Experts assessed Russia’s response to the continuation of the blockade of Kaliningrad

The authorities are considering hard and soft responses to Lithuania

On July 10, the adoption of the seventh package of EU anti-Russian sanctions is expected, which should also mark the further development of the situation with the ban on transit to Kaliningrad. If Brussels does not legally issue an exemption for the supply of substation goods for the Russian exclave, then, according to the region's governor Anton Alikhanov, Moscow will retaliate. Both the construction of new transit routes through Lithuania and a complete ban on the import and export of goods into the country through Russia are proposed as options.

Photo: GVZ 42Unsplash.

If the EU makes an official exception to allow the transit of goods to Kaliningrad, then Lithuania will not have any right to blockade the region. At the same time, legal subtleties and bureaucratic red tape, even with a favorable decision for Russia, can delay the full-fledged supply of Kaliningrad for an indefinite period.

Bad news from Brussels cannot be ruled out. In this case, Alikhanov proposed, as an extreme measure of economic response to the continuation of the blockade, a ban on the movement of any goods in the direction of the Baltic states and from it. Thus, Lithuania itself may find itself in a blockade situation if Russia and Belarus jointly close their borders to Vilnius.

A milder option, also voiced by the head of the Kaliningrad region, provides for the construction of a special dedicated railway or road based on the Suwalki corridor or parallel to it. Such a project can be implemented only with the consent of Lithuania and provides for a compromise between the parties.

In a conversation with "MK" Chief Editor of Sputnik Lithuania Marat Kasem suggested that if the road is a closed corridor, beyond which it is impossible to go, then this could calm Lithuania. “In that case,” Kasem said, “sanctioned goods will no longer officially pass through its territory, and this would really be a transit.”

Nevertheless, the expert expressed doubt that Lithuania would agree to such an option. “It is unlikely that Lithuania will allow a “third country,” as they call a country not from the European Union or NATO, to build a road or a railway. Lithuania itself will not be able to overpower the construction of finances. The Lithuanian budget is small and in deficit. This year they will not be enough for their needs. You can remember the Rail Baltica high-speed railway project from Tallinn to Warsaw, which they are currently implementing and which they are constantly postponing.

The only option is if European funds participate. If they pay for this under the guise of ensuring calm in the region, reducing risks and the threat from Russia, which is what they are most afraid of. This idea can be implemented only if Russia comes to an agreement directly with the European Union, then Lithuania will no longer decide anything. Brussels will be able to put pressure on Lithuania, because Lithuania itself has neither only political nor economic subjectivity,” the editor-in-chief of Sputnik Lithuania stressed.

So far, the words of the Kaliningrad governor about the blockade of the Baltics sound like a warning and an attempt to reach out to the remnants of sanity among the leaders of Lithuania and the EU leadership.

Andrei Suzdaltsev, Deputy Dean of the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairsbelieves that Alikhanov's proposal is not an economic issue, but a political one, and at the same time it is unlikely to be implemented. “It is good that the young governor, feeling his responsibility to the country, takes care of the region and takes an active position, but if you remember, various proposals were made earlier that were never implemented. For example, they suggested cutting off Lithuania from electricity, and then, how & nbsp; It turned out that Lithuania practically does not buy Russian electricity. Then Alikhanov offered to blockade Klaipeda, but this could lead to a NATO blockade of the port of Kaliningrad, which would cause a clash between Russia and the Alliance,” the political scientist noted.

According to Suzdaltsev, it is necessary to work out the governor's proposal – to stop the transit of goods to the Baltic countries through Russia and Belarus, although at the same time there is no transit of goods from these countries as such.

“The situation is now tense, because Russia's hopes and the governor of the Kaliningrad region that on July 10, when the seventh package of sanctions will be adopted, all issues related to transit from Russia to Russia will be settled, is unlikely to be justified. I'm not a big optimist here. The European Union has never done anything good for us and will never do it, while Lithuania's position has become canonical and is being replicated. Lithuania has already replicated this situation on the crisis between Russia and Japan over the South Kuriles and the situation with fishing there. Then it was replicated on the situation around Svalbard, and now we have a tense situation with Norway, which actually withdrew from the Svalbard treaty. Thus, we get a whole wave of problems along our borders, which is a natural continuation of the global conflict between Russia and the West,” the expert concluded.


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