The Baltic Region

2014 Issue №4(22)

International Relations

The Youth in Kaliningrad, Gdansk and Klaipeda: Geopolitical Vision of the World, Identity and Images of the Other

Abstract

This work juxtaposes the analysis of the federal discourse on the exclave position of the Kaliningrad region in 1994—2012 based on the screening by the Nezavisimaya gazeta and the results of surveys of students at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University and the Universities of Gdansk and Klaipeda using a similar questionnaire. Students of all three universities show latent dissatisfaction with employment prospects, which is manifested in the declared intention to emigrate. The orientation of young residents of Kaliningrad and their peers from Gdansk and Klaipeda towards prevailing connections with Europe is complicated by the uncertainty of the EU-Russia relations. Young residents of Gdansk and Klaipeda reproduce dated stereotypes, and their interest in the Kaliningrad region is limited. However, as the experience of the other countries suggests, local border traffic between the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring Polish voivodeships can contribute to the improvement of mutual images. Long-lasting eforts to diversify cooperation and promote a positive image of Kaliningrad in the neighbouring Polish regions can prove worthwhile. Apart from the measures aimed at strengthening the region’s economic base, it is necessary to increase the symbolic capital of Kaliningrad to achieve harmonious development of Kaliningrad identity.

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Local Border Traffic as a Form of Visa Liberalisation and Territorial Development

Abstract

This article addresses the issue of visa liberalisation between Russia and the European Union, which constitutes a key aspect of the parties’ diplomatic cooperation. This work sets out to identify the main results of Russia/EU cooperation. The authors have conducted a brief historical analysis of this area of relations. The visa “regionalisation” is considered in the context of identifying the key actors of the EU — Russia negotiations: the Kaliningrad region, Germany, Poland, and Lithuania. In their analysis, the authors rely mostly on primary sources: intergovernmental agreements on simplified border traffic, border-crossing statistics for the Kaliningrad region in the framework of the local border traffic, expert interviews, and related analytic reports. Specifically, local border traffic is viewed as the most effective form of interaction in the field of visa regime simplification and border territory development. An assessment of the positions of key negotiators shows that local border traffic between the Kaliningrad region of Russia and the Polish border voivodeships is a success, which stresses the need for a prompt transition to a visa-free regime with the EU.

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The Role of Small Countries in Post-Soviet Territorial Restructuring: the Baltic Case

Abstract

This author analyses the 2013 Lithuanian presidency of the EU in the context of the Ukrainian crisis and evaluates the contribution of Latvia and Estonia (the former Soviet republics set to preside over the EU in 2015 and 2018) to the shift in the power balance in the post-Soviet space. Through assessing the actions of small countries in promoting the Eastern Partnership programme with an emphasis on the anti-Russian agenda, the author concludes that they will inflict harm on the EU in a long-term perspective. These former Soviet republics no longer rely on mere diplomacy, but resort to a whole new problematic narrative, where Russia is described as an “aggressive and unpredictable neighbour” that poses the “threat from the East.” Being more mobile, small countries are able to concentrate power and resources in one or several key areas. This makes it possible for these countries to take advantage of international politics (even if the consequences of such steps are miscalculated) and “feed” on it through — so metimes consciously — creating “conflict nodes” in the relations between major players. This is especially true in the case of states that do not bear responsibility for global stability.

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Economy and Tourism

The Coastal Regions of Europe: Economic Development at the Turn of the 20th Century

Abstract

This article explores the current condition and spatial dynamics of the key socioeconomic processes in the coastal zone of the European subcontinent at the turn of the 20th century. Europe is a region where the “coastal component” of socioeconomic development plays a major role and is therefore one of the most interesting objects for research in this field. Russian geographical proximity to the European countries, a significant number of shared problems, and a considerable potential for cooperation in solving them and developing the world ocean’s resources create grounds for an integrated study of European coastal regions. The author analyses Russian findings in the field of the socioeconomic development of coastal regions. The differences in the natural and socioeconomic conditions and resources along a significant portion of the European coastline necessitate the zoning of subcontinent’s coastal territories and contiguous water areas. The findings of EU maritime research constitute the economic and statisti cal basis of the study, whose author, relying on necessary calculations, proposes a new concept of coastal regions.The study identifies significant differences in the nature and trends in the development of European coastal regions in the first decade of the 21st century. Thus, Russian coastal regions show the most dynamic development rate. In general, coastal regions are not superior to inland European regions in terms of major development rates.

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The concept of “network” in the system of basic concepts of regional economic geography

Abstract

The concept of “network” is traditionally used in sociological and economic sciences and serves as an in important object of research on the organisational forms of different phenomena and processes. This article examines the use of the “network” concept in socioeconomic geography through identifying the place of this concept in the system of traditional concepts of this branch of geography: spatial system, territorial production complex, and cluster. The interaction between networks on a certain territory at a certain stage of its development comprises the framework of a region as a complex socioeconomic territorial system. The author examines economic networks as organic systems characterised by resistance to external effects and comprised of interconnected economic agents from one or several related industries. A concentration of strong connections within such network constitutes its core or a cluster. Based on a retrospective analysis of studies into the spatial organisation of economy, it is concluded that there is a need to examine network forms from the perspective of regional socioeconomic geography in the context of managerial decision-making. The regional economic geographical approach to studying network forms of spatial organisation makes it possible to take into account not only the organisational features of the network itself, but also their connections to the related contextual conditions. It is an integrated approach, thus, it makes it possible to forecast the development of a certain network form in case of a change in the conditions or factors affecting it.

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Kaliningrad Architectural Landscape as a Tourist Attraction

Abstract

The authors consider the development of urban tourism as one of the factors behind the socioeconomic development of a territory. They give estimates for tourism revenues associated with the emergence of a new attraction and its inclusion into travel itineraries and landmark maps. The authors look at the experience of development of historical European towns from the perspective of tourist attractiveness and explore the role of architectural landscape in creating a positive image of a town for tourists; they also provide a background for including historical and cultural landmarks into a traveller’s experience. The authors analyse the results of the international urban development competition for the best concept of the historical area of the centre of Kaliningrad Korolevskaya Gora and Its Surroundings/The Heart of the City. Further, they come up with recommendations on using the most interesting proposals of the contestants from the perspective of tourist attractiveness and identify the possibilities for the development of new architectural landscapes.

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History

The Evolution of Settlement Areas of Ingrian Finns in Northwest Russia in the Second Half of the 20th Century

Abstract

Based on the nation-wide censuses conducted between 1959 and 2010 in the Soviet Union and in the Russian Federation, as well as on the contemporary data of the Estonian Department of Statistics, the author of this article studies the spatial aspects of the dynamics of the ethnic area of Ingrian Finns within their main settlement area. This is done through utilizing ethnicity-related statistical data of the district at the lowest level of administrative division. The author emphasises a significant increase in the rates of degradation of the Ingiran settlement area in the post-Soviet period, identifies the factors behind it, and considers district differences in the rates of depopulation and assimilation of the Russian Finns. The results of research make it possible to foreground and describe in detail the available information on the spatial organisation of Russian Finnish population in the North-western region of Russia.

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The Works of Modern Russian Historians and the Historiography of Medieval Lithuania before and after the Red October

Abstract

This article examines the views of modern Russian scholars A. Dvornichenko, M. Krom, A. Filyushkin, and S. Mikhalchenko on the pre-revolutionary and Soviet historiography of medieval Lithuania. Chronological problem analysis constitutes the methodological framework of the study. Special attention is paid to the priorities of the Russian scholars in the analysis of the pre-revolutionary and Soviet Lithuanian studies. It is shown that the disintegration of the Soviet Union marked a new period in research on the historiography of medieval Lithuania. The activation of historical and historiographical studies was a result of a revision of views of Lithuanian past. The authors believe that modern historiography exhibits a “nostalgic” attitude to pre-revolutionary works, while the reception of the later, Soviet-era publications is more critically inclined. Post-Soviet historians do not restrict themselves by describing previous historiography: they also consider factors behind the change in the attitudes to Lithuani an past. Thus, the scholars pay special attention to studying the connection between the political situation and the evolution of the views of Russian scholars on the events of Lithuanian history.

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Reviews

Academic Science on the Interdisciplinary Approach to the Analysis and Evaluation of Russian Spatial Development

Abstract

Фундаментальные проблемы пространственного развития Российской Федерации: междисциплинарный синтез : коллективная монография. — М. : Медиа-Пресс, 2013. — 663 с.
[Basic problems of the spatial development of the Russian Federation: An interdisciplinary synthesis : multi-authored monograph. — M. : Media-Press, 2013. — 663 pp.]

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Europe without Russia and the Eastern

Abstract

Пономарева Е., Шишелина Л. Председательство Латвии в ЕС-2015: «Eastern Partnerhsip» вместо или вместе с Россией : аналитический доклад / под ред. О. Гаман-Голутвиной ; Российская ассоциация политической науки. — М., 2014. — 92 с.
[Ponomareva E., Shishelina L. Latvian presidency of the EU-2015: Eastern partnership instead of or with Russia : an analytical report / ed. by O. Gaman-Golutvina ; Russian Political Science Association. — M., 2014. — 92 pp.]

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