The Kaliningrad Region: Challenges of the Exclave Position and Ways to Offset Them
The recent geopolitical shifts and Russia’s response to them have had a significant impact on the Kaliningrad region. This has created new challenges and warranted a revision of the old ones. The article investigates the reaction of the region’s economy to the challenges of its exclave position and considers possible measures to offset related problems in the current geopolitical situation. The article employs statistics, regional strategies, cross-border cooperation programmes, and expert interviews conducted by the authors in Kaliningrad in 2012—2014. The vast body of empirical data is instrumental in analysing the views of different stakeholders and estimating the problems and prospects of the region’s development as either Russia’s military outpost in Europe or as a ‘cooperation laboratory.’ The analysis takes into account collaborations with the neighbouring states. In striving to identify the preferable regional development conception, the authors reveal low susceptibility of local cross-border cooperation actors to the belligerent rhetoric of national authorities on either side of the border. The study of the state of affairs in tourism, a promising area of regional specialization, demonstrates a dual effect of the exclave position, which can be considered both as a challenge and an opportunity.