Friday, January 6, 2017

Moscow Lacks a Plan to Ensure Kaliningrad Oblast’s Security, Regnum News Agency Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 5 – The lengthy closure of the Kaliningrad airport as a result of a far from catastrophic event – a plane slid off the runway – highlights something few want to talk about, the editors of the Regnum news agency say, the complete lack in Moscow of a plan to ensure the energy, transportation, and information security of that Russian exclave.

            It is easy to blame the incompetence or ineffectiveness of the managers of the airport, they suggest, but “the main cause” of what happened is that the powers that be in Kaliningrad oblast, the North-West Federal district and Moscow “do not have a developed scenario for the non-military security of this region of the Russian Baltic” (

                Such non-military security, the editors continue, involves ensuring that the oblast is secure in terms of energy, transportation and information, something they say is not now the case. They argue that the local authorities have already “capitulated” to “German expansion,” something that is “denied” only by officials who do not want to acknowledge facts.

            Vladimir Putin, the Regnum editors continue, has already declared that energy security of Kaliningrad is a key national task, and “one of the foundations of this security” must be “atomic energy” because neighboring countries can block the flow of oil, gas and electricity directly and will complain about environmental consequences if Russia builds more thermal plants.

            The editors continue by insisting that there is “no strategy” with regard to transportation, noting that if Kaliningrad can be subject to “aviation blockade” by a simple accident of the kind that occurred last week, then it will not be a problem for Russia’s opponents to “’accidentally’ begin a rail, automobile and sea blockade as well.”

            The Russian authorities “do not have a plan of action in that event,” the editors say. “All their guarantees” depend on the generosity of the Germans, something Russia has good reason to know it cannot rely on. As a result, “Kaliningrad oblast is inexorably being transformed into Russia’s political Brest Fortress, the death of which whole divisions of political Russophobes and economic adventurers, weak political souls and traitors want.”

            The region’s officials, they argue, have no excuse for “putting their heads in the sand … the moment of truth has arrived: either you put before the federal center [a program for defense of the region’s security] or, having lost the information war with the enemy begin to lose the economic one as well.”

            “To suppose that responsibility for this new defeat lies not on the powers that be but on someone else is naïve and is incompatible at a minimum with your political survival,” the editors conclude.

            The Regnum news agency has often taken a harder line on issues on the Baltic region than have Moscow and its representatives on the scene, but this editorial is unusual in its tone and direct criticism of the powers that be locally and at the center.  That suggests that far more than the editors of one Russian news portal are worried about what is happening in Kaliningrad.

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