The Baltic Region

Current issue

Russia and its region in the Baltic region

Analysing the dynamics of the Baltic States’s production linkages with Russia

Abstract

Russia and the Baltic States have a long-standing relationship of industrial specialisation, cooperation, division of labour and trade exchange, all dating back to the Soviet Union. Today, this relationship is facing a tough test amid political and ideological challenges and risks. The last two years have seen a profound and large-­scale crisis caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the production linkages between Russia and the Baltic States have adapted in response to the existing problems, remaining resistant to the geopolitical and pandemic shocks. This article examines the production linkages between Russia and the Baltic countries, investigating the export-­import flows of consumer and intermediate goods in 2003—2020. A comparative study of the Baltic States’ production linkages with Russia and their main partners in the EU — Germany and Finland — is carried out. It is concluded that, before the introduction of sanctions in 2014 and the world trade crisis of 2015—2016, Russia was a more promising market than Germany and Finland for the Baltic States’ companies trading in intermediate goods.

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Geoeconomic risks faced by the Russian Baltic region amid a deteriorating geopolitical situation

Abstract

This article is a conceptual theoretical-­­empirical study of the geopolitical risks the Baltic Russian regions have faced amid the deteriorating geopolitical situation observed since 2014. The Baltic Russian regions are in a vulnerable position because of their geographical vicinity to EU countries, with which they share common borders, and the dramatically worsening military and political situation. To analyse geoeconomic risks, the author employed an earlier proposed methodology, which has been tested in Russia and abroad. Four types of geoeconomics risks are examined: spatial, economic, socio-­­demographic, national geopolitical and regional geopolitical. Overall, five levels of geopolitical risks can be distinguished. The contribution sets out to provide a conceptual picture of the geoeconomic risks which the Baltic Russian territories — St. Petersburg, the Republic of Karelia and the Leningrad, Kaliningrad, Novgorod, Pskov and Murmansk regions faced in 2014—2021 as the geopolitical situation changed for the worse in the wake of the Ukraine political crisis (2013 —2014). The objectives of the study included selecting economic, social and international trade indicators and analytics matching each type of the geoeconomic risks. To identify the geo-economic risks of the selected regions, three basic indicators are considered — population, GRP, foreign trade turnover, and changes in other indicators for 2014—2021 were tracked. Eighteen risks divided into four types were explored for the Baltic Russian regions. The geoeconomic risks were grouped into two categories: spatial/geopolitical and economic/socio-­­demographic. A preliminary assessment of the regional risks was obtained using a methodology proposed by the author. The risks in the spatial/geopolitical category are substantial for the Kaliningrad region, whilst the Pskov region and Karelia proved to be most susceptible to the economic/socio­demographic risks.

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International positioning of the region: the image of the Kaliningrad region in the media space of the Baltic states

Abstract

The issue of international positioning is crucial to all exclaves, and the Kaliningrad region surrounded by the Baltic region countries is no exception. This contribution aims to describe a general strategic path for positioning the Russian territory in question. To produce recommendations on a positioning concept, it looks at the ties between the Kaliningrad region and the neighbouring Baltic States and how the former is perceived by the latter. Publication monitoring and media content analysis were carried out to explore the image created in the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian media in recent years. Avenues for positioning are proposed in line with the principles of place branding, and the interests common to the region and the Baltic States are considered through the lens of international cooperation projects. The emphasis is on the prospects for trade relations development. The main advantages of the region are identified, and the risks to be reckoned with when forming a positioning concept are determined. The findings suggest that strategic positioning is feasible in the case of the Kaliningrad region; its focal points may be investment, logistics, tourism and infrastructure. The authors also stress the possibility of developing international cooperation platforms and indicate regional problems of international concern.

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Development of municipal districts in Saint Petersburg over the last decade: an economic and spatial analysis

Abstract

The article analyses economic and spatial indicators to produce a typology of the economic development levels of St. Petersburg municipal districts. To normalise the city’s development, it is vital to understand which territories have contributed more to the process and which have inhibited it. It is also essential to analyse the principal economic indicators of each municipal district and assess transport accessibility, street activity and transit. The study demonstrates the connection between the economy and space, which gives the answer to the question about the causes of economic growth. An economic analysis of the districts is carried out by ranking ten leading indicators obtained from the municipal databases and geoinformation services, whilst a spatial analysis is performed based on testing the Space Syntax methodology. The study made it possible to describe the city’s spatial development, improve the methodology and provide recommendations for municipal administrators. The findings will enhance strategic urban planning in St. Petersburg.

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Foreign policy of the EU countries

Non-expansionist variants of Poland's strategic culture: a retrospective of ideas and current implications

Abstract

This article examines how non-expansionist types of strategic culture emerged and gradually developed in Poland. The study aims to identify the features of non-expansionist types of Polish strategic culture for a more objective analysis of the country's modern foreign and security policy. The article begins by describing the emergence and use of the concept of strategic culture, offering a typology of strategic cultures based on the work of the 'cultural realist' Alastair Johnston. Then it employs a qualitative method of process tracing to outline the sequence of events and the ideological constructs that led to the emergence or degradation of the corresponding types of strategic culture. The strategic culture of neutrality, exposed to external influences and revised republicanism ideas, is shown to have laid the foundation for a strategic culture of political fortification (or an outpost) in Poland. This strategic culture has its origins in the idea of the ethical superiority of the Polish state, although the details of this superiority may differ dramatically in specific situations. At the same time, none of the types of the accommodation culture has yet emerged in Poland, albeit accommodation seems to be a promising lead for the further development of the country’s strategic culture.

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German participation in the Three Seas Initiative: opportunities for Russia

Abstract

The Three Seas Initiative was launched in 2016 by the Polish and Croatian leaders to bridge the gap between Southeast, Central and Eastern Europe, on the one hand, and Western Europe, on the other. This article aims to show how German policy on the Three Seas Initiative has changed and what risks and opportunities it represents for Russia. The official data on the Three Seas Initiative was used to explore the specifics of the concept and the impact of its most promising projects on the Southeast, Central and Eastern European markets. The analysis of materials from German think tanks and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was used to demonstrate the changes in Germany’s attitude towards the Initiative. Although the participating countries have not received sufficient funding to fulfil all the ambitious goals of the Three Seas Initiative, some of its most promising projects could still diminish Russian role in the EU energy market. Since 2018, the Federal Republic of Germany has increased its participation in the Initiative, yet Berlin’s growing focus on the concept should not be perceived critically since German participation could mitigate anti-Russian sentiment underlying the Three Seas Initiative. Moreover, ideas voiced by the members of the German Free Democratic Party, namely those concerning a joint hydrogen project with Russia to be run as a part of the Three Seas Initiative, deserve special attention.

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Migration and ethnicity

Immigration policy and integration of migrants in the Kingdom of Denmark at the beginning of the XXI century

Abstract

Denmark upholds high standards of human rights as long as the interests of its citizens are concerned but erects barriers for migrants of a different cultural background who might threaten the security of the national community. The Danish tradition of liberalism, humanism and the welfare state coexists with one of Europe’s most restrictive policies towards third-country immigrants. The article traces the evolution of management approaches to developing the immigration policy and integrating foreign cultural migrants in Denmark. It describes the value determinants of these changes. Using the neo-institutional methodology, the authors analyse the evolution of the value determinants of Denmark’s immigration policy and look at the national norms and practices of integrating migrants from a different cultural background. A restrictive immigration policy became possible due to a consensus between the main political forces, the left Social Democratic Party and the right Liberal Party Venstre, both willing to keep in check electoral support for the radical right-wing parties (the effect of ‘contagion from the right’ in Maurice Duverger’s terms). The object of Denmark’s restrictive integration policy is migrants from a different cultural background (mainly from Muslim countries). The government takes systematic measures to restrict their access to the country. As to migrant integration, the focus has shifted to ‘hard’ assimilation of civiс democratic values, benefits linked to employment, and deportation of migrants who have committed crimes.

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Between the Eurasian and European subsystems: migration and migration policy in the CIS and Baltic Countries in the 1990s—2020s

Abstract

The article analyses migration from border countries (the so-called overlapping area) of two migration subsystems — Eurasian (centred in the Russian Federation) and European (the European Union) from 1991 to 2021 (before the recent events in Ukraine). A step-by-step analysis of the migration situation in the countries of the former USSR — Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine and Estonia was conducted. The article examines bilateral and multilateral migration processes, analyses the main factors influencing their development and explores migration policy measures and their impact on the regulation of migration processes in the countries of the overlapping area. These countries, located between the two centres of major migration subsystems in Eurasia (Eurasian and European, or, in other words, between the Russian Federation and the core of the EU), are subject to their strong influence and ‘competitive gravitation’.
The strength of this gravitation depends not only on pull and push factors but also on the attractiveness and non-attractiveness of the migration policies prevailing in these migration subsystems at a given point in time.

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The Russian-speaking diaspora in the Baltic states: a socio-cultural aspect

Abstract

Currently, more than 20 million Russians permanently reside outside Russia. As migration trends show, their number will be increasing in the future. The Russian-speaking diaspora in the Baltic States is an essential part of the Russian community abroad. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia used to be a single state with Russia for a long time. It could not but affect the formation of these countries as subjects of international politics. Since May 2004, the Baltic States have been members of the European Union. Together with Finland, they constitute the EU’s border space with Russia. To a large extent, it determines their geopolitical role in Europe. The article examines the Russian-speaking diaspora in the Baltic States. It substantiates the factors facilitating its stability and the preservation of the Russian cultural space, analyses the socio-economic and legal status of different groups of Russian-speaking residents, and identifies the peculiarities of various groups of the Russian-speaking population as well as prospects for the development of the diaspora.

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