The Baltic Region

2019 Vol. 11 № 1

Economics and Space

The resistance of the greater Baltic region states to market cycle changes

Abstract

A non-linear change process is a specific feature of a poorly regulated market economy. However, many researchers have shown that different economic sectors do not respond to market cycles in a similar way. Regional economic systems are a combination of many sectors, therefore a hypothesis about the correlation between the stability of regional economies and market cycles is examined. The study is conducted using the Baltic countries (hereinafter referred to as Greater Baltic Region, GBR) as an example. GBR countries have been classified into highly stable, relatively stable, unstable, and highly unstable based on the study of the stability of national economies to global cycle processes. The GDP dynamics of the countries were compared to GDP cycles of the US and the EU, which are the main financial centres. To understand the reasons, the sectoral structure of GDP is additionally considered. The results allow the author to classify of GBR countries according to the structure of economic sectors and the stability of the regional economy.

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Environmental intensity of economic growth in the Baltic Sea region

Abstract

National economic development is subject to a number of restrictions. One of the main con­straints is the threat of complete exhaustion of non-renewable resources and environmen­tal pollution exceeding the capacity of the planet. However, the rapid spread of resource-saving technologies is reducing the environmental intensity of economic activities. In this study, I aim to examine the ecological-economic dynamics of the environmental effects of economic development in the regions of Russia’s North-Western Federal District (NWFD). I employ an extended version of Peter A. Victor’s model to produce a comprehensive evalua­tion of chang­es in economic indicators and correlate them with the total and specific envi­ronmental im­pact. Iconduct a factor analysis to identify the main effects influencing theecological-eco­nomic dynamics. The use of water resources in the NWFD demonstrates green growth, whereas electricity consumption and wastewater treatment fall into the brown zone and in­dustrial and municipal waste treatment into the black one. The factor analysis has shown that population change has a very weak effect on the situation. Much more influential factors are the income effect (higher incomes translate into greater consumption and thus more signifi­cant pollution levels) and the technological effect produced by a decrease in the environmen­tal intensity of production. To promote green development, it is advisable to in­crease the in­fluence of the technological effect by stimulating resource efficiency and switch­ing to the cir­cular economy model.

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Coastal agglomerations and the transformation of national innovation spaces

Abstract

In this article, I discuss the role of coastal agglomerations in the territorial heterogeneity of the world economy and the global innovation space. I pay particular attention to how prox­imity to the sea and ocean coasts influences the dynamics of innovation processes. I analyse coastalisation (the movement of economic activity and population to coastal zones) by con­sidering the effects and inland diffusion of the exceptionally high innovative potential of coastal agglomerations. I put forward the hypothesis that coastal agglomerations are the most important transformational elements of a national innovation system. Further, I outline and systematise findings dealing with the specifics of innovative processes taking place in coastal agglomerations under the influence of the agglomerative and coastal factors. The result of this study is a comparison and assessment of the mutual influence of the two effects of spatial development that translate into the unique identity of coastal zone cities: urbanisa­tion and coastalisation.

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Politics

The Polish minority in the Republic of Lithuania: internal and external factors

Abstract

The ethnic makeup of the population significantly affects the domestic policy of any state, and its relations with neighbouring countries. Although interactions with ethnic minorities are not as urgent a problem in Lithuania as they are in the two other Baltic States, ethnicity-related conflicts continue to occur, particularly, as regards the relations between the Lithua­nian state and the Polish minority, which is the largest in the country. The Polish minority—Lithuania—Poland relations are not the only factor that affects the situation of the Poles in Lithuania. The other important factors are Lithuania and Poland’ EU membership, the rela­tions between Lithuania and Russia, and the Russian minority in Lithuania. Our analysis shows that the EU membership of Lithuania and Poland did not provide an instant solution to the problem of the Polish minority but rather attenuated it. Although the EU factor played a significant role before the accession of Poland and Lithuania to the Union, its influence is very limited today. The effect of the Russian factor is different. Strained Polish-Russian rela­tions do not affect the relations between the Polish and Russian minorities in Lithuania. On the contrary, both minorities collaborate on a wide range of issues.

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The military and political situation in the Baltic region in the late 20th/early 21st centuries: the prospects of ‘uneasy peace’

Abstract

In this article, we consider the development of international relations in the Baltic region in the late 20th/early 21st centuries. This study aims to analyse the security prospects of the Baltic region in view of the changes in the overall geopolitical situation in Europe and in the relations between Russia and its closest neighbours and the leading NATO countries. We examine the ideas and forecasts of international and Russian experts relating to the state and dynamics of military security in the region at the first stage of the Baltics’ member­ship in NATO. Another focus is on changes in the strategy of the NATO leadership for the Baltic region as a priority zone of potential warfare and, thus, for the presence of the alliance in the area. We stress that the steps taken by the NATO leadership prompted the Russian side to assign a special role in the country’s foreign policy to the Kaliningrad region and to take practical steps to ensure peace and security in the region.

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Society

Inclusive education in Russia and the Baltic countries: a comparative analysis

Abstract

In this study, we examine the current state and prospects of inclusive education for learners with special needs and disabilities in the countries of the Baltic region (Poland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, and Russia). We present a SWOT analysis of the development of inclusive education in different countries and analyse its strengths and weaknesses, risks, threats, and challenges from a political, economic, and technological perspective. In our analysis, we dissociate the issue of inclusive education from the problem of teaching learners with disabilities and examine the political, economic, social, and technological aspects of the environment that affect the educational situation of learners with disabilities. We consider inclusive education in the context of the documents of the Euro­pean Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education — an active educational institution that facilitates the preparation and adaptation of all learners to life in complex multicultural and integrated societies through rights, freedom, tolerance, and non-discrimination of per­sons with disabilities. Our analysis of inclusive education trends relies on the assessment of the goals and objectives, accessibility, and socio-cultural and economic feasibility of inclu­sive educational systems. We stress political, socio-cultural, and technological differences in practices, dynamics, and prospects for inclusive education in the Baltic region countries and Russia.

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Territorial structure of the denominational space of the South-East Baltic

Abstract

The South-East Baltic is a meeting place of three branches of Christianity: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Lutheranism. Dominant in the Baltic region, these religious confessions define the cultural landscape of the area. At the same time, they have an indirect effect on socio-economic development. In this study, we aim to identify the main components of the territorial structure and the formation and transformation factors of the denominational space in the South-East Baltic. The complexity of the denominational structure of the local population stems from the centuries-long position of this region as a political buffer zone. We calculate the potential denominational structure and the potential religious fractionalisation index at the level of basic territorial units and regions southeast of the Baltic Sea. Based on this, we identify the main components of the territorial structure of the denominational space, which includes three denominational shields and contact zones between them. From a practical viewpoint, these components suggest a new variant of the territorial differentiation of the Baltic region. This variant has only limited relevance to ethnic and socioeconomic zoning.

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Eхperience of the Baile-Felix tourist system (Romania) for the protection and promotion of the grey seal as a brand on the Hel Peninsular (Poland)

Abstract

The Pârâul Pețea Nature Reserve is located in Bihor County (Romania), in the area of the Băile-Felix rural tourist system. It has gained international popularity due to the existence of an ecosystem with thermal waters. Thermal springs are the habitat of rare fauna (Scardinius racovitzai, Melanopsis parreyssi) and flora species including the unique Nymphaea lotus var. thermalis, a tertiary relict lotus flower. Situated on the Hel Peninsula of the Baltic Sea, Hel Marine Station (HMS) is one of the most interesting tourist attractions thanks to the project aimed at the protection of the grey seal in the Polish waters. We employed a number of tools and methods (including observation and monitoring) over a period of three years for the creation of a comprehensive database. We studied the actual condition of separate elements of the two tourist systems and compared the two tourist destinations. We identified differences and similarities between the two places. The lotus flower and the grey seal have become an integral part of the local, national and international collective mentality. Special attention was paid to the causes of almost total extinction of rare species despite being indispensable elements in the promotion and rebranding of the two tourist destinations. We explored the degree of knowledge and the awareness of their value in the local mentality.

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