Russia is outside Russia, what is Kaliningrad and why is it so important

as in the case of

Donbass

Geography is what gives us the first answer. Kaliningrad is located in the heart of

Europe’s most strategic border

, Baltic Sea, Central European Union and NATO. A territory of “only” 15 thousand square kilometers is far from the central part of the Russian state, but in all respects it is Russian territory. Kaliningrad is a very important trade and port hub

An indispensable outpost

given that from the point of view of the Kremlin, the Baltic Sea transforms itself into

Atlantic Lake

especially after the announcement of a

The future entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO

.

nuclear threat

From this strategic consideration is born another person of the tactical type. Precisely because of its privileged location, the Russians in Kaliningrad installed nuclear warheads that, due to their proximity, could reach European capitals in a matter of seconds. he’s one of leitmotif More frequent than the Kremlin’s war propaganda, which was shown on more than one occasion on Channel One of state television simulating the devastation that nuclear weapons could unleash. 202 seconds would be enough to destroy London, which drops to 200 for Paris and 106 for Berlin. For Warsaw only 30. The warheads, the central part of the rearmament that continues unabated, will therefore be able to strike a large part of Europe without giving the Americans time to react to protect their NATO allies.

Military significance of Kaliningrad

– But in this aspect of the horrific nuclear escalation, Kaliningrad is a very important military base for Russia. The strength of its arsenal was clearly demonstrated during the army’s large military exercises on May 4, simulating the launch of Iskander-M short-range ballistic missiles. The entire region represented one large military base, with many detachments, headquarters of the Baltic Fleet, aviation and ground forces (XI Army Corps). In detail, the Russian exclusion is home to at least one brigade, a motorized infantry regiment and a marine infantry brigade of the Baltic Fleet. If we connect the Kaliningrad point with the neighboring point of Saint Petersburg, with its base at Kronstadt in the Gulf of Finland, we can draw an “armed crescent” that breaks the Atlantic hegemony in the Baltic Sea.

Moscow – Minsk – Kaliningrad Corridor

What leads from Russian territory to Kaliningrad is a real corridor that Moscow has vowed to dig since the collapse of the Soviet Union. From the heart of the Union we reach the middle of the road: Minsk. The war in Ukraine has confirmed once and for all that Lukashenko’s Belarus is in fact a political extension of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. To get to Kaliningrad, only a small piece of 65 kilometers is missing from the Suwalki breach, known worldwide as the Suwalki Gap.

the most vulnerable front in Europe; Suwalki . breach

– The Suwalki “pass” is perhaps now, more than ever, the most dangerous frontier in all of Europe. In the event of a military escalation due to the comprehensive Lithuanian blockade, the main objective of the Kremlin will be to occupy and close the Sualki sector. Operation, simulated several times during joint military exercises, which would divide the Western bloc in two, isolate the Baltic part of NATO and the European Union (Latvia and Estonia, as well as Lithuania). This would lead to the dominance of the reaction of the Alliance, which was forced and legalized by Article 5 of the Charter to intervene militarily against Russia as a clear threat to the member states Poland and Lithuania. In this way, the United States will be directly involved on the battlefield and no longer just a supplier of economic aid and weapons to Kyiv.

Lithuanian mass

– Although it seems an extreme scenario, the Lithuanian situation in the past few days has renewed its fearlessness and reasonableness. In fact, Vilnius announced that it intends to block a significant part (about half) of the goods transported on the routes that pass from Belarus on the territory of the Baltic Republic to Kaliningrad. If completed, the Kremlin said it was ready to “cut off the oxygen” of its neighbors in the Baltic region, predicting “painful consequences” for them. For its part, Lithuania justified the decision by saying that it should implement the sanctions imposed by the European Union.

And we come to the question of questions:

Why is Kaliningrad part of Russia?

When the Berlin Wall collapsed and the world shook, Europe found itself littered with rubble and rubble. In an effort that has lasted for years to this day, to get rid of parts of the 20th century, the old continent found itself up against a pillar of the past that had remained completely intact, in the middle of its territory.

from Konigsberg

in Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad wasn’t always Russian and it wasn’t always called that. For nearly 700 years from its founding by the Teutonic Knights in 1255, in the middle of the Middle Ages, until the end of World War II in 1945, it carried the name Königsberg. A name we had already heard during our philosophy hours at school, because one of the greatest thinkers of all time was born and taught there: Immanuel Kant. As the historian Alessandro Barbero noted, the Teutonic Order was one of those military orders, half monks and half knights, that were created to defend Christian conquests in the Holy Land, such as the Knights Templar or those who later became the Knights of Malta. Peculiarity: among his ranks were only German cavalry.

From the Teutonic Knights to Germany and Russia

– But since the end of the thirteenth century, there are no more Christian possessions to defend in the Holy Land. So the Teutonic Knights had to find a new profession that led them north on the Baltic Sea. In the period of a rare century, they occupied a vast area, in which the great master reigned as if he was a king. A territory inhabited by German-speaking peoples, but retained the name of the ancient Baltic inhabitants annihilated by the Teutonic Knights: the Prussians or the Prussians. Definitely a household name. The area remained part of Germany until 1945, in the final year of World War II and in the first year of the Soviet invasion. Centuries later, the German population fled to the Western Bloc and was annexed by Stalin. It is still part of Russia today. Thus the Germanic Königsberg became the Russian-speaking Kaliningrad, which was renamed in honor of the Bolshevik revolutionary Mikhail Kalinin.

Because the Baltic Sea is the most strategic border in Europe

Even if it seems to many to be anything but a nerve center, the Baltic Sea region undoubtedly represents the most strategic frontier of our continent. The land of amber, a precious material in which the Baltic Sea is the largest and exclusive deposit, has always played the role of the hinge and theater of confrontation between the “Three European Realms”: the center of the Germanic and Germanic peoples, Scandinavia and Russia. In this region, Europe and the Slavic world come into direct contact with each other, with often violent results such as those frightening today. Inside, the Baltic mass is divided into three other separate realities, which we are often accustomed to taking as part of a single geopolitical rhyme: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Suffice it to say that the former, of Finno-Ugric origin, is naturally oriented towards the Finnish sphere, while the latter retains the dimensions and aspirations of Central Europe. Latvia is in the middle, quite literally, trying to carve out its own space (especially in the Baltic and especially in the financial sphere) between Russian pressure and a certain indifference of the Atlantic bloc.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

For these three republics, liberated from the Soviet game, they pass the ideal line that, accordingly, separates Russia from NATO. It is no coincidence that their entry into NATO in 2004, and the consequent installation of missile bases and military bases on the border, such as and still represents for Moscow the main cause of anxiety and instability. In addition to geographical and economic importance, for industry and raw materials, the three Baltic states represent a Unicom Political and cultural, not exclusively Russian or European. In addition to being the last in chronological order to be attached to the Soviet Union (in 1940) and the first to claim territorial sovereignty in the late 1980s, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are the only former Soviet republics to join the European Union and NATO. Russia has never stopped thinking about it: it’s its “neighbor abroad,” the buffer zones the Kremlin needs to control in order to feel safe from outside threats. Just like Ukraine, albeit with all that stands out for the case.

The former is associated with Ukraine

– From this point of view, the loss of the granary in Europe seems to have caused a geopolitical psychosis in the Russian leadership, which could also lead to an escalation in the “other hot spot” in the Baltic Sea around Kaliningrad. On the other hand, this was clearly observed with the explosion of the Ukrainian fuse, in 2014, when Russia invaded the Crimea. NATO went on alert, very concerned that the rebellions in southern Ukraine by the Russian-speaking population could also occur in the eastern regions of Estonia and Latvia inhabited by Russians. For this reason, on March 6 of the same year, the United States ran for cover: the US Air Force deployed the first 5 F-15 fighters and two Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers at the Lithuanian base in Šiauliai. A month later, in April, it was the turn of an auxiliary naval corps to patrol the Baltic Sea and some companies of the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in Vicenza. Finally, in May, the first NATO Air Police was also launched into the airspace of the three Baltic republics. With what we’re used to hearing, calling it an escalation is an understatement.

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