Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea, is bounded by Lithuania to the north and east and Poland to the south.
During World War Two, it was the scene of fierce fighting and severe destruction. Following the war's conclusion, the German population was either expelled or fled, and the USSR annexed Germany. Throughout the Soviet era, it was an off-limits military area.
Teutonic knights founded Kaliningrad, or Koenigsberg, as it was formerly known, in the 13th century. It was once Prussia's capital and later became one of the Hanseatic League cities. Immanuel Kant was a philosopher who lived in the city his entire life and passed away there in 1804.
- the administrative center. Kaliningrad is a city.
- Area:. 15,100 sq km.
- Population:. 994,600.
- Language:. the Russian language.
- the length of life. Men aged 66 and women aged 75.
Over 300 kilometers to the east, in the former Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Belarus, lies the Kaliningrad oblast or region, which is geographically and administratively a part of the Russian Federation.
Since Lithuania and Poland's 2004 EU membership, it has been impossible to travel by land between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia without passing through at least one EU country. Regulations governing transit have caused conflict, particularly with Lithuania.
Moscow still places a high value on Kaliningrad from a strategic standpoint. It is the only ice-free European port in the country and is home to the Russian Baltic Fleet.
Agriculture was a significant industry in the Soviet Union. With the fall of the USSR, the market for Kaliningrad's agricultural products was largely destroyed, which led to a severe economic downturn in the early 1990s.
In particular in rural areas, poverty increased and unemployment rose sharply. The problems with organized crime and drugs got worse.
In an effort to address the issues in the region, the Russian government gave it special economic status and tax breaks in 1996. The local economy saw significant gains.
Kaliningrad experienced an unheard-of boom, and a new $45 million airport terminal opened its doors in 2007.
Along with rising economic growth and industrial output, the region started to see an increase in trade with EU nations.
However, the region was severely impacted by the 2008–2009 global financial crisis, and by the start of 2010, the region's unemployment rate had reached over 10%, which is significantly higher than the Russian average.
In 2013, Russia allegedly responded to US plans to set up a ballistic missile defense system in Europe by deploying short-range Iskander ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in the area.
In June 2022, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania enacted EU sanctions on specific Russian goods, including building supplies, and prohibited their rail transportation through its borders.
Because Kaliningrad relies so heavily on transit routes from the rest of Russia through Lithuania, the decision infuriated Russia. When the EU made it clear that the sanctions only applied to roads and not rail, Lithuania lifted the embargo a month later.