Kaliningrad may get back to being Europe’s ‘black hole’

August 11, 2007 at 3:56 pm 1 comment

KaliningradAs the Director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences of the Vilnius University Raimundas Lopata told BNS, the misadventures of Lithuanian businessmen in the Kaliningrad enclave have to do with the enclave’s economical policy that disfavors foreign business people.  

According to the scientist the situation in Kaliningrad is not there by accident, it is tightly linked with the effective law on special economic zone that is aimed at creating a window for Russian business to Europe and therefore it is Russian and not foreign capital that has a clear priority in Kaliningrad.  

In Lopata’s words, the goal of this law is to push foreign equity investors out of Kaliningrad yet he hardly believes the new economical policy environment targets Lithuanian business people in particular, it is only that they work in a sector where the interests of Russia’s powerful ones lie.  The political scientist said in his interview that it is no secret that the promising and profitable sector of construction, in which the Lithuanian equity company Roslitstroj was a player, is in sight of influential Russian metropolis businessmen.

 In Lopata’s words, Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov is quite open about his ambitions in the real estate area, and current Governor of the Kaliningrad enclave Georgy Boos is also related to large-scale capital.  In Lopata’s opinion, the Russian tradition to contract the assistance of the “shadow world,” in other words — “cover” to secure success in business is still there.

As he stated “The disappearance of one of the managers of a Lithuanian equity company and the assassination of another allow linking these aspects. The examples of the recent months are designed both to make Lithuanian business people think whether it is worth for them to stay in Kaliningrad and to cool down the desire to go there in those who are still planning to do profitable business in this part of Russia.”

As a a high-ranking official from the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Lithuania told BNS: “This could be an awful concurrence that this tendency started to get shape after the enclave’s current Governor Georgy Boos acceded to power. Lithuania has always favored the closest possible cooperation between this enclave and the European Union and its neighbors. Today, however, instead of becoming an example of cooperation between the EU and Russia, the Kaliningrad enclave may get back to being Europe’s ‘black hole’,” the diplomat said.  He added that “the enclave’s residents are the first to suffer as a result.”  

At the start of this year, Lithuania’s investments in the Kaliningrad enclave stood at about nearly 70 million euros, marking a 16 percent increase against the previous year.

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Entry filed under: Baltic States, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Russia.

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