Small Border Traffic
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 14:14

WHEN Poland and Lithuania joined the European Union in 2004, many were concerned that the Russia exclave of 950,000 inhabitants would be cut off, once surrounded by EU members. (Just under half live in the city of Kaliningrad—east Prussia's Königsberg until Stalin annexed it 60 years ago.) This changed with Poland's law on “small-border-traffic”, signed by Russia in December 2011.

Almost two years on, the response to the small-border-traffic law has been very positive.Locals on both sides of the border can apply for a card that allows them to cross the border repeatedly, without the hassle of getting a visa. (Poland has a similar deal with Ukraine). The law encompasses all of Russia's Kaliningrad region, and includes Olsztyn, Elbląg and Gdańsk on the Polish side. Other Russians still need a visa to enter Poland, and vice versa.

Card in hand, Kaliningrad's inhabitants are flocking to Poland, drawn by cheaper groceries, but also DIY shops and Ikea, a Swedish furniture store. Some say they visit...Continue reading

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