Russian main negotiator with the EU on Kaliningrad Region has decided to himself face the troubles Kaliningrad citizens could face, if Russia is not able to agree with Brussels.
The special representative of Russia, Dmitry Rogozin continued his way to Kaliningrad through Lithuania by a motorcar without diplomatic number and without special escort.
Nobody expected that Dmitry Rogozin would decide to cross Russian-Lithuanian border by car to see problems which are inevitable for the region after its neighbours’ joining the EU. “The number of cars, talks with people in the queues, talks to border guards. We should understand which categories of citizens will suffer as a result of introducing visa regime. How to settle this problem of free transit from Russia to Russia and the question of restrain of high level of co-operation between Kiliningrad and its neighbours,” – Dmitry Rogozin said.
It should be reminded that there are several variants of the solving the Kaliningrad problem, including the most extreme, like building an underground tunnel under Lithuanian territory (so far Russia does not belong to Schengen zone). The first variant is not suitable for Russia, while the second one does not satisfy the EU.
Europeans do not want to make concessions in this question, spite the lack of common views. For example, France is against introducing visa regime, though France is far from Kaliningrad, and its voice is not decisive. Though, there is Lithuania which understands that visa regime will badly influence transit, while this, in its turn, will result in damage for Lithuanian budget.
So, anyway Lithuanians have to find compromise variants. On Monday, it became known that Lithuanian authorities are ready to issue long-term transit visas for Kaliningrad citizens.
Moscow has been carrying out a dialogue with Brussels for several months, while now Lithuanian authorities seem to be ready to compromise.
Therefore, we could say that Russian special representative Rogozin has one more trump card in the negotiations with the leaders of the countries whose position is not clear enough or opposite.
It is also important for Dmitry Rogozin, because his future career depends on the successful solving this problem.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
NTVRU.com photograph: Dmitry Rogozin
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/08/13/45619.html