The Baltic Region

2014 Issue №3(21)

Border Position as a Factor of Strategic and Territorial Planning in Russian Regions in the Baltic

Abstract

In the conditions of globalization, Russian border regions can form transborder regions through cooperation with the neighbouring territories of other states. The optimisation of spatial organisation of economy, social sphere, and nature management using the tools of spatial planning is fully justified in the case of transborder regions as well as in that of national ones. However, in Russia, spatial (strategic and territorial) planning does not imply joint development of documents with the border regions of neighbouring states. Nevertheless, the border position of a region (at least, due to the presence of border zones) has a significant effect on the content of regional strategies for socioeconomic development and schemes for territorial planning of constituent entities and municipal districts. The result is a combination of measures aimed simultaneously at solving defence problems, delivering economic security, and supporting trans-border cooperation. The Baltic macroregion has vast experience in developing joint Russia-EU programmes. This experience of coordinating activities in the economic and sociocultural spheres, as well as international spatial planning innovations (German landscape planning, etc.), can be adopted in Russia.

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Theoretical Aspects of Cross-border Integration-based Economic Cooperation

Abstract

In this article the author analyses theoretical aspects of border economy in the conditions of modern processes of integration. The author describes the existing schools and concepts of integration stressing the role of government regulation relating to the deformations in the development of the world economic mechanism. Modern studies focus on the evolution of integration processes, which has largely affected the key elements of the world economic mechanism from classical political economy, monopoly regulation. This resulted in monopolistic competition, imperfect competition, and oligopoly – largely, through all fields and poles of economic growth to certain elements of government regulation and social reproduction on the international scale. The author examines the key elements and stages of economic integration. These stages assume a number of consecutive forms: free trade zone, customs union, common market, complete economic integration, and economic union. The article shows that the transition occurs from the lowest to the highest stages — from the processes of integration involving, firstly, trade market and then capital and labour markets to the integration of social sphere. The theoretical aspects of all these transformations can be easily traced in the case of EU integration processes.

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Borders and Identity in Theory and Practice of the Eastern Baltic Region

Abstract

At the present stage of social development in Europe and Russia, studies analyzing and evaluating ethnic and national borders are of increasing relevance. Over the last three decades, the state borders in the Baltic region have been stable, which is not the case in Europe in general. The author believes that the key reason behind the current crisis in Russia-EU relations is the conspicuous neglect of Russian interests in the neighboring countries that formed after the disintegration of the USSR. However, escalation of the conflict was historically and geographically predetermined. The political borders of post-Soviet states do not coincide with the ethnic ones and, therefore, the attempts to consolidate states through ethnic mobilization meet corresponding resistance from groups with a different identity. In the Baltic region, these processes have not reached the Ukrainian scale; however, there are prerequisites for ethno-political conflicts of this type. The post-Crimean political debate in the Baltic states has shown that that hardliners of a strict assimilation model of state identity prevail in Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn. This study sets out to analyze the political consequences of the conflict between the existing models of ethnopolitical identification in the border areas of the Eastern Baltic region. The main result of the study is that it has proved the existence of a special type of identity characteristic of border regions of the Baltic countries. In the context of this identity, the classic postmodernist dilemma of “us and them” is insufficient for a proper scientific analysis, and even more so for a political forecast. The formation of a special “double” or “transitional” identity in the border areas can serve both as a tool for strengthening of states and intergovernmental relations and as a ground for large-scale conflicts with hardly predictable consequences.

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Polish-Russian Small Border Traffic in the Context of Russia-EU Relations

Abstract

This article sets out to analyse the Polish-Russian agreement on small border traffic in the context of relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation. The analysis focuses on the role of the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation in relations between the EU and Russia and conditions of the Polish-Russian agreement on small border traffic. The methodology employed is based on analysing primary (documents) and secondary (scholarly publications, press articles) sources. The article also addresses the “Kaliningrad question” — one of the most important issues in Russia-EU relations. The analysis shows that the signing of the Polish-Russian agreement on small border traffic should be viewed as a success. Based on the agreement, the inhabitants of borderlands in Poland and Russia (the Kaliningrad region) can cross the border without obtaining an entry visa. For the inhabitants of the borderlands, the agreement brings a range of significant advantages relating to the intensification of social, cultural, touristic, and economic contacts. It is worth noting that the agreement is one of very few examples of EU —Russia cooperation, especially in context of deterioration thereof observed over the last several years.

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The Kaliningrad Region as a Potential Coastal Transport Cluster

Abstract

The coastal regions of Russia, which ensure the country’s major export/import transactions, have potential for developing special forms of spatial organisation of regional transport system – transport clusters. This form of spatial organisation is better adapted (in comparison to a transport complex) to the ever-changing conditions of a competitive market. It suggests that all business entities of the territory interact thus increasing the competitiveness of transport cluster as a whole. The Kaliningrad region is one of the territories where the formation of an efficient international transport cluster is possible. This article offers a definition of a transport cluster and describes its internal organisation as well as the features of formation thereof in the Kaliningrad region. The practical significance of the article lies in justifying the production of practical recommendations for developing the region’s transport potential based on the cluster theory. One of the major results of the study that is presented in this article is the justification of the need for modernising the information and organisational elements of the regional transport complex alongside modernising the transport system infrastructure.

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Cross-border Tourism in the Russian Northwest: General Trends and Features of Development

Abstract

As a result of the socioeconomic transformations in the Russian Federation, the openness of border regions under the influence of integration process taking place in the world community facilitates tourist mobility between neighbouring countries. The author describes an approach that considers the border regions of Northwest Russia as attractive destinations for tourists from neighbouring countries. The development of cross-border tourism as a specific form characteristic of only border regions is one of key areas of tourism development in these regions. An assessment of the prospects of developing cross-border tourism in the border regions of Russian Northwest becomes a relevant research objective. The author identifies the specific features and general trends in the development of cross-border tourism in the Russian regions in question. It is proven that Russian border regions are less competitive than the territories of neighbouring states in terms of the development of crossborder tourism. The author also points out to the avenues of stimulating cross-border tourism development in Russian border regions.

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The Development of New Trans-border Water Routes in the South-East Baltic: Methodology and Practice

Abstract

This article offers an integrative approach to the development of trans-border water routes. Route development is analysed in the context of system approach as integration of geographical, climatic, meaning-related, infrastructural, and marketing components. The authors analyse the Russian and European approaches to route development. The article focuses on the institutional environment and tourist and recreational resources necessary for water route development. Special attention is paid to the activity aspect of tourist resources. At the same time, the development of all routes included an analysis of physical geographical, technological, infrastructural, economic, political, and social aspects. The case of water routes developed in the framework of the Crossroads 2.0 international project is used to describe the practical implementation of the theoretical assumptions. The work also tests the methodology of point rating for objects that can be potentially included in the route. The creation of trans-border water routes is presented as an innovative technology of identifying a territory’s potential and its further development. The authors stress the trans-border nature of water routes is their essential characteristic based on the natural properties of water routes.

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