Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

Kaliningrad as a Bazaar and Cross-Border Trade -the Results of 2012 Research

Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

Kaliningrad as a Bazaar and Cross-Border Trade -the Results of 2012 Research

Article excerpt

Introduction

In September 2012, as a member of the Scientific Circle of the Centre for East European and Central Asian Studies, I conducted a research project entitled "Local Border Traffic Between Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast (Russian Federation): the Example of the Bazaar in Kaliningrad Oblast and Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship." The project was financed by the Consultative Council of the University of Warsaw.

The choice of the topic was inspired by the book The Grand Warsaw Bazaars, written by Jacek Kurczewski, Mariusz Cichomski, and Krzysztof Wiliñski, which gives both theoretical and practical perspectives of the bazaar phenomenon (2010). The research of the bazaars in the Kaliningrad region was carried out mainly in Kaliningrad and towns at the Polish-Russian border, such as Mamonovo, Bagrationovsk, Gusev, Braniewo, Bartoszyce, Gotdap. Due to the page limit, this paper will present only the results of research on Kaliningrad, the Central Market in particular, as it contains the common elements present in different bazaars of the Kaliningrad Oblast. Region of Central Europe is the border area of the EU in contact with Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, where the regular passports checks take place. Research of the local border traffic which was introduced in 2012 between the Polish and the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation is special for several reasons. First of all, for the Agreement of 14 December 2011 to be signed, "Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of The European Parliament and of The Council of 20 December 2006, laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States and amending the provisions of the Schengen Convention," had to be amended (EURlex, 2006). As a result of the change, the Kaliningrad region and the corresponding area on the Polish side were considered the border area. In other cases the border area extends no more than 30 km from the border, sometimes it can also be a local administrative districts lying between 30 and 50 km from the border line (EUR-lex, 2006: art. 3). The research was carried out in the enclave of the European Union (Russian exclave), which after 1991 began to "open up" to the neighboring countries despite the militarized character of the region. The simplification of visa procedures resulted in an increase in the passenger traffic on the Polish-Russian border, the same could result in increased trade of certain goods or services. The collected data can serve as a reference point for borderland areas, may be useful to members of the European Union as well as post-Soviet countries. Before my trip to this part of Russia I read an essay written by Bronislaw Malinowski and Julio de la Fuente (2004) "The economics of a Mexican market system." In the study the authors describe the functioning of a Mexican bazaar and show its complicated structure and the relationship of dependence between the market and the outside world. This paper proved to be very instructive and provided me with the methodology valuable for my research of the markets. Since the research of bazaar-an organism vibrant with life-was not an easy task to perform, a number of methods was used in the project, including observations, interviews, photo-documentation and newspaper articles.

The research gave some image of the functioning of the local border traffic and most of formal and informal practices that developed after the introduction of local border traffic or are associated with crossing the border at all. The purpose of this study was to see whether the "Agreement between the Government of the Polish Republic and the Government of the Russian Federation on principles of local border traffic" was respected by people using local border traffic when they were crossing the Polish-Russian border, and therefore whether there was any difference between the normative model and reality This topic requires empirical research, as we find in the literature mainly journalistic articles newsletters and reports (issued by the Central Statistical Office, Customs Service, The Border Guard, etc. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.