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.
Foreign activity (paradiplomacy) of local governments is one of the elements of Polish foreign policy, changing the traditional approach to foreign policy and diplomacy in our country. Paradiplomacy is an activity that is parallel and complementary to the classic understanding of diplomacy and which is implemented by the government. This paper presents the results of several investigations concerning foreign activity of Polish local and regional governments in the Kaliningrad Region (Oblast). From the geopolitical point of view, the Oblast constitutes for Poland an important region. In particular, the intensive cooperation between the Warmia and Mazury Region (Voivodeship) and the Kaliningrad Region which form the Polish-Russian borderland. Relatively intense relations have been established between the Kaliningrad Region and Pomeranian and Podlaskie Regions (Voivodeships). For the Polish side, the development of this type of relations with Russia, and especially with the Kaliningrad Region, was and still is part of a peaceful transformation of this part of Europe.
This publication presents the types and significance of political participation of the residents of the Kaliningrad Region. The data presented was collected using the desk research method. The level at which people participate in politics depends on many contexts. Individual features such as gender, age, education, as well as historical, cultural and economic considerations are taken into account. The geographical location and traditions of the region are also important. Therefore, political participation in the Kaliningrad Region seems to be an interesting subject and requires in-depth research. A significant aspect for the research seems to be the forms of conventional and unconventional participation which citizens most willingly or least willingly exercise, and which institutional barriers they face. Given the exclave with such a diverse and multicultural society, a unique image of the regional and local community is in place.
The international bipolar system was replaced by a multipolar system with new centres of power after the disintegration of the USSR. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Baltic Sea Region has been occupying an important place in the foreign policy of the Baltic Sea countries. One of the most important challenges for Russian diplomacy after 1991 was the development of economic and political relationships with the Baltic states and Baltic organizations and institutions. After the Eastern Bloc had been dismantled, the Kaliningrad Region became an area open to cooperation with other countries, both on the regional and local levels. Attempts to create the Russian “Hong Kong on the Baltic Sea” in the Kaliningrad Region have not yielded results so far. But on the other hand, the Russian exclave is no longer seen solely through the prism of military factors. Poland and other countries in the region do not question the current political or legal status of the Kaliningrad Region.
The subject of the article is the analysis of the structure and functioning of public administration in the Kaliningrad Region. The article draws particular attention to the specifics of this region of the Russian Federation. In particular, the political position and significance of the governor in the administrative system of the Kaliningrad Region are examined. The article also points to the roles of the Regional Duma. The study does not show the entire administrative system in the Kaliningrad Region because the author’Seas basic assumption is to show the specific features of the administration in this Region.
The author presents different aspects of cultural and religious activities of the Tatar ethnic minority in the Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation. He gives basic statistical data, characteristics of cultural and religious activity in the internal and external contexts, especially types of cooperation with Baltic Tatars from Poland and Lithuania.
The paper focuses on the problem of identity and its determinants of the inhabitants of the Polish-Russian borderland. The state of research on the identity of the inhabitants of the Kaliningrad Region and the Warmia and Mazury Region (Western, Russian and Polish scientists) is reviewed. The concept of the borderland in the context of the cross-border cooperation idea is presented. The short history and uniqueness of the new Polish-Russian borderland is analysed with compact reference to the heritage of the earlier German and then Soviet influence. The specific features of the Regions (the Kaliningrad Region and the Warmia and Mazury Region) in the context of regional identity are emphasised. The features and determinants of the newly formed self-perception and regional identity are characterised (among others official symbols, place names, historical writings, attitude to the state and homeland) in the perspective of the common European space (European Union) and Polish-Russian bilateral relations. Such approach is connected with presentation of the concept of regional identity and the “positive legend” on the Polish-Russian borderland.