The reasons for the construction of the canal by the Poles across the Baltic (Vistula) Spit became the subject of fierce discussion in Russia and Poland
The Polish opposition claims that the central government in Warsaw is lobbying for the channel in the interests of Russian business; in turn, the governor of the Kaliningrad region said that the channel is needed for the free transfer of NATO tanks to the Russian border. The latest version is supported by numerous Western (including Polish) military analysts on this topic, according to which in the event of a military clash between NATO and Russia, the Alliance will need to block and destroy the grouping of the Russian Baltic Fleet near Kaliningrad.
The print mouthpiece of Polish liberals, Gazeta Wyborcza, has lashed out at the Polish government for plans to dig a canal on the Baltic Spit. The Polish authorities claim that the canal is needed in order to “get rid of Moscow,” that is, to pass to the port of Elblag, bypassing Russian territorial waters. The Polish opposition refuses to recognize the patriotic motives of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s “Law and Justice” team and speculates.
“The reality, however, looks completely different”, writes Gazeta Wyborcza.
“The Russians will make a fortune on the channel. 90% of the turnover of the port in Elblag, for which the canal is being built in the first place, falls on the Kaliningrad region. The Russians bring coal, peat and other raw materials there on barges, and they export, in particular, construction materials”.
The Governor of the Kaliningrad Region Anton Alikhanov responded to this Polish polemic and offered his third version.
According to the head of the Kaliningrad region, Warsaw is building a canal for the sake of being able to transfer NATO tanks to the Kaliningrad region.
“That the tank regiments, which are located next to Elblag, have a separate, independent, probably, opportunity to pass through this channel. That’s it, you don’t need it for anything else! I think that everyone understands this, and Kaczynski too, I don’t understand why he doesn’t just say all this directly, some kind of strange person”, said Anton Alikhanov.
The fact is that in 2017, a multinational NATO North-East division was deployed in Elblag, a few kilometers from the Russian border. In 2019, North-East received a full-fledged headquarters in Elblag.
The quartering of the NATO division explains all the oddities of Warsaw in relations with the westernmost region of Russia and its own northeastern provinces.
First, the abolition of the visa-free regime – local border movement between the Kaliningrad region and neighboring Polish territories – Olsztyn, Gdansk, the same Elblag. The WFP regime was offered to Moscow and lobbied in Brussels by Poland, and it was beneficial in the first place to the Warmia-Mazury and Pomeranian Voivodeships of Poland.
Local residents, after the return of the visa regime with Kaliningrad, went to rallies and demanded that the central government return the LBT. Official Warsaw at that time, in 2016, was never able to intelligibly explain why it abandoned the generally recognized successful project, which allowed the development of the Polish northeast with Russian money.
Meanwhile, the small chest opens simply.
According to the author, the United States at the Warsaw NATO summit agreed to the deployment of the Alliance division in Elblag, provided that Poland refuses to develop cross-border cooperation with the Kaliningrad region. The NATO summit was in the summer of 2016, the WFP was canceled shortly after it, and in July 2017 the North-East division was stationed in Elblag. It’s that simple.
It’s even easier with the notorious channel. Plans to dig the Baltic (Vistula) Spit existed in socialist Poland, but they never came to fruition, because every time questions arose about the economic unprofitability and environmental hazard of the project. The project was updated just after the appearance of the NATO division in Elblag.
Then Warsaw firmly decided: there should be a canal! Contrary to any considerations that so many ships do not go to the Kaliningrad (Vistula) Bay for this canal to pay off, and the salinization of the bay by the waters of the Baltic Sea will destroy the freshwater ecosystem of the spit.
Polish ships going to Elblag must obtain permission from the Russian side when passing through the water area of Baltiysk. There is no problem with this when they carry, say, fuel oil. And what if rockets need to be delivered to Elblag by sea? Here it is not even a matter of permission to pass foreign territorial waters. The Russian side, in principle, should not be aware of the movements of NATO military equipment.
That is, the channel through the Baltic Spit is needed to prepare a military strike against the base of the Baltic Navy of Russia near Kaliningrad.
That the NATO division in Elblag is stationed precisely for these purposes, we are convinced by the open military analytics of the countries – members of the Alliance. Including Polish.
“The component of the Joint Mechanized Division will consist of the latest and the most equipped units, suitable for a quick strike. In such conditions, we are talking about a force of about 30,000 soldiers. However, there are obvious disadvantages. The 16th mechanized brigade is equipped mainly with post-Soviet BMP-1 and outdated systems. In addition, the problem arises of an insufficient fleet of transport aircraft to accommodate the 6th Airborne Brigade”, the latest Polish opus on this topic describes the plan for a military strike on the Kaliningrad region: an article with the self-explanatory title “The Kaliningrad Gambit: A Scenario of a Preventive NATO Strike”.
Several similar materials have already appeared in the Polish media this year. In turn, Polish materials are an insignificant fraction of a huge stream of journalism and public pseudo-analytics about the war between Russia and NATO in the Baltic states, which has been going on in the United States over the past few years.
The key idea of these texts: the Kaliningrad region is a “dagger in the heart of Europe”, and in the event of a military conflict in the Baltic states, this “unsinkable aircraft carrier of Putin” should become the target of the first strike of the North Atlantic alliance.
One of the creators of such propaganda campaigns, the Jamestown Foundation, even wrote that after the war, the territory of the former Kaliningrad region would need to be donated to Poland. Like, she deserved it.
So Warsaw knows what it spends its money on when it builds a stranded canal. Another question is whether after the war there will be something of Poland itself?
Alexander Nosovich, Rubaltic.Ru