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The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
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Strategy for the endgame for Kaliningrad
HITS: 1950 | 18-02-2003, 22:12 | Commentaire(s): (0) |
 (Votes #: 0)

It is for these reasons that the EU proposed the new visa regime. Lithuania did not demand it, and Lithuania was not even a signatory to the agreement on Kaliningrad between the EU and Russia. [1] (The Lithuanians, bizarrely, still claim that this agreement is designed to protect their sovereignty!) Europe alleges that the new regime is necessary to conform with the EU’s laws; but Lithuanian will not join until May 2004, while the new visa regime applies already, and it will not join the Schengen agreement (which abolishes all border controls between member states) until 2006 or 2007. In any case, it would be possible for Lithuania not to join Schengen, as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark are not members of it.
With the EU controlling access to Kaliningrad, it will demand an ever greater say in the internal affairs of the enclave. It will present these demands as a way of easing the restrictions it has itself imposed. This process has already started. Even before the agreement was reached on the visas, the EU suggested that Kaliningrad had “an interest in adopting EU technical norms and standards to enable it to take full benefit from this improved market access”. [2] Given that the states which are about to join the EU are economically dead, while Kaliningrad is extremely economically vibrant, the imposition of expensive and cumbersome EU norms on its products would be nothing but a recipe for disaster. As EU candidate countries, Poland and Lithuania are the largest exporters to Kaliningrad; they, too, will lose valuable revenue once these policies come into play.
Nevertheless, the vultures are out: “EU standards should be established for Kaliningrad produced goods” [3] A new border crossing for cargo traffic between Poland and Kaliningrad at Lazdijai-Ognodniki has been mooted but it must be Euro “2/3 Certified” as not harmful to the environment. Therefore, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to harass and impede trade in this part of Europe.
One does not have to draw attention to the maxima list aims of certain German organizations which seek to recuperate East Prussia to see the big picture. [4] The EU may not wish to establish formal sovereignty over the enclave, but it will seek to chip away inexorably at its self-government. One aim will be to make Kaliningrad buy energy from Europe. Denmark has already helped build a “wind farm” on the coast, while the EU has already suggested that Kaliningrad cease importing gas from Russia and integrate itself in the “Central European grid” instead. [5]
Such a policy dovetails with other aspects of EU energy policy elsewhere in the region. All accession countries are under pressure to get rid of their national sources of energy and to import energy instead from Western Europe. The EU demands that Lithuania close its nuclear generator at Ignalina starting in 2005; Bulgaria began to shut down its nuclear plant at Kozloduy in December, 2002. This will happen before the end of the decade. There is considerable pressure on the Czechs to close their nuclear reactor at Temelín. Finally, the EU will also require that Poland close its remaining coal mines and sack tens of thousands of miners. German coal miners, meanwhile, are subsidized to the tune of some $50,000 per miner per year. Recently residents of the small East German village of Horny were told to pack their bags by September 2003 to make way for an extension of the local heavily-subsidized open cast brown coal mine.
Such is the new imperialism. Like the USA, the EU would baulk at the suggestion that it seeks “anyone else’s territory”. In reality, the EU and NATO march in lockstep to ensure that nowhere in Central or Eastern Europe remains outside their control.
And what is Russia’s role in all this? After a few verbal protests, Moscow is as compliant as ever when it comes to sacrificing the interests of ordinary Russian citizens to Western demands. On 3rd February 2003, Radio Free Europe reported that the new visa regime was now fully operational and gave a hint of its everyday realities: on that day alone, 9 people had been refused visas to transit Lithuania.[6].


[1]The European Union will introduce the necessary legislation to establish by 1st July 2003 a Facilitated transit Document scheme to apply for the transit of Russian citizens only between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia by land.” Paragraph 5 of “Joint Statement of the European Union the The Russian Federation on Transit between the Kaliningrad Region and the Rest of The Russian Federation”, done at Brussels, 11th November 2002,

[2] idib., p.2, section entitled “Movement of Goods”,

[3] See Sergounin op. cit.,

[4] »Die Aufgaben der Zukunft für Ostpreußen«, Veranstaltung der Regionalgruppe Süd des »Bundes Junges Ostpreußen« in Ansbach. These East Prussian irredentists use the same language as the EU (e.g. “black hole”) when referring to Kaliningrad (which they call Königsberg, just as they refer to the surrounding oblast’ as “Northern East Prussia”. This group proposes the creation of a “Euroregion Prussia” to include parts of Lithuania and Poland,

[5] “Kaliningrad could either maintain its link with the Russian electricity grid or switch to the Central European grid, which is connected to the main EU electricity grid, UCTE.” Communication from the European Commission to the Council, “The European Union and Kaliningrad”, 17th January 2001, p. 5 (the section entitled “Energy Supplies”),

[6] RFE/RL 3/2/2003.

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