in CBC in the fire security, construction of cross-border roads and the development of regional health care system. The second priority concerned people-to-people cooperation, socio-cultural integration and the labor market (priority 2). This priority included 91 projects and the same regions of collaboration. The main role here was played by Kaliningrad, Elblag, Olsztyn and Klaipeda. There were a bulk of culture projects: literature and music festivals, youth exchanges, renewal of historical buildings and so on. Numerous projects connected with preservation of the common historical heritage of East Prussia.

31So, we can emphasize two regional focuses or centers of cross-border cooperation: the coastal region, that is closely connected with Kaliningrad and the CBC region in the East, where Polish and Lithuanian actors have profound levels of cross-border cooperation. Common space of the EU, common historical background and common ethnic genesis (in Sejny’s case) formed an excellent base for collaboration in the second case.

32The main problems of the CBC between the Kaliningrad region and the surrounding communities concerned the asymmetry of cooperation because of different financial opportunities, political regime, different levels of development of the civil society and different regulatory powers of local and regional authorities (strong centralization of power in the Kaliningrad case). In Russia, because of a strong centralization of power (Marin, 2007) with a large part of the decisions made by the federal centre, the role of regional leaders is not that significant, especially in matters of foreign policy. According to our interviews with local and regional experts (businessmen, local officials, NGO’s representatives in Kaliningrad), a majority of Kaliningrad actors would like to take part in “hard” projects like building construction, construction of roads and so on. Instead the most part of projects in 2004-2006 were “soft” and concerned “people to people” communication, festivals etc. These projects were most of the time led by Polish or Lithuanian partners and most funds were spent on the EU territory and therefore have little effect on the socioeconomic position of the Kaliningrad region.

33The last evolution occurred in 2007 with the simplification of the cooperation procedure and the launch of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) which finances the cooperation on both sides of the border (including the Russian side). So the starting of the new CBC Program 2007-2013 dramatically changed the situation. This new program is more pragmatic than the previous one and is better balanced between soft and hard projects. Two main priorities of the program are aimed at solving common problems and challenges in sustainable use of environment, accessibility improvement and improvement of social, economic and spatial development (tourism, governance and education, small and medium entrepreneurs, labor market). The cities of the coastal region are mostly involved in this Program for cooperation: three-cities, Kaliningrad, Elblag, Olsztyn and Klaipeda. Projects of second priority are carried out also in some other small cities like Svetlov, Svetlogorsk and Pionersk. In this new context, the formal involvement of the Kaliningrad region increased and the cooperation between Lithuanian and Polish districts on the contrary decreased.

34Boosting the local border traffic between the Kaliningrad region and Polish districts dramatically influences the CBC Program. It was an important stepping stone for projects between border districts and cities. The most part of megaprojects is realised in borderland districts (Mamonovo and Braniewo, Gusev and Goldup, Sovetsk and Panemune) in the transport sphere: modernisation of crossing points, construction of treatment facilities and so on. Nonetheless, in spite of evident improvements of the CBC program 2007-2013, Kaliningrad projects face several obstacles. First, on the 2007-2013 budget, things started very slowly: there was no call for projects before 2010 and the selection procedure was quite long (until February 2012). The list of granted projects was still not publicised in June 2013. Meanwhile, the cooperation between Poland and Lithuania was moving ahead at a good pace: 37 approved projects and 63 small projects. A second obstacle lies within the administrative procedures of territorial cooperation at the external borders of the EU. Maybe cooperation would be enhanced if the Kaliningrad Region were eligible to the neighbourhood policy. At present it is not because Russia is not part of this policy.

  • 19 Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘European neighbourhood policy review’ (2012/C 54/04), F (...)

35More generally, the relatively poor results of Kaliningrad in the field of cross-border cooperation are partly due to the fact that Russia often signed the financing conventions too late, hampering the financing of projects on the Russian side. As mentioned above, another obstacle lies within the administrative procedures of territorial cooperation at the external borders of the EU. The Committee of Regions of the European Union has recently underlined this problem by addressing the very special status of the Oblast in relation with the neighbourhood policy: “attention (should) be paid to the specific situation of the Kaliningrad Oblast, which despite its location is not covered by neighbourhood policy. It is an unusually important and sensitive territory, not just on the borders of the EU but in fact surrounded by EU territory on all sides. The specific features of this region cannot be ignored when conducting neighbourhood policy in the EU's immediate vicinity”.19 Such a proposition may not be supported by the Russian government who does not accept the existence of a special status for the enclave.

3. Considering local non-institutional actors: favourable socioeconomic context versus unfavourable geopolitical representations

36The comparison of statistical indicators characterising the Kaliningrad Oblast and neighbouring territories of Poland and Lithuania showed that their socio-economic situation and the level of life are comparable. It creates the conditions for successful cross-border cooperation. Nevertheless, obstacles exist in the field of geopolitical orientations, informational and institutional policy, and persistent stereotypes in the public opinion.

At the local level, a socioeconomic context theoretically favourable to cooperation with neighbouring countries

37The correlation between the border position of the Kaliningrad region and its exclavity is rather complex. Although exclavity and border position are overlapping notions, the compactness of the region causes regional effects relating to the ubiquitous vicinity of state borders rather than the isolation from mainland Russia (Rozhkov-Yuryevsky, 2013).

38The application of the multi-scale approach to analysing socioeconomic indices for the Kaliningrad region and other regions of the North-Western Federal District (NWFD), as well as the neighbouring regions of foreign countries, shows that the socioeconomic gradients are insignificant and the living standards are comparable. The Kaliningrad region lags only behind Saint Petersburg and the scarcely populated oil-producing Nenets Autonomous Area. The closest characteristics to the Kaliningrad region are demonstrated by the Leningrad and Vologda regions, which are rapidly developing. A strong point of the Kaliningrad region is a ‘younger’ and more balanced age and sex structure of the population and its migration attractiveness (Zubarevich, 2013).

39Against the background of many NWFD regions and the neighbouring regions of Poland and Lithuania, the demographic situation in the Kaliningrad region is rather favourable. As a result of positive net migration, since the 1990s, the population has been stable (fig. 1). At the same time the concentration of inhabitants increased in the regional centre and its neighbouring areas. External migrants from Kazakhstan (43.8%), Armenia (14.3%), Uzbekistan (13.7%) and Kyrgyzstan (10.2%) formed up to 60-70% of migrants. The majority of them arrived in the region within the “state program for the resettlement of compatriots”20. Since 2006, the region has been one of the pilot regions receiving migrants through the program21. Russian migrants in the region come mainly from the eastern regions (the Urals, Siberia and the Far East). The majority of them are people of working age (90%) and urban residents (75%)22.

  • 23 Мkrtchyan Н., Karatchurina L. Migration in Russia: Flows and centers of attraction/ Demoscope №595- (...)

40According to research from the Institute of Demography HSE23 about migration flows, the Kaliningrad region is one of the national centers of attraction for internal migrants along with Tatarstan, Belgorod and the Nizhny Novgorod region. Located in the west of the country, the Kaliningrad region benefits from the “western drift”. Migrations of population are firstly determined by living conditions, environment, personal space, and possibilities to combine work and leisure. The mild maritime climate, comfortable living conditions, and proximity to Europe attract migrants to the region.

41The population of the region was totally replaced: almost all the German and Lithuanian populations were deported by 1947. At the same time, the rural population from 29 Russian regions and 4 Soviet republics was resettled to the region. As a result of this policy, today there are 86% Russians and only 1% Germans and Lithuanians (according to the census of 2010) in the region. Consequently, the local population minimised its relationship with the EU countries, including the neighbouring regions.

42Family ties with other regions of Russia are significant. But complicated procedures to cross the borders of the Baltic countries by train (necessity of foreign passport) and by car (necessity of visa) decrease the intensity of communications. As a result of high prices on air tickets most of Kaliningrad's residents visit neighbouring European countries more often than other Russian regions. Poland and Lithuania become more accessible and set the model pattern. According to the results of the survey of the Kaliningrad sociological centre, only 18% of respondents regularly visit other Russian regions and 13% of respondents have never been in other Russian regions21. At the same time, 28% of respondents have visited at least once Poland and Lithuania during the last 5-7 years.

43After World War II, the Kaliningrad region was one of the most militarised areas in the Soviet Union. In 1992, staff linked to the military presence accounted for between 100,000 and 250,000 people, a quarter of the population of the region (Nies, 2002). Currently, military personnel stationed in Kaliningrad has significantly decreased and is equivalent to the Lithuanian army, about 12,000 men (in absolute terms, this is one soldier per 300 inhabitants in Lithuania, 1 per 80 in Kaliningrad) (Roux Servan-Schreiber, 2005).

44The demographic situation in Lithuania is much worse. Mass emigration following the accession to the EU and the opening of the European labor market alongside natural population decline led to a 13 % population decrease. The three countries that border Russia accounted for almost a forth of these losses. According to the migration services, young people of 20-29 years of age accounted for more than a half of those leaving the country. In Poland, the population of the northern regions remains more or less stable. The analysis of regional statistics proves that many voivodeships and powiats demonstrate slow population growth resulting from small natural increase, which compensates for the migration outflow (Local data bank, 2013).

Figure 1: Population dynamics in the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring regions of Poland and Lithuania in 2002-2012,% (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)

Figure 1: Population dynamics in the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring regions of Poland and Lithuania in 2002-2012,% (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)

45The economy of the Kaliningrad region, oriented towards substitution and the Russian consumer market, is fragile and unstable (Fedorov, 2010). During the 2008 crisis, the fall in the economic indices was more dramatic in the Kaliningrad region than in other Russian regions. At the same time, the restoration was also more rapid.

46The economic crisis significantly affected the economies of the bordering regions of Lithuania and Poland, which have similar economic specializations focused on cargo transit, port services, mechanical engineering, food industry, amber processing, and recreation. As to industrial output per capita, the Kaliningrad region is well ahead of the neighbouring Warmian-Masurian voivodeship and is comparable to one of the most developed Polish regions — the Pomeranian voivodeship (Table 1).

Table 1: Industrial output per capita in the border regions of Poland and Lithuania, and the Kaliningrad region, 2011, USD (Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; PPP conversion factor, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)


By the national currency exchange rate

By purchasing power parity

Russian Federation



Kaliningrad region










Pomeranian Voivodeship






47The social situation in the three regions under consideration does not show any substantial differences. In 2011, an average salary in the Kaliningrad region (PPP) amounted to 1 496 USD, in the Pomeranian Voivodeship to 1 793 USD, in the Klaipeda region to 1 094 (fig. 2). The food basket cost is 20-23 % lower in Gdansk than in Kaliningrad or Klaipeda, however, Gdansk residents have to pay twice as much as Kaliningraders for petrol, utilities, and public transportation. It is cheaper to buy a flat in Kaliningrad, and a car in Gdansk or Klaipeda. On average, the Polish are a little bit “richer” than Russians and Lithuanians, but the Lithuanian regional community is less segregated by income than the Polish or Russian ones (Trehovitskaya, Kuzmina, 2013).

Figure 2: Average gross monthly salary in the Kaliningrad region and the neighboring regions of Poland and Lithuania (PPP), 2010 (USD) (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; PPP conversion factor, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)

Figure 2: Average gross monthly salary in the Kaliningrad region and the neighboring regions of Poland and Lithuania (PPP), 2010 (USD) (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; PPP conversion factor, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)

Cross-border business and trade: an opportunity for stronger integration or a problem?

48A serious challenge for the Kaliningrad region is the shadow economy exploiting the border position of the region and the privileges of border communities. The existing differences between the regions, the border counties of Lithuania, and the Polish voivodeships created the basis for cross-border business, which makes up for the negative effects of exclavity. So, at the first stage of Kaliningrad’s exclavisation, an increase in the permeability of the Kaliningrad-Polish border resulted in a dramatic growth in cross-border trade. People involved in such activities tried to benefit from the smallest difference in prices of a long list of consumer goods, although the key commercial articles were fuel, cigarettes, and alcohol. The development of cross-border trade played an important role in the stabilisation of the socioeconomic situation in the region in the early 1990s, thus ensuring self-employment of many residents of the border areas of the Kaliningrad region. At the second stage of exclavisation, the tightening of the visa regime (the introduction of paid one-entry visas for Kaliningraders) diminished the significance of cross-border trade and forced Kaliningraders out of this business. As a result, the scale of cross-border trade, which created a considerable number of jobs after the collapse of the USSR and served as a source of cheaper goods, was reduced.

49The agreement on local border traffic (LBT) concluded by the governments of Russia and Poland increased the permeability of the Russian-Polish border. Now, residents of the Kaliningrad region can spend up to 30 days in a row (but not more than 90 days in 6 months) on the Polish territory with a special permit. On the Russian part, the visa-free area includes the whole Kaliningrad region (15 100 km2); on the Polish one, part of the Warmian-Masurian and Pomeranian voivodeships (16 500 km2), including the city of Gdansk. Although the formal reason for obtaining such a permit is having cross-border family ties, as well as different social, cultural, and economic connections, it is evident that the main beneficiaries of LBT are cross-border traders. If Kaliningraders bring food and toiletry from Poland, the Polish cross the border to fill up the tank. According to the Olsztyn Customs Chamber, in 2012, Polish “tanker” traders transported 160 million litres fuel from Russia (Customs Service of Poland, 2013). The analysis of the official regional customs data shows that the number of passenger cars crossing the Polish border increased 1.5 times in the first half of 2013 in comparison to the similar period of the previous year.

Figure 3: Retail turnover in the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring regions of Poland and Lithuania (PPP), 2010 (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; PPP conversion factor, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)

Figure 3: Retail turnover in the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring regions of Poland and Lithuania (PPP), 2010 (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; PPP conversion factor, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)

50Unlike in the 1990s, the development of cross-border trade does not lead to the stabilisation of the socioeconomic situation but rather results in problems for the food industry. The high car ownership rate per capita makes it possible for the citizens to visit the border regions of Poland for consumer purposes almost every day. On the Polish territory, in the vicinity of the Kaliningrad border, food and clothes supermarkets of such large chains as Tesco and Intermarche are being rapidly built to accommodate the increasing number of Russian shoppers. Thus, although the introduction of LBT has a largely positive effect, it has caused a dramatic increase in ‘grey market’ imports from Poland, as well as problems in the regional customer market. It is indicated by numerous appeals of Kaliningrad processing companies and retailers to federal and regional structures regarding possible protectionist measures (Ryabushev, 2013).

The heavy weight of social and geopolitical representations

  • 24 The survey was conducted by researchers of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (G.Fedorov a (...)

51As a survey24 of 675 students from 3 universities — the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad), the University of Gdansk (Poland), and Klaipeda University (Lithuania) — shows, the subjective assessment of one’s financial situation corresponds largely to the objective economic situation (Table 2).

52However, Kaliningrad students, as well as Russian population in general, are prone to pessimistic views on the prospects of the region: 55.6 % of IKBFU students believe that, in the near future, the situation in the region will remain the same or get worse. Only 34.6 % of students share this viewpoint in Gdansk and 18 % in Klaipeda. At the same time, Kaliningraders are more optimistic about their future than about the regional prospects: 7.9 % are sure that they will be able to attain a better standard of living in a short-term perspective. In other words, they rely on their own efforts and do not pin hopes on the development of Russia as a whole or the region in particular.

Table 2: Respondents’ assessments of their family income, %









Below average








Above average








53One cannot ignore the stabilisation of retail turnover against the background of rapidly growing prices of goods and services. At the same time, it does not mean poverty or stagnating standards of living. The purchasing power of the population and demand for goods and services are increasing. However, a significant share of purchases is made in the neighboring countries, first of all Poland, where the cost of goods is lower (fig. 3). This conclusion was supported by an expert interview held by the authors of the survey. Among IKBFU students, 61.1 % of respondents visited Poland, 47.6 % Lithuania. As to the purpose of travel, 30.2 % mentioned shopping, 54.8 % tourism and entertainment, which are also connected with consumption, 15.9 % visited Lithuania for shopping and 41.3 % for recreation.

54Though 70 % of respondents in Klaipeda and 88 % in Gdansk have never been to Kaliningrad Oblast they stably reproduce negative representations on this Russian region. The youth of all three considered regions share the representation that the European orientation is a guarantee of success. It can contribute not only to their potential integration but also to the processes of fragmentation. The border with Russia is perceived in Poland and Lithuania as the watershed between two worlds – “the world of order” and the “world of chaos”.


55CBC is one of the methods to compensate the exclavity of the Kaliningrad region. The Kaliningrad region can be a model of interaction between Russia and the EU. However, the present situation suggests that the Kaliningrad border region may sink into a double distrust atmosphere from the side of its neighbors, NATO and EU members. It may lead to the militarisation of border regions, the limitation of CBC and may be a basefor a new stage of exclavisation of the Kaliningrad Oblast.

56Thus, the economic and geographical position of the Kaliningrad region requires certain reconsideration. Since the collapse of the USSR, the exclavity of the economic and geographical position of the region has been steadily increasing, whereas the permeability of different sectors of the state border has been changing. Although many components of EGP often compensate for the exclavity effects, one should not overestimate their potential: the exclavity of the Kaliningrad region has a direct effect on its economic and geographical position.

57Although the economic and social conditions theoretically exist for the rapid integration of the Kaliningrad Oblast in the Baltic region, one must admit that cross-border cooperation has hardly developed. This confirms the process of exclavisation of Kaliningrad as a relatively isolated Russian territory in the European Union, in a particular geopolitical context where Kaliningrad has become a double periphery. This situation is caused not only by the particular status of this region, by strong disagreements between Russia and EU, and by the distance between it and the Russian mainland. The poor development of exchanges with the surrounding communities of Poland and Lithuania is also caused by the persistence of social representations in the public opinions that hamper the development of cross-border relations. Hence, this case study sets an example of the strong, deep and persistent influence of social representations – hence geopolitical orientations – on social practices and on regional integration.

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Zverev Y., 2010, “The Kaliningrad region: the characteristics of the 2008—2009 economic crisis and possible ways of overcoming”, Baltic Region, No.2, 13-23.

Zubarevich N. (ed.), 2013, “Kaliningradskaja Oblast'” [Kaliningrad region], Social'nyj atlas rossijskih regionov [Social Atlas of Russian Regions]. (accessed 12 October 2013).

Statistics and databases

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Database of Indicators, 2013, Statistics Lithuania, available at: (accessed 16 August 2013)

Local Data Bank, 2013, Central Statistical Office of Poland, available at: (accessed 16 August 2013)

PPP conversion factor, private consumption (LCU per international $), 2013, World Bank Database, available at: (accessed 16 August 2013)

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1 For an extensive presentation of this concept in sociological approaches, see Social Integration: Approaches and Issues, United Research Institute For Social Development, Briefing Paper n°1, World Summit for Social Development, March 1994. URL:$file/bp1.pdf

2 Since 2002, land transit to the Kaliningrad region via Lithuania has been possible with the simplified transit document.

3 March 23 2001, interview in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

4 In June 2002, at a meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States: "I am absolutely convinced that if we find solutions…, development of this westernmost part of the Russian Federation, the Kaliningrad Region, will result in that enclave outstripping the rest of the Russian territory in terms of cooperation and rapprochement with Europe. It is bound to be that way, but we would never agree to the territory of the Russian Federation being split up.”

5 Speech at the Celebrations of the 750th Anniversary of Kaliningrad, July 2, 2005.

6 Press Conference Following the Meeting with Federal Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder and President of France Jacques Chirac.

7 In this subpart, we consider the vision of the European Union itself as a political body as exemplified by official discourses and statements of various institutions (Parliament, Commission, EEAS and Committee of Regions).

8 And by the Council of the Baltic Sea States, notably in the priorities of the Lithuanian presidency of this regional organisation in 2009-2010.

9 ‘The Northern Dimension is a joint policy between EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland. The ND Policy was initiated in 1999 and renewed in 2006. The policy aims at providing a framework to: promote dialogue and concrete cooperation; strengthen stability, well-being and intensified economic cooperation; promote economic integration, competitiveness and sustainable development in Northern Europe’ (EU website).

10 « European Parliament resolution on a Baltic Sea Region Strategy for the Northern Dimension” (2006/2171(INI))

11 Brussels, 17.1.2001, COM(2001) 26 final, Communication From the Commission to the Council, The EU and Kaliningrad.

12 Commission launches debate on impact of enlargement on Kaliningrad, IP/01/66, Brussels, 17 January 2001.

13 Kaliningrad and the EU. Fact and Figures, Memo/02/192, 18 September 2002.

14 « European Parliament resolution on a Baltic Sea Region Strategy for the Northern Dimension”. The military question was put forward recently, in 2012, bu the Lithuanian government.

15 Commission Staff Working Document. 2004 Annual rteport on the Implementation of the Northern Dimension Action Plan, Brussels, 20 May 2005, SEC(2005) 688.

16 See the report at the following URL address, page 53 :

17 Speech of Romano prodi, former president of the European Commission: The reality of enlargement, Brussels, November 6 2002.

18 Presidency Conclusions, Cologne European Council, June 3 and 4 1999.

19 Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘European neighbourhood policy review’ (2012/C 54/04), February 23 2012.

20 State program helping compatriots from abroad to resettle in Russia, adopted in June 2006


22 Analytical review of the migration and the activity of the FMS of Russia in the Kaliningrad region for the realization of the state policy in migration in the region in 2013, FMS RUSSIA in Kaliningrad region, Kaliningrad 2014.
Kaliningrad problem in the mirror of public opinion. Analytical review on a base of the survey // Sociological center of Kaliningrad, Moscow, 2002

23 Мkrtchyan Н., Karatchurina L. Migration in Russia: Flows and centers of attraction/ Demoscope №595-596

24 The survey was conducted by researchers of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (G.Fedorov and E Fidrya), Klaipeda University (E.Spiryavichus) and Gdansk Unoversity (Y.Vendt) within the project RFBR-CNRS №12-06-91052 in summer 2012. 4th and 5th year students were surveyed in Kaliningrad (252), in Gdansk (217), in Klaipeda (206). The comparable questionnaire composed of 31 questions was developed by V.Kolosov, O.Vendina, M.Zotova, A.Sebentsov. It comprised questions on the knowledge of foreign languages, the experience of travels abroad, an assessment of the family’s material condition and of the region’s perspectives, on the identity, the frequency and the purposes of the respondent’s travels to neighbouring countries and their perception, the attitude to the border regime, the intention to migrate and geopolitical orientations.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Population dynamics in the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring regions of Poland and Lithuania in 2002-2012,% (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,5M
Titre Figure 2: Average gross monthly salary in the Kaliningrad region and the neighboring regions of Poland and Lithuania (PPP), 2010 (USD) (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; PPP conversion factor, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,5M
Titre Figure 3: Retail turnover in the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring regions of Poland and Lithuania (PPP), 2010 (estimated on the basis of Database of indicators, 2013; Local Data Bank, 2013; PPP conversion factor, 2013; Indicators database municipalities, 2013)
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,5M
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Référence électronique

Yann Richard, Alexander Sebentsov et Maria Zotova, « The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Challenges and limits of its integration in the Baltic region », Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography [En ligne], Espace, Société, Territoire, document 719, mis en ligne le 08 avril 2015, consulté le 13 juin 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Yann Richard

Professeur de Géographie, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France, UMR PRODIG

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Alexander Sebentsov

PhD, researcher Centre for Geopolitical Studies, Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation

Maria Zotova

PhD, researcher Centre for Geopolitical Studies, Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation

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