The Baltic Region

2012 Issue №1(11)

The traditions of Russian and European perception of the state frontier in the conditions of transborder regional cooperation

Abstract

The article focuses on the state frontier in European and Russian political cultures as a major instrument for developing trans-border regional cooperation. The term ‘state frontier’ is defined through a prism of regional integration processes. The authors examine the role of trans-border relations between Russia and the European Union in promoting mutually beneficial strategic cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. Historical experience, geopolitical position, national psychology and some other factors shape common perceptions of the state frontier in mass consciousness, which can vary from country to country. The state frontier is a key imperative of trans-border regional cooperation. The trans-border relations between Russia and the EU serve a foundation for the development of strategic partnership, and it is cross-border cooperation  in the Baltic Sea region that proves to be most efficient in this respect. At present, there are several cooperation mechanisms and programmes in place which are aimed at enhancing Russia — EU relations in the Baltic Sea region. In the long-term perspective, the development of regional integration processes in the Baltic Sea region is seen as one of the key elements for increasing and strengthening strategic cooperation between Russia and the EU.

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Transborder corporate integration in the Baltic Sea Region

Abstract

The paper examines flows of foreign direct investment within the Baltic region. The author demonstrates close investment ties among the EU members, which are of special importance for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Transborder corporate integration in the region is characterized by significant imbalances. In many aspects, it can be viewed as Sweden’s economic expansion or development of domestic markets for northern European companies. Although many German, Polish and Russian companies are involved in corporate integration in the Baltic region, other vectors of their foreign economic relations are still more important for them. As a result, the integration of Russian business in the Baltic part of the European integration area is still rather weak despite Russia’s considerable foreign direct investment in the Baltic States.

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Twin cities: a new form of cross-border cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region?

Abstract

The paper demonstrates the first attempt in Russian political studies to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the “twin city” movement as a form of cross-border cooperation in the Baltic region. This phenomenon emerged as a result of a global tendency towards more active involvement of municipal units in international cooperation, on the one hand, and aspirations of frontier cities and towns in the Baltic region to solve common problems together, on the other hand. This work is based on a comparative analysis method and a case study methodology. The authors consider four examples (city pairs): Tornio — Haparanda, Valga — Valka, Narva — Ivangorod and Imatra — Svetogorsk. The article specifies the terminological framework used in this field of research. The authors analyse achievements and failures of this type of international inter-municipal cooperation and emphasise that for twin cities it served not only as a means of survival in the difficult situation of the 1990s, but also as an experimental ground for new forms of crossborder cooperation. The authors arrive at the conclusion that this model proves to be promising for further development of integration processes in the Baltic region. This practice can be applied by Russian municipal, regional and federal authorities in promotion of cross-border cooperation not only in the Baltic region, but also in other regions of the country. Thus, influenced by the successful experience of Baltic frontier cities and towns, the Russian city of Nikel and the Norwegian city of Kirkenes decided to adopt this model for further development of their cooperation.

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