|Border between Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia)|
and Poland (NATO) in 2019
I’ve blogged a lot about East Prussia, the eastern-most province of the former Third Reich that became Russia’s most western enclave. At about 15000 square kilometers, it’s a third of the size of Prince Edward Island. For more than seven decades it’s been not much more than a ghost town … de-populated of Germans, re-populated by transplanted Russians (a man from Kazakhstan lived in my uncle’s former house) and dotted with the ruins of war. Today, as Putin rages about how German tanks are again confronting Russian ones, this area is a stark reminder that the conflicts of the past are not resolved.
|Baltic Sunset near the Lithuanian/Russian border|
Kaliningrad Oblast is surrounded by NATO countries… Lithuania to the north and Poland to the south and east. However, there’s a 65- kilometer-long border near the Polish town of Suwalki that makes the Baltic countries’ vulnerable. This short border is all that separates the three NATO countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from Belarus, Russia’s ally. I expect that we’ll hear more of these three places: Baltiysk, the Suwalki Gap, and Grodno (the closest Belarusian city) in the coming months. Will Kaliningrad/East Prussia ever heal?