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. In a growing context of neo-Cold War between East and West, it seems 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 » and turning into the invisible battlefields of a war game that might yet be nameless but is already in everyone’s mind.
This crossborder investigation was sponsored by the Journalisfund.eu.