The Baltic Region

2017 Vol. 9 № 2

Attraction of the Sea

The influence of the sea on the economic development and settlement structure in the Baltic Sea region

Abstract

Earliest studies into the influence of the sea on the economy and settlement structure date back to the mid-19th century. They became common in the 20th century. Researchers have come to a general understanding that a coastal position has a beneficial effect on the development of regions. Such areas have a denser population and develop more rapidly than inland regions. At the same time, the effect of environmental, socioeconomic, demographic, and political factors is often stronger than the influence of the sea. Thus, an inland position can be more beneficial than a coastal one. Both trends are observed in the Baltic Sea macroregion. However, the ‘gravitational force’ of the sea varies from place to place. This article focuses on the most significant differences between territories and countries. These differences reflect the uneven influence of the proximity of the Baltic Sea on the development of population and national economies. Qualitative differences between mesoregions are measured using a combination of theoretical and empirical typologies. An economic, statistical, and cartographic analysis helps to identify a special type of mesoregions — coastal development corridors, which make an important contribution to the economic development and consolidation of the Baltic macroregion. In transnational macroregions, such typological differences must be taken into account in strategic and spatial planning at the intergovernmental level.

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The coastalisation of population in today’s Russia: A sociogeographical explication

Abstract

The coastalisation of population is considered as a prolonged, universal, although not a ubiquitous — socio-geographical process. This process is a result of the evolving spatial architecture of countries and regions, a lack of balance between the potential of leading cities, economic and settlement projections of global geoecological, geo-economic, and geopolitical processes, the scale and effect of transnational and transboundary contracts, and the changing images of coastal areas. This article analyses the trend towards the ‘drift’ of the demographic potential from the inland territories to the coastal periphery, which has been observed in Russia for centuries. A vast body of empirical data and statistics is used to demonstrate that, during the post-Soviet period, coastalisation has become city-centred and regionally/locally selective with a focus on the agglomerations of the Baltic, Caspian, and partly Azov- Black Sea coasts. The multi-scale phenomena of ‘inverse coastalisation’ and ‘quasicoastalisation’ are analysed and relevant cases are considered. The author identifies numerous factors and explores prospects of the further coastalisation of population in the Kaliningrad and Leningrad regions and Saint Petersburg. The author argues that against the background of increasing socioeconomic risks — particularly due to the change in Russia’s geostrategic priorities — the coastal zones remain crucial to the new configuration of the country’s settlement system.

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National and Regional Competitiveness

Country Competitiveness: an Empirical Study

Abstract

What makes countries competitive? What economic policies effectively influence country competitiveness? The aim of this research paper is to analyse country competitiveness empirically, in order to explore the factors that make countries competitive. This can allow governments to structure their business environment differently, and to elaborate strategies aimed at improving their countries’ overall competitiveness. Economic size and trading conditions have proven important for economic success throughout history. Individual competitiveness and business competitiveness are commonly talked about. The author analyses the overall economic competitiveness of countries. The author argues that trade is subject to various factors, including entrepreneurship and economic openness. Competitiveness is analysed in this current research, using IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook data for 55 countries in the estimation sample. This unique research applies a Multinomial Logistic procedure, and a Heckman Two-Step procedure in its accountancy for market size, exports, openness, and foreign direct investment. The business environment factors for estimation are highlighted. Also, several macro-economic modifications of the basic model specification are tested, providing further empirical analysis. Results indicate that the ten most competitive countries tend to be driven by foreign direct investment, exports and entrepreneurship.

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The role of International trade in improving the competitiveness of Saint Petersburg

Abstract

This article aims to explore the prospects for the development of international trade and the impact of trade on increasing competitiveness of Saint Petersburg. To this end, the authors study the theoretical aspects of regional competitiveness as such, analyse the ten years’ data on the city’s international trade, and explore the significance of image, reputation, and information support for the region’s international trade provided by business information centres abroad. The authors employ the methods of expert opinion and statistical analysis as well as the authors’ own data to consider the problems of international trade development in Saint Petersburg and the ways to improve the city’s competitiveness. The authors estimate the international trade performance of Saint Petersburg and outline the key areas for increasing the city’s competitive ability. This article has theoretical and practical significance for experts studying regional competitiveness, for regional authorities, and the business community.

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Social Geography

Territorial differences in the attitudes to the migration crisis in Germany: The political aspect

Abstract

The European migration crisis has divided the population of Germany along the lines of the country’s migration policy and the attitude to immigrants. The antiimmigrant sentiment, supported by the rhetoric of the extreme right-wing parties and the criticism of current policies, have been growing in the society. This article reviews theoretical approaches to the study of public attitude to migrants proceeding from the effect that immigration has on the socioeconomic development of the host society. The authors propose a mechanism for analysing the political life of a society to develop viable approaches to managing the migration shock and mitigating its effect. The article considers the attitudes of the German population to immigration and immigrants in terms of the transformation of electoral preferences under the influence of the migration crisis. Recent data on the electoral standing of the Alternative for Germany party are used to develop a typology of states, based on the level of support for this party from the local population and on other measures of the migration situation and socioeconomic development. The authors identify northeastern regions with a high probability of popular support for the extreme right views on the migration crisis and northern and southwestern states that are most and least susceptible to the extreme right influence.

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Russia’s North-West Borders: Tourism Resource Potential

Abstract

Being an area of development of Russia’s northwest border regions, tourism requires the extending of border regions’ appeal. A unique resource of the northwestern border regions are the current and historical state borders and border facilities. Successful international experience of creating and developing tourist attractions and destinations using the unique geographical position of sites and territories may help to unlock the potential of Russia’s north-western border regions. This article interprets the tourism resource of borders — which often remains overlooked and unfulfilled — as an opportunity for tourism and recreation development in the border regions of Russia’s North-West. The author summarises international practices of using the potential of state borders as a resource and analyses the creation of tourist attractions and destinations in the Nordic countries. The article explores the degree the state border potential is developed as a tourism resource in Russia’s North-West. The author analyses opportunities and gives recommendations for a better use of this potential by the tourist industry to increase the contribution of tourism to regional economies.

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Countries of the Baltic Region in the Global Culinary Space

Abstract

Globalisation is creating a global culinary space where culinary traditions of different countries interact and compete. The author sets out to explore characteristic features of the culinary space of nine Baltic States as part of the global culinary space. The author uses empirical data on the number of restaurants serving different national cuisines in the main cities of the region. The Baltic culinary space incorporates the world’s leading cuisines (Italian, Japanese, Chinese, etc.) as well as the local cuisines of the BSR countries. The world’s leading cuisines prove to be more influential in the region than the local ones. Some countries of the Baltic Sea region (Russia, Poland, Sweden, Latvia, and Denmark) have culinary sovereignty, since their residents prefer national cuisines. In some other countries of the region (Finland, Estonia, and Lithuania), the public favours the world’s leading cuisines — Italian, Japanese and American — over the local ones. The non-capital Baltic cities of Poland and Germany, as well as St. Petersburg, display a greater sense of culinary patriotism than Warsaw, Berlin, and Moscow respectively. This article attempts to explore the features of the Baltic culinary space. The author considers the environmental and socio- historical factors key determinants of the countries’ cuisines.

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International cooperation: history

Modern Hanseatic Trends in the Baltic Region

Abstract

A critical analysis of Hanseatic traditions may produce consequential methodological material for the study of the 21st century Baltic regionalisation. Current trends in the development of the Baltic region, whose academic analysis is impossible without considering earlier cases of successful interactions between the peoples of the Baltic Sea region, necessitate political, economic, and historical research on the strengths and weaknesses of the Hanseatic League. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, the Baltic region turned into a stage for geopolitical controversies. This took a toll on the efficiency of cooperation between the cities of Russia’s North-West and their Baltic counterparts. Therefore, it is important to seize the opportunities provided by the information society and focus on the innovative areas of regional cooperation. An interesting example is the partnership between Baltic universities, which is aimed to draw up an international agenda for sustainable regional development. Baltic cities are involved in various forms of cross-border cooperation, providing opportunities for interstate relations and contributes to laying down crossborder cooperation roadmaps and developing civil society networks. It can be concluded, that the history of the Hanseatic League and its current incarnation — the New Hanse — testify to the fact that productive economic, cultural, and other relations can be established between states but also between cities and universities, thus contributing to closer economic, political and cultural ties between the peoples of the Baltic region.

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The history of the integration between Russia’s Kaliningrad region and Poland’s northeastern voivodeships: A programme approach

Abstract

This article considers the development of integration between Russia’s Kaliningrad region and Poland’s northeastern voivodeships in 1946—2016. The authors set out to identify the main results of Russian-Polish cross-border cooperation in the context of the changing historical and political paradigms in the Baltic region. The authors conduct a brief historical analysis of this sphere of international relations. The genesis of integration at the regional level is explored by identifying the major areas and tools for collaboration. The authors address research works of Russian (Soviet) and Polish researchers, intergovernmental agreements, EU-Russia crossborder cooperation programmes, expert interviews, and relevant analytical reports. Special attention is paid to programme-based interregional and cross-border cooperation as the most efficient form of collaboration for accelerating integration and socio-economic development in border areas. Based on their evaluation of the major achievements, the authors conclude that Russian-Polish cross-border cooperation has been successful. Yet, there is a need for developing a long-term empirical model of Russian-Polish relations in view of the many-years’ collaboration between the Kaliningrad region and the Polish voivodeships.

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