kaliningrad: rustles of war in the heart of europe

« Les bruits de la guerre au coeur de l’Europe »

(Rustles of War in the Heart of Europe)

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Who’s afraid of Kaliningrad?

Between 1945 and 1990, this Russian oblast on the Baltic sea, ultra-militarised, patriotic and completely closed to foreigners, housed the biggest Soviet military contingent, thousands of troops, stockpiles of conventional and nuclear weapons and the federal school of the KGB.

With the EU enlargement in 2004, this unknown and mysterious « black hole » found itself geographically in the heart of Europe, on the borders of Lithuania and Poland, and closer to Berlin than to Moscow. It seemt the Russian enclave has de facto turned into a geopolitical lever of choice for the Kremlin and a tangible threat for NATO.

In 2015, along with a Lithuanian geopolitical expert and a German photographer, we have been travelling to Lithuania, Poland and Kaliningrad, exploring the hopes and fear of the inhabitants of a border region, long-time considered a « promising laboratory for new relations between the EU and Russia ».

Poland, Lithuania and Kaliningrad are today the invisible battlefields of a war game that might yet be nameless but is already in everyone’s mind.

  • « Les bruits de la guerre au coeur de l’Europe » is a beautiful longform published by Mediapart in August 2016.
  • A short version of the story « Russie-OTAN : voyage sur le front de la nouvelle Guerre froide » was also published by L‘Obs in July 2016.

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This crossborder investigation was sponsored by the Journalisfund.eu.

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