The Baltic Region

2012 Issue №2(12)

International history

An escape from the embrace of politics. A study into the cultures of remembrance as a means to encourage a historical dialogue in Lithuanian-Russian relations

Abstract

This article focuses on the factors inhibiting a productive rethinking of the past in contemporary Lithuanian-Russian relations. The rethinking of the past is understood as a process facilitating the reconsideration of historical meanings through adjusting them to the expectations and values of the contemporary society. The author argues that in this process historical research — as an important tool for encouraging the co-existence of communities —should fulfil certain social functions. Having chosen the Lithuanian-Russian communication space as a case, the author emphasizes the need to develop an interest in mutual knowledge of cultures of remembrance in this space. Outlining the strategies specific to the prevailing cultures of remembrance in contemporary Russia and Lithuania, the author addresses the issue of their proper relationship, as well as that of the appropriateness of historical policy. The criminalisation of certain evaluations of the past and the academic dialogue between historians are regarded as two opposite extremes of historical policy actually existing in the Lithuanian-Russian communication space. The author stresses that research into the values and interpretations of the past peculiar to certain social groups in both Lithuania and Russia may be considered as a basis for further development of the historical dialogue. It is assumed that such research may contribute to the improvement in the field of politics of history.

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The Vilnius issue in international relations: the historiography of the problem

Abstract

This article considers certain historiographical aspects of the Vilnius issue as an international problem. The author analyses the origins of the Polish-Lithuanian conflict, the role of the struggle for Vilnius in the general context of the Polish-Lithuanian confrontation, and the origin and nature of Lithuanian nationalism. The article also examines historiographical perspectives on the seizure of Vilnius by the troops of the Polish general, L. Żeligowsky, and the international consequences of the violation of the Suwałki Agreement. The author pays special attention to the positions of western powers, the decision of the Conference of Ambassadors on March 15, 1923, and the mediation of the League of Nations in the territorial dispute between Lithuania and Poland. The article considers the existing historiographical concepts and evaluations of the role of the Soviet diplomacy in the Vilnius issue. The author identifies new trends in the contemporary historiography of the Vilnius problem.

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Episodes of the Klaipeda/Memel Anschluss in March, 1939

Abstract

This article discusses the complicated diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Germany in 1938—1939 on the basis of archive documents and historical studies. The author identifies the methods used by the Germans in the Klaipėda region in order to destroy the system established by the Treaty of Versailles, propagate national socialist ideas among the population, and spread a positive attitude to the restoration of the region as a part of the German Reich. The author offers a detailed analysis of the actions of the Nazi and paramilitary groups during the Anschluss in March 22—25, 1939. An examination of the events clearly demonstrates that the German party had a well-devised plan of Anschluss, while the population had been ideologically indoctrinated and was ready for the fateful conversion. At the same time, the reactions of the Lithuanian party ranged from servility to panic flight. The Klaipeda region was taken by the Germans without a drop of blood spilled.

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The concept of guerrilla warfare in Lithuania in the 1920—1930s

Abstract

This article analyses the military and tactical training of the members of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union for guerrilla warfare in the interwar period. Small nations, such as Lithuania and other Baltic states, being unable to build up military strength in order to ensure national security, were forced to seek for unconventional methods of warfare, including guerrilla strategies. The study places emphasis on the development of the guerrilla war concept in the Union periodicals. The author retraces a change in the intensity of the guerrilla warfare concept propagation amongst Lithuanian population and riflemen, in particular, through publications in the Trimitas — a periodical of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union. The author also identifies the narratives associated with the guerrilla matters employed for propaganda purposes in order to create an image of a guerrilla as a defender of the Homeland — Lithuania. Additionally, the structure and numbers of the Union are analysed through a comparison with similar organisations of the other «small nations» of the Baltic North-East. The author addresses the issue of military missions planned by the Lithuanian Army, as well as the way riflemen implemented them. Since the Union did not only offer military training, but was also engaged in the patriotic propaganda, the article focuses on the network of cultural institutions, homes of riflemen, orchestras, libraries, choirs, and athletic clubs used by the Union. The article sets out to establish whether the loss of Lithuanian sovereignty could have been possible without giving rise to a protracted guerrilla war.

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Russian history

On the establishment and early activity of the Soviet consulate in Königsberg (1923—1925)

Abstract

This article analyses the reasons behind the restoration of diplomatic relations between Russia and Germany after World War I, as well as the fundamental differences in the performance of Russian imperial and Soviet consular missions in East Prussia. On the basis of the earlier unknown documents from the Central Russian archives and the Political archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, the author describes the establishment of the Soviet Consulate in Königsberg in 1923 and the contribution of the first Consul of the USSR in East Prussia, Yulian Boshkovich, to the development of bilateral relations in 1923—1925. The author considers the adverse political conditions under which Soviet diplomats were compelled to operate in Germany. The conclusion is that the principal line of Yu. S. Boshkovich’s activity concerned preparations for the opening of the USSR trade mission in Königsberg, as well as ensuring strong representation of Soviet foreign trade associations at the Eastern Fair.

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The “court cases” of General Ye. F. Kern

Abstract

This article focuses on the battle career of the Russian general, Ye. F. Kern, who dedicated sixty years to the service of the country. General Kern participated in most wars and military campaigns the Russian state was involved in in the last quarter of the 18th-the first quarter of the 19th centuries. Despite being a contemporary and often a companion-in-arms to outstanding Russian public and military officers, he could not secure a dominant position on the military Areopagus. Moreover, in the post-war period his life was scarred by tragedies. In the Russian culture, he became notorious because of his wife. Over the last two centuries, Ye. F. Kern has been described as a “rude” and “ignorant” person destroying the aspirations of a young, courtly, and educated woman towards noble ideals and sublime feelings. This article considers the features of provincial military life in the light of its hardships and routine aggravated by the peculiarities of bureaucracy typical of Russian peripheral centres of the time. The case of Ye. F. Kern helps understand how a Russian general, despite the vicissitudes of fate — battle injuries, career hardships, family discord, and lack of stability — managed to remain true to the once chosen direction in life — service of the country.

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Political science

The Baltic-Pontic region in the Europe-Eurasia dual system

Abstract

This article considers the Baltic-Pontic Sea region not only as a geographical space of Intermarium (Międzymorze, Tarpjūris etc.) but also as Intermundium or the interface of European and Russian (Eurasian) civilization. The study sets out to clarify the logic of changing patterns shaping this geopolitical area. To this end, the concept of the Baltic-Pontic conflict system proposed by Vadim Tsymbursky is applied and further developed. In contrast to his agent-focused vehicle of analysis disclosing the power interactions in Intermarium, the authors advance an alternative structure-focused model of the Baltic-Pontic system (BPS) as a multidimensional evolving space of heterogeneous interactions, which include cooperation. The authors suggest applying the BPS models in interpreting and clarifying historical developments in the area from the late 14th century until the present. The article analyses the spatial, geopolitical and geochronopolitical characteristics of the region, as well as the models of intercivilisational interaction between Europe and Eurasia. The author addresses the issue of the political identity of the region and its ability to play an independent role in the world politics.

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The historical and geographical evolution of the enclavity of the Kaliningrad region

Abstract

This article considers the origin, development, change in the status, and extinction of enclave and exclave formations in the territory of the modern Kaliningrad region. The author offers information on their socio-economic and political features. The article identifies enclave (exclave) problems peculiar to them, including the land access (passenger and cargo transit) of the metropolis to the isolated territory, as well as the issues relating to the origins of state border, border control, visa regime, and political and economic relations to neighbouring states and the mainland. The author reviews cases of evolutional development of enclavity and peaceful and military methods of eliminating enclave formations. Actions towards the solution of political and socioeconomic problems taken in East Prussia are compared to those taken in the Kaliningrad region. The author emphasizes the need to solve the problems of the only Russian exclave region in view of the experience of its historical “predecessors”.

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Historical experience

On the possibility to adopt the historical practice of applying technologies for land fertility increase in Eastern Prussia at agricultural enterprises of the Kaliningrad region

Abstract

This article considers the features of East Prussian land use system, whose crucial component was technologies for land fertility increase. A special package of measures in the framework of melioration and irrigation activities accounted for the high productivity of agriculture in this territory despite the fact that the local climate conditions can hardly be called perfect according to the well-known principles of agricultural science. The authors offer an overview of scientific approaches to the reconstruction and practical application of ideas and principles of progressive agriculture consistent with a more general area of organic agriculture. Special attention is paid to the modern agricultural practice in the territory of the Kaliningrad region — former East Prussia — and the possibilities to use the methods for increasing land fertility that were intensively employed by Prussians.

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Research of young scientists

The position of international community on the restoration of independence of the Baltic States

Abstract

The separation of the Baltics from the Soviet Uni on was a difficult process accompanied by both political and economic conflicts. The third party in the negotiation process was represented by Germany and the USA. This article sets out to identify the role of the USA and Germany in the restoration of Baltic independence. Historicism and objectivity principles serve as the methodological framework for the research. The regional approach was applied in order to integrate the features of regional development into the overall picture of world politics. The scientific and practical significance of the article lies in a scientific evaluation of the Soviet-Baltic relations in 1989—1991. This study can help understand the mechanisms of formulation of foreign policy by the USA, Germany, and the USSR, as well as the practice of political interaction between these countries and the Baltic States. The materials and conclusions of this article can be used for further research on the foreign policies of the USA, Germany, the USSR, and the Baltic republics. In the process of the Baltics gaining their independence, western countries showed an ambivalent position and hesitancy regarding support for the struggle for liberation. As a result of internal contradictions in the USSR, Baltic leaders managed to achieve independence without any effective support from western powers. The research significance of this study lies in a diverse sel ection of sources and a new formulation of the problem of Baltic independence. The practical significance of the article results lies in the applicability of its materials in the development of Russian foreign policy in the Baltic region, further research on the history of the Baltic region, Germany, and the USA, and preparation of lectures.

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The role of the river Rhine in the formation of spatial structure of the economy of European countries (1st century BC — 19th century AD)

Abstract

This article considers the main historical stages of formation of spatial economic structure of the European countries, parts of whose territories lie within the Rhine basin. The analysis covers a protracted chronological interval from the Roman colonization until the beginning of the 20th century. The author emphasizes the role of the River Rhine in the course of territorial structure formation. This study aims to retrace the historical sequence of the formation of territorial structure of economies of the Rhine basin countries. The research and practical significance of the work lies in the identification of the periods of increased activity in the formation of spatial structural communications of the states mentioned. The author applies the historical-descriptive approach and cartographical-geographical modelling to identify the main stages of this process. The author arrives at the following conclusions. The beginning of the formation of spatial structure of economies of the Rhine basin countries dates back to the Roman period of the history of European states rather than the industrial revolution. Similarly, it is possible to assume that primitive integration processes started to develop in the region in the same period. Throughout history, the River Rhine has served as the central axis for economic structure development. The practical significance of the article lies in identifying the early — previously insufficiently studied — stages of formation of territorial economic structure in the historical and geographical context.

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