Staunton, Sept. 13 – According to Polish military analyst Maksymilian Dura, “one of the consequences of the war in Ukraine may be the separation of Koenigsberg oblast from Russia and the establishment of a fourth Baltic state.” Moscow is already alarmed by that prospect and is trying to convince people there that they have no chance to achieve such a goal.
Dura says that the task of the region’s population is both easier and harder than was the recovery of independence by the other Baltic countries: easier because the other three have succeeded and shown the way, and harder because the population of Kaliningrad is not ethnically homogeneous (defence24.pl/wojna-na-ukrainie-raport-specjalny-defence24/obwod-krolewiecki-poza-rosja-czwarty-kraj-baltycki-coraz-blizej-scenariusz-opinia translated into russian at region.expert/kenig-republic/).
Most of its people are from the Slavic republics of the former Soviet Union, but increasingly, Dura continues, they are animated not by such ethnic attachments but by local patriotism, especially given that until sanctions, they had travelled more frequently to the West than to Russia.
Moscow is working to suppress such feelings not only by placing troops in the region and requiring that the relatives of soldiers there live elsewhere but also by real terror and the suppression of political groups seeking greater autonomy and even independence. But such efforts are often counterproductive, Dura suggests, highlighting how strong such attitudes are.
The Russian government would be far more successful in appeasing the Koenigsbergers if it offered them genuine autonomy in a real federal system, but as long as Putin is in power, there seems to be little willingness to consider such a strategy. As a result, Koenigsberg is on its way to becoming, albeit not immediately, “the fourth Baltic republic.”