Bridging the Gap

Monday, 20 June 2022 — The van says…

The logistical corridor to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has been cut off by the Lithuanians. What might this mean? Photo©️Tass

Preamble

Last week saw the Lithuanian government prohibit the transport of EU sanctioned goods across its territory from the Russian Federation to the exclave of Kaliningrad. This article subsequent to a previous one that examined the Baltic states from another angle, will look at what this means and what reaction this may elicit from Moscow.

Past Histories

After the fall of the USSR, the Russian territory of Kaliningrad became territorially isolated from contiguous Russia. The ‘isolation’ of this exclave had presented no problems prior to 1991 insofar as both Lithuania and Poland were both part of the Soviet sphere, this giving an unbroken link between the two. With states and sovereignties changing thereafter, this created a headache for Moscow at the time. The problem was solved however through an agreement between Moscow and Vilnius which allowed the crossing of Lithuanian territory, this treaty holding firm from November 1993 until only a week ago.

Present Politics

The fact that all three Baltic states are members of both NATO and the EU is commonly known, yet as members of both organizations, they are useful stepping stones for western ventures eastwards, their potential as tinderboxes for a future conflict not being overlooked in Washington. Vilnius’ latest move, rather than being a decision of the Lithuanian people is a very dangerous move as the West attempts to put Russia in a position where it has to act.

Breaking the Bridge

This is at first glance a straightforward maneuver on the part of the West, after having its proxy war turn sour in the Ukraine, Washington, London and the other tagalongs now want to see what can be gained by further antagonizing Russia. Think tanks have for years talked of a move such as this, yet until recently, cutting Russia off from Russia through blocking goods from passing through Lithuania made little sense due to there being maritime access to Saint Petersburg through the Gulf of Finland.

With global events being what they are however, both Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO only weeks ago, and with both sides of the Gulf of Finland effectively under Washington’s control, breaking Russia’s bridge now makes much more sense from a western perspective. Poland would love to count Kaliningrad as part of its territory in spite of the fact that the Prussian city of Königsberg was never under Warsaw’s control. There is another factor in play here, and this needs to be examined before we advance any ideas.

Dead Diplomacy

When we look all the way back to post-Maidan Ukraine, we can see that Russia was diplomatic and understanding all the way. It was only in the last weeks of last year that Moscow became genuinely irritated by a West that was attempting to ride roughshod over human rights, diplomacy and common sense. In the time since then, the Kremlin has effectively turned its back in the West, following its own path. This has led to innumerable sanctions and measures, yet in spite of all the fanfare they have caused in the West, it is that same West that is now suffering the consequences.

In stark contrast to statements over the last decade, rather than the soft and diplomatic tone that came to typify Moscow between 2014 and 2021, the Russian government has immediately and firmly responded to this move by Vilnius. Quoting the Russian Foreign Ministry statement concerning this matter Moscow stated that ‘We pointed out in this regard that if the transit of goods between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of Russia through Lithuania is not fully restored, Russia reserves the right to take action to protect its national interests,’ Rather than politely suggesting solutions and meetings as before, Moscow has immediately demanded that this situation be reversed, and should this not be the case, it reserves the right to take retaliatory action.

Dead Set

Put simply, the Kremlin now realizes that any hope of ententé or understanding between itself and western capitals is dead as a duck in the water, the only way forward being through actions. Both the Russian government and its people are simply sick to the back teeth of the West attempting to stymie them at every step and little or no effort will be made to solve this problem in a statesmanlike fashion. Four months of fighting a proxy war has shown Washington, London, Berlin and Paris along with their cohorts to be attempting a rerun of Operation Barbarossa and actions such as this will no longer be tolerated, creating this a potential flashpoint.

Baltic or Bridge?

This leaves Russian military planners with two options, both of which involve an invasion of NATO member states. This may be seen as blatant aggression by most westerners, yet one only has to look to previous wars as well the current Ukrainian conflict to know that war and interference are the one thing that has made the West what it is. The two options involve either establishing a land bridge between Russia and Kaliningrad or simply conquering all three Baltic states as they stand today. Neither option is what Russia would want, but with Washington wanting war more than ever before, needs must.

Baltic Bloc

Should Moscow decide to take all three states, things should be reasonably straightforward, the region today only really serving as a huge US military playground. Whilst small in size, the population of each is smaller, after getting much smaller when the Russians left and presumably much smaller still after the Russians return. As forces push south, refugees will be able to exit through Poland, this meaning that Brussels can invite even more displaced persons into its dysfunctional paradise, much to Russia’s delight. The acquisition of all states would also solve the issue of the Gulf of Finland, the Russian Federation now being on its southern side and therefore maintaining the functionality of the port of Saint Petersburg. Additionally, with Moscow now controlling the Baltic coast, this would reduce but not negate any operations by Swedish forces from the island of Gotland, therefore dealing another blow to NATO.

Baltic Bridge

The other alternative is to take the territory necessary in order to form a land bridge between Russia and Kaliningrad. This would be best effected along Lithuania’s border with Poland, (yes, the Suwałki Gap) there only being a little over thirty miles dividing Belarus from Kaliningrad. There would obviously need to be sufficient depth to this bridge in order that it not be attacked or blocked by NATO forces who will by this stage be on the warpath. There is however a very interesting irony about this which needs to be stated.

Breaks and Bridges

As matters stand today, Lithuania has, as part of the transatlantic empire, decided to cut part of Russia off from Russia. If Moscow was to go ahead with a land bridge rather than to take all of the Baltic territory, it would effectively cut part of NATO off from NATO, causing a real quandary for the West as a whole. With NATO’s northern flank suddenly isolated from the rest of the member states, the Kremlin would effectively be playing Washington at its own game, this sending the alliance and its members into an apoplectic tailspin.

Summary

When we look back at how history has developed into the present day, western moves have always been based upon the pretext of it not suffering anything more than token retaliation or effects from those it has chosen to oppose. Russia’s Special Operation in the Ukraine has proven that not only are there nations that will stand up to the western establishment, but when they do, that establishment comes up short.

In the case of Kaliningrad, western malfeasance has been engineered in the apparent knowledge that Russia can do little in return, yet as we have seen since February, Moscow is now most adept at countering western moves. Moreover, with the near-complete breakdown of East-West relations, Russia no longer wants to listen to those that refused to hear the Kremlin’s arguments for so long.

Many in the West still believe to this day that western nations can do as they please, Russia and others incapable of taking action. Should this situation not be resolved to Moscow’s satisfaction however, those still living in the world of Pax Americana may find a real war waking them up as well as putting the dreams of NATO supremacy and immunity to sleep forever…

3 thoughts on “Bridging the Gap

  1. freemattpodcast says:

    Serious question I ask out of ignorance:
    Were trade concerns brought to WTO?

    (Reference: Lithuanian government prohibit the transport of EU sanctioned goods across its territory from the Russian Federation to the exclave of Kaliningrad)

    Like

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