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KALININGRAD IDENTITY(1)

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									                               KALININGRAD IDENTITY
                                   12-13 March 2007

                                 Workshop “Neighbours”


Workshop leaders: Tatyana Ponomarenko and Thomas Lundén
Secretary: Justina Donielaite
Participants: Hanne Birkenbach, Michael Gilek, Erik Hammarskjöld, Vera Zabotkina, Peter
Althini, Eva Ehrstedt, Mårten Lindblom, Vyacheslav Nikolaevich Mishin, Unto Vesa, Nina
Nikolajevna Vorontsova, Jelena Romanenko, Valentina Zherebzova, Stanislav Nekrasov,
Hans Svensson, Vladimir Kuzmin, Vera Nikolajevna Matvejeva and Ala Dadydova.

Notes from day 1

Neighbours are separated by fences, countries – by boarders. Nevertheless, neighbours are
very important and can help us to solve common problems.

Hanne Birkenabach, Prof. Dr., Institute of Political Science, University of Giessen, Germany

After 1990 a multitude of external actors became actively involved in the Russian
transformation process and Kaliningrad affairs. Involvement of Germany was the most
controversial among them. German approach could be described by three characteristics:

   a) presence (e.g. “Hanse-Office” since 1992, “German-Russian House” since 1993,
      German Consulate General since 2004);
   b) restraint (restraint from any activity that might contribute to politicising the
      Kaliningrad constellation, restraint from voicing expectations towards Russia as
      regards social, political and societasl transformatioo in Kaliningrad and restraint from
      any conditionality);
   c) commitment (co-operation, partnership agreements, business training, exchange
      schemes, humanitarian aid, German language teaching etc.).

German Kaliningrad policy was chosen for the following reasons:

   a) Kaliningrad is of little relevance to German strategic interests, so Germany is not
      ready to get involved in any international disputes on the Kaliningrad question.
   b) Kaliningrad may become an issue of conflict in Europe, mainly due to unsolved
      Baltic-Russian quarrels. Germany wants to be kept informed.
   c) Kaliningrad is a slippery issue in Germany and abroad. Domestically, Kaliningrad is
      perceived as a lost territory, its history is traumatic and many people still live with
      contradictious sentiments. Abroad, German crimes are not forgotten and many
      countries remain suspicious of German motives in former German territories. Some
      Russian voices expect Germany to make a deal with Russia in order to allow the
      territory to return to Germany.

   German Kaliningrad policy has helped to achieve the following results:

   a) Trust within Russian-German interrelations has increased, German presence in
      Kaliningrad is today appreciated by Russian authorities;


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   b) German culture is tolerated and integrated into Russian identity policy.
   c) German presence has helped to prevent isolation of the people in Kaliningrad from
      developments beyond the Russian boarders.

   The German policy has also its shortcomings:

   a) German role is too passive towards the existing tension within Baltic-Russian-German
      relations.
   b) Germany focuses too much on the ruins and of a pre-war and pre-democratic German
      culture in stead of paying more attention to the actual diversity of German and
      European culture. The German approach should become more creative.

   Proposals for improvements:

   a) Opening a European department within the German-Russian house and inviting the
      Council of Europe to act as an umbrella organisation. One of the goals is to explore
      the potentials of a common EU-Russian cultural space.
   b) On demand Germany might be willing to take a more active role in EU-Russian
      relations.

Erik Hammansköld, Ambassador, Ministry of Environment & Minitry for Foreign Affairs,
Stockholm, Sweden

We shouldn‟t wait for the agreement between EU and Russia, because it can take too long. In
stead, EU and Russian citizens should address this issue and demand concrete action from
their politicians.

There won‟t be more diplomatic missions in the Kaliningrad region than we have now.
German, Polish, Lithuania, Latvian and Swedish consular offices should help Kaliningrad
citizens to acquire visas to other 22 EU countries without having to go to Moscow.
Agreement with EU on charging lower visa fee och issuing free of charge visas to Kaliningrad
citizens travelling abroad should be reached. There‟s such option within Schengen
regulations. Legal bureaucracy can take some time but the issue is possible to solve. The most
radical proposal would be to introduce visa-free regime between the Kaliningrad region and
EU. Moscow would probably say „no‟ to such EU proposal though the Russian government
has been active in discussions about simplifying the visa regime.

Vera Zabotkina, vice-rector of International Affairs, Immanuel Kant State University of
Russia in Kaliningrad

The Kaliningrad region functions as a symbolic bridge between past and present, between
Europe and Russia. Although there‟s an old Russian saying that “Good fences make good
neighbours”, we should break fences and build bridges.

At present the Immanuel Kant State University in Russia (IKSUR) has 13 000 students, 13
faculties and 41 education programme. In order to meet new demands of the region two new
faculties – Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Service – were recently established. IKSUR
has partnership agreements with more than 50 universities from 16 countries. Annually
around 150 professors and 500 students go abroad on various exchange programmes, which is
a higher number compared to St. Petersburg and Moscow universities.


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Sharing the experiences and developing new forms of international cooperation is one of the
main priorities for the University.

German, Swedish, Lithuanian and Polish universities have always been important cooperation
partners for IKSUR. Cooperation with Gotland university in Sweden has given an opportunity
for students from Kaliningrad to participate in summer school on Gotland and discuss
environmental, legal, economic and other important issues for the development of the Baltic
Sea region. Students studying Swedish in Kaliningrad have possibility to go to Karlskrona
fokhögskola and study for the period of 0,5-1 year. Exchange programmes with Malmö
university also play an important role in breaking existing stereotypes among students from
both countries.

Prof. Vera Zabotkina travels to Poland every second week in order to give English lectures at
Olsztyn university. Professors from Poland are also coming to teach in Kaliningrad. Medical
students of IKSUR have an opportunity to use anatomical theatre at Gdansk university.

Some other examples of international cooperation are:

   a) The Baltic University Programme (coordinated by Uppsala university);
   b) The Baltic Sea Region University Network (coordinated by University of Turku);
   c) The Baltic Sea Virtual Campus (consists of 20 partners from the entire Baltic Sea
      area).

One of the most recent cooperation projects is a bipolar cooperation between IKSUR and
Klaipeda university in Lithuania within the frame of the Interreg III programme. A data base
for young scholars is going to be established, summer schools are planned as well as
conferences and publications within the field of environment protection, linguisticts,
etnography and political sciences.

As F. Dostojevskij has once said, “Russian person is open and absorbs all cultures. We are not
becoming less Russian, we are becoming more educated”. Having a strong culture
background is no risk of losing your own identity.

Notes from day 2

Nina Nikolajevna Vorontsova, chairperson in Non-Commercial Partnership ”The Star of
Hope” in Kaliningrad with introduction by Justina Donielaite, project manager at the Åland
Islands Peace Institute, Finland

Economical and social changes in post-soviet Kaliningrad have led to a number of problems
for socially vulnerable families who were not able to find their role in the new structure of
society. Neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe have been facing a similar situation and
function as a source of experience and knowledge for finding solutions to common problems.
The close distance between EU and Kaliningrad is also a favourable factor for the
development of joint initiatives.

An example of such co-operation is an international project between NGOs in Finland,
Lithuania, Belarus and the Kaliningrad Region. The project is based on the experiences of
bilateral co-operation between the Åland Islands Peace Institute in Finland and the Center for


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Women and Children ”Nendre” in Lithuania, which has resulted in a unique empowerment
model for marginalized single mothers and their children. The project is called “Nendre –
Lessons Learned” and aims at sharing the Lithuanian experiences of social work with partner
organisations in the Kaliningrad region and Belarus.

The project started in 2005 and gave opportunity to a number of NGO representatives from
the Kaliningrad region to participate in training and experience-training sessions for network
partners organised several times per year. Non-Commercial Partnership “The Star of Hope”
shorty decided to put the acquired knowledge into practice by launching a local pilot project
for underage pregnant girls and single mothers. No other institution in Kaliningrad is
providing support for this target group.

During the first phase of the project, which was called “Young mother”, social network
system of assistance for underage mothers was created together with other state institutions
and NGOs. The first group of mothers consisted of 11 minors living in Kaliningrad. Thanks to
the project they could get psychological, social, legal and material support. As the project
developed, the number of beneficiaries reached 175. All of them decided to preserve their
pregnancy and take full responsibility in the preparations for their motherhood.

In order to support further integration of these families into the society, assistance to them is
continued even after the birth of the child. Most of young mothers don‟t have any professional
education and lack motivation to improve their life situation. Counselling, education and
training help them to strengthen their self-confidence and acquire new skills for successful
integration and personal development.

To sum up, the co-operation between neighbouring countries has brought new competence to
social support system in the Kaliningrad region and helped to achieve closer collaboration
between state institutions and non-governmental organisations. Sharing of experiences with
network partners has also resulted in a more active debate on the development of sustainable
social and gender policies in the Kaliningrad region. New methods of social work focusing on
inclusion, gender equality and participation were adopted to the local needs and realities. The
cooperation continues in 2007.

Vladimir Michailovic Kuzmin, docent at the department of Politology and Sociology,
Immanuell Kant State University in Russia

There are 235 different regions in Europe, of which 70 are classified as border regions.
Limology, or border studies, is an interest research field for geographers, sociologists,
politologists, lawers etc. In recent years there has been a steady increase in transfrontier co-
operation bodies, which are increasingly known by the term "Euroregions", particularly in
central and Eastern European countries. The main goal of Euroregions is to promote common
interests and enhance the living standards of the border populations through transfrontier co-
operation.

After the fall of SSSR half of its regions became boarder regions. This is why the cooperation
with other post-soviet neighbouring countries is of special interest for the Kaliningrad region.
Though it has already entered into co-operation of Euroregions, few people in Kaliningrad
can understand what it really is. In small cities there‟re no specialists who have skills and
knowledge for setting up a plan of co-operation. The goal of IKSUR is to educate young
students from different faculties and increase their interest in and understanding of


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transnational border cooperation. The concrete result of student research is a databank of
limology with a list of Euroregions and their contact information. The databank also includes
reseach material on co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region.

Unto Vesa, Executive Secretary, Tampere Peace Research Institute, University of Tampere,
Finland

Identities are not fixed, they are a subject of changes and consist of many different layers. The
Kaliningrad identity is a complicated issue having in mind that new-settlers had different
identity than residents of Kaliningrad at the beginning of 90s while identity of Kaliningrad
population in 2007 is not the same compared to their predecessors.

Neighbours are important in forming country‟s identity. But how can we define who is a
neighbour and who is not? Usually we address people who live accross the boarder as our
neighbours, but the notion of neighbourhood is changing due to different factors, EU
enlargement being one of them. When Turkey joins EU, such countries as Georgia and Syria
will become our neighbours. It is no longer physical closeness that determines
neighbourhood. In stead, the importance of social and cultural neighbourhood is growing.

When president of Finland Urho Kekkonen opened a Conference on European Security in
1975, his speech included a message that “security is not about erecting fences, but about
opening doors”. It is a great achievement that the Kaliningrad region in no longer a closed
military zone. Unfortunately, it has still not fully integrated into the Baltic Sea region.

Three years ago Tampere Peace Research Institute conducted a study on security trends in the
Baltic Sea region, including such issues as economic development, politics, civil society
cooperation and etc. The study covered all the countries in the region. Most trends turned to
be positive, but the tension between Russian and the Baltic states was still prevailing.
Analysis of situation in the Kaliningrad region showed that the region still gets less foreign
investment, has less developed turism sector and that civil society is weaker compared to
other countries in the region. Nevertheless, during the past years some positive changes have
occurred and the dynamics of Kaliningrad development have changed for the better.




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