Scientific Papers

JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES


© CSR, 2008-2019
ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)

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Kaliningrad, the Suwalki gap and Russia´s ambitions in the Baltic Region

Vol. 12, No 3, 2019

 

Viljar Veebel

 

Department of Strategic Studies, Baltic Defence College

Estonia

Viljar.Veebel@ut.ee

Kaliningrad, the Suwalki gap and Russia´s ambitions in the Baltic Region

Zdzislaw Sliwa

 

Department of Strategic Studies, Baltic Defence College

Estonia

Zdzislaw.Sliwa@baltdefcol.org


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract. The current study is motivated by the special role of the Kaliningrad region for both Russia and the NATO Alliance. The aim of the study is to analyse how likely is the outbreak of conflict in the Suwalki gap; which factors either hinder or support the escalation of the tensions between Russia and the Alliance in the region. Both the NATO Alliance and Russia have different advantages and disadvantages with respect to any future escalation in the Suwalki corridor and the Kaliningrad region. The main weakness of NATO is its reliance on public opinion, which limits its ability to counter Russian escalation. Conceptually, at least, the Alliance has much deeper pockets, although it is an entirely different matter whether the superiority of resources could be realized in practice. Russia enjoys a public affairs advantage in that it has few requirements to justify its military actions, which may allow it to outlast NATO in a conventional-force brinkmanship scenario despite having many fewer resources. However Baltic States as well European Union should keep in mind that additional force building and deterrence initiatives can lead to escalation and strategic confrontation with Russia, which would bring devastating social and economic consequences for region.

 

 

Received: March, 2019

1st Revision: June, 2019

Accepted: September, 2019

 

DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2019/12-3/9

 

JEL ClassificationF1, F5, P4

KeywordsNATO, Russia, Kaliningrad, Suwalki, conflict