The aim of this study is to present and analyse forms of cooperation between local and regional self-government authorities of the Warmia and Mazury Region (Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship) and the Kaliningrad Region (Kaliningrad Oblast) in the context of the European Union policies.
East Prussia, the former province of the German Reich, after the Second World War was partitioned between Poland, Lithuania and Russia. Though the province stopped existing, it remained a point of interest in terms of historical politics and remembrance for the inhabitants of the three mentioned countries and Germany. This chapter presents the issues of historical politics and related policy of remembrance to refer them to the particular practices employed in the historical politics. The political history run in Kaliningrad has been given a special attention here.
The initial assumption of this Chapter was an insight into the relations of the Kaliningrad Region and the European Union from a local perspective focused on former East Prussian territory, currently being part of Poland, Russia and Lithuania. The author is convinced that the historical legacy of these lands is an important factor of understanding contemporary political, economic and social realities of the Region.
In the first part, some aspects of the past civilization of native Prussians are discussed – those affecting the formation of the identity of contemporary residents. Long-term resistance to the conquests by the Teutonic Knights facilitated the formation of statehood structures in the areas of the present Baltic Republics.
In the second part, covering the periods of the Teutonic Knights and German Prussia, attention is paid to the European significance of Königsberg as a centre of Lutheran thought and later in the rise of Imperial Germany.
The last two parts cover the period of the Second World War and the post-war period – the destructions as a result of the war and the first post-war years are highlighted as well as the complexity of internal and international relations of the contemporary Kaliningrad Region.
The author’s personal thoughts and opinions have been formulated as “Concluding remarks”.
The end of the Second World War brought a new legal, political and spatial order to the territory of former East Prussia. The political, demographic and economic area was divided between Poland and the Soviet Union as a result of the decision made between the world powers. Both sides of the border carried out separate policies to respect the German heritage of these lands and changes made to the names of towns and geographic sites. These two approaches affected and continue to influence the current identity and historical consciousness of the inhabitants of the Warmia and Mazury Region and Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation. The aim of the article is to establish a comparison of this kind of historical policies related to the German heritage of these lands, and the processes of evolution of the identity and historical awareness of both communities, as well as to study the processes of the evolution of identity and historical awareness in the Warmia and Mazury and Kaliningrad Regions. The following selected issues related to identity and historical consciousness are analysed: history of the former German sacral and defensive architecture, museum collections and monuments; the state of preservation of pre-war names of rural, urban and geographical areas; the currently observed frequency of recourse to German resentments in the society, culture and economy. One of the currently observed processes around the Polish-Russian border are the transitions of identity and awareness resulting from the cross-border cooperation of local communities.
International activity and cooperation of universities has become a norm. The evolution from intermittent contacts of researchers to intensive collaboration programmes based on common values and tangible political mission – besides aiming at the attraction of human recourses at external markets – has taken not very much time from a historical perspective. Why do European universities cooperate? What are the goals of cooperation with third countries? How has the vector of cooperation between the Russian and the European Union university systems been developing?
The Kaliningrad Region is a Russian exclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania, so the transit across them is a problem for both sides. The population calls for special regard for its situation but bows to Moscow’s imposition of strict federal control. The small size and lacking resources of the exclave initially make it dependent on trade with its neighbours, but in recent years it has become totally reliant on federal support. Under the impact of the growing tension between Russia and the West following the war in Ukraine since 2014, Russia has strengthened its military forces in Kaliningrad and created a defence zone, which is seen as a threat in the surrounding Baltic Sea states. It has become a military bastion like in Soviet days.
The relations between residents of cross-border areas are largely conditioned by experiences resulting from mutual contacts and by regulations governing the interactions between neighbouring countries. The main carrier of information about these relationships are regional media, which are active participants in international communication at the level of cross-border cooperation. In the case of Olsztyn based media, the news regarding cooperation and the situation in the Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation are of particular importance. Especially noteworthy is a series broadcast by Radio Olsztyn, titled ‘Shto u vas’ [How are you doing?] which commented on the various lifestyles of the residents of the Kaliningrad Region in the broad political, social and historical context.
This chapter considers the Kingdom of Poland’s relations with the Duchy of Prussia, as well as the impact of Ducal Prussia and its Hohenzollern rulers on the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It ponders a realist perspective on the importance of the Duchy of Prussia for the rise of Brandenburg-Prussia and the place of Ducal Prussia in the Polish-Lithuanian foreign and domestic policies. Finally, it asks a principal question about mistakes in the approach of Polish kings towards their Prussian fiefdom.
On 21st December 2007, Poland became a member of the Schengen area, which resulted in the abolition of border controls with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania. The Polish accession to the Schengen zone has transformed the northeastern and eastern Polish borders with Russia, Belarus and Ukraine into the eastern frontier of the European Union. The Polish accession to this zone also meant the introduction of uniform visa rules for Russia, the same which are used by other countries of the Union thus sealing the Polish border with its eastern neighbours. Therefore, control procedures have been modified and customs inspections have become tougher. It was feared that the introduction of the visa regime would cause a decrease in trade and tourism with the eastern neighbours, hinder contacts between local communities, and – in political terms – would cause the deterioration of relations with Russia. To overcome these problems, the EU has created a special policy on external borders and border regions. According to the EU, borders between countries should not be an obstacle to sustainable development and integration of border areas. The EU policy recognizes that in the border regions, both economic and socio-cultural rights are important factors for applying mitigating solutions or even abolishing the visa regime. In order to accomplish this, the EU has drawn up a local border mobility system, the so-called Local Border Traffic.