OSW Studies

The Kaliningrad Oblast in the context of EU enlargement

Last year Kaliningrad became the subject of an international debate involving first of all the European Union, Russia, the USA, and the countries bordering the enclave, Poland and Lithuania. Such keen interest in a small region of less than a million inhabitants was mainly due to the fact that Kaliningrad has found itself in the very centre of two processes which are of paramount importance for Europe: EU and NATO enlargement. If Lithuania becomes a member of those units and Poland joins the EU, this Russian enclave will become an island surrounded on all land borders by a totally different, political, economic and military entity. In the course of the debate many questions were raised about the situation in the Oblast and how it affects neighbouring countries, the real interests and intentions of the parties involved in the debate, and the future of the region.

The authors of this publication are attempting to answer these questions. The first part of this analysis is devoted to presenting the most important internal problems of the enclave, considering their influence on the surrounding world and the consequences of adopting the acquis communautaire in Poland and Lithuania. The second part characterises Moscow's policies towards Kaliningrad on the one hand, and those of Western countries on the other. Finally, the authors discuss the probable ways in which the situation in the enclave will develop.