Yesterday, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) started considering the issue of the Kaliningrad Region status. It was not the Assembly’s initiative, but the request of the Russian delegation. Of course, Kaliningrad is not Chechnya, so while discussing “boring” subjects, like visa regime, a great scandal cannot be organized. Though, it is good at least, that this subject is being discussed…
In the meanwhile, the issue of Kaliningrad Region which will be circled by EU countries already since 2003 could seriously influence future relations between Russian and the European Union. And this will be a negative influence. The Russian authorities many times said that European policy towards Kaliningrad Region causes threat to territorial integrity of Russia.
By the way, statements like that could be based. Of course, we cannot say that the European Union consciously carries out the policy of tearing away Kaliningrad from Russia. The question is about Germany to which Kaliningrad (former Koenigsberg) belonged till 1945.
German influence upon Kaliningrad could have been seen since long. First of all, in economy. German firms, together with Polish and Lithuanian ones, most actively make investments in Kalinigrad Region. About 40 percent of foreign trade circulation of the enclave fall on the three states. While if several years ago Germany preferred to not go beyond some humanitarian assistance, now it mainly invests in Kaliningrad industry. It is not that German businessmen invest in Kalinigrad Region more money than Poles and Lithuanians. And, as a fact, the volume of the investments is not as big as the Russian government would like to see. Though it is obvious, that if necessary, these investments could abruptly increase. While Poles and Lithuanians hardly will be able to compete with Germans.
Of course, both German politicians and businessmen prefer not to speak that the Kaliningrad future is connected with Germany. Wise versa, they actively deny it and sometimes even evade this subject. Though, this does not mean that Kaliningrad’s territorial belonging was designated once and for all. At least, it is much more easily to demand revision of the Kaliningrad status after the necessary economical base is created.
Apropos, it is not clear enough, why the Russian leadership does not use economical levers to influence Poland and Lithuania. For, oil and gas are being supplied to the West through these countries, while guaranteeing great profits to them. Russian budged, certainly, depends on oil and gas export. Though, while discussing the issue of Kaliningrad, all opportunities should be used. Moreover, Lithuania itself is interested in keeping trade relations with Russia…
In general, the problem of Kaliningrad Region could be solved with satisfying all interested sites. Though, to do this, great wish is necessary. So far, PACE has put off consideration of the Kaliningrad issue…
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/06/25/43222.html
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