Watch the “enclave”

Fifty years ago, a Pakistani writer lamented: “The land of Pakistan is like a bird with wings and no trunk. It seems that it is about to die.” What he lamented was that “East Pakistan” became independent as Bangladesh. The pre-independence “Dongba” territory that did not border the main body of the country was an enclave.

An enclave in a narrow sense is an acupuncture point for geopolitics. Just like when a massage therapist presses on the acupuncture points, it will be sour and sour. When something happens in an enclave, the relevant countries will be nervous. Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave, was once a German territory. When someone tried to restore the German characteristics there, the local “Russian wolf” was stimulated to croak. After the Ukraine crisis, Poland and Lithuania became more vigilant towards Kaliningrad.

In addition to single enclaves such as Alaska and Cabinda, as well as the multiple enclaves of Azerbaijan in Armenia, there are “nested enclaves”, such as on the border of India and Bangladesh, and the northern part of the UAE. If the freedom of movement is restricted, the land with multiple layers of “filling” will not be “delicious” to the locals.

Which country has the longest border with France? The answer is Brazil. The European Space Center is located in French Guiana. A similar colonial enclave, Portugal once had a piece in Goa, India. And Spain’s last territories on the African continent, Ceuta and Melilla, are also thought of by Morocco.

In addition to enclaves in a broad sense, the islands far from the main part of the country and the small towns divided by the borders of the country form an alternative enclave. They are full of historical entanglements, chaotic wars, and rich cultural diversity.

In the consensus of most people in the world, Immanuel Kant is a famous German philosopher. However, in a place in Russia, Kant’s name still stirs people’s nerves, as if its ghost is still wandering in this place. Some Russians cursed him as a “traitor to the Russians”, while others tried to prevent others from mentioning the existence of this philosopher… This land is the former hometown of Kant: the homeland of the great German man who will never leave for life, today is Russia Part of the Federation.

Location of Kaliningrad (red dot)

In Kant’s time, people only knew that this piece of land was called “Königsberg”. However, today’s world map marks this small area as “Kaliningrad”. What’s more unique is that this small piece of land on the Baltic Sea is not bordered by the huge main territory of Russia, but is sandwiched by Poland and Lithuania. If you do not pass the Baltic Sea, the shortest distance from Kaliningrad to Russia by land must pass through Lithuania and Belarus.

This is a unique geopolitical phenomenon: the enclave. Looking at the earth from space, all the land is originally connected into one piece. However, due to human factors, the national boundary divides the land into various strange shapes. Sovereign territories that do not border the country’s land have become the most unique of them.

In today’s peaceful world, people living in enclaves can still live their lives peacefully. However, looking back at the past, all enclaves of all sizes in the world have experienced the baptism of artillery fire, and blood and tears seep into the soil of these enclaves and become imprints that cannot be removed. The difficult-to-defend geographic location, the trauma of large-scale population migration, and the supply that is easily cut off by neighboring countries are all weaknesses of the enclave.

If we are in peace today, can we guarantee that it will remain the same in the future?

The Unshakable Ghost of Kant
Kant, a philosopher with an extremely old-fashioned personal life, is said to be extremely precise and punctual in his daily living and eating. He has lived in Königsberg for most of his life, and the time he goes out to work and teaches and the walking path are almost as accurate as a mechanical watch, so that the locals feel that he is no different from a clock and use his life trajectory to measure time.

However, if Kant lives to this day, he will find this is a completely strange city: the original Königsberg streets and houses have long been destroyed by gunfire. After the end of World War II, this German territory that originally belonged to “East Prussia” was transferred to the Soviet Union.

The friction between the big powers affected the small citizens of the enclave first.

The Soviet Union did not fund the reconstruction of the old city of Königsberg as generously helping Poland repair the old city, but completely transformed it into an ordinary Soviet city and gave it a very typical Soviet name: Kaliningrad.

The Germans who lived here for generations were driven back to the German headquarters, and the Soviet Union sent a large number of Russian nationals to Kaliningrad. For more than 40 years, the “German taste” here has been liquidated. The Soviet-style apartments built in series have made this place more “Soviet taste”.

During the Soviet period, Kaliningrad was connected to Lithuania, which belonged to the Soviet Union; however, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, independent Lithuania made Kaliningrad, which still belonged to the Russian Federation, become one of the “abandoned” neighboring countries. “Island”: Kaliningrad, surrounded by EU and NATO countries, makes the Russians living here feel a crisis. The few Kant statues here have been destroyed by Russian nationalist graffiti from time to time, with humiliating words such as “loser”, “traitor” and “militarist trafficker” written on them. Anything related to Kant will cause fierce quarrels between the “pre-Kantists” and the “anti-Kantists”.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

In fact, when Kaliningrad first became an enclave in the 1990s, the atmosphere was not always so tense. German “Der Spiegel” once disclosed that in the summer of 1990, the Soviet Union was on the verge of disintegration. When a senior Soviet general visited the German Embassy, ​​he proposed to “sell” Kaliningrad to Germany. In return, the reunified Germany needed to withdraw from NATO. .

This “sale” plan was rejected by the embassy before it reached the top of the German government. In the eyes of these German diplomats in the Soviet Union, Kaliningrad’s sales plan is a “poisonous bait”: If Germany, which has not been formally unified, takes back East Prussia, it will make the allies feel that Germany’s ambitions are too inflated. The process of German reunification may fall short; changing Kaliningrad back to East Prussia will also reawaken Poland and Lithuania’s hostility towards Germany; the Kaliningrad region, whose population structure has been completely dominated by Russians, is even more difficult to be taken by Germany. digestion.

In the early days of Putin’s administration, when the relations between Russia and the West were fairly smooth, Putin allowed Kaliningrad to restore the German color of the past to a certain extent. In 2005, Putin and the then German Chancellor Schroeder attended the opening ceremony and changed the name of “Kaliningrad University” to “Imanuel Kant University”. Some former Kant residences that have been abandoned for many years have also been restored one after another. At that time, Putin also claimed many times that Kaliningrad was the common wealth of Russia and European civilization, and it was the bond between Russia and Germany.

Statue of Emmanuel Kant in Kaliningrad

Before the Ukrainian crisis, the revival of the “East Prussian style” became an important project of the Kaliningrad authorities. After all, Kant is a very important asset for the local tourism industry, and apart from the military base, almost only the tourism industry in Kaliningrad can support the local economy.

This Russian enclave in the center of the European Union has had a good life of peaceful exchanges for several years. Residents of Kaliningrad can enter Poland and Lithuania without a visa, and the border between the two sides does not even have any artificial fences. Going to Poland to buy cheaper vegetables, toilet paper and meat has become a daily habit of the people of Kaliningrad. It can be said that the Russians in this area have long been integrated into the local cultural circle of the Baltic Sea.

After the Ukrainian crisis, the enclave began to become tense again. NATO countries are beginning to be interested in how many Russian weapons are deployed in Kaliningrad. The deployment of Russian nuclear weapons here has long been an open secret, and the Russian government has not concealed that Kaliningrad has been armed as a Russian military base in the heart of Europe. Poland and Lithuania are worried that this will become an outpost for Russia to launch military assaults against them.

For a time, the Baltic Sea, which had been calm for many years, was turbulent again. The border fence that had disappeared for many years is back, and the visa-free policy of Poland and Lithuania for enclave residents has also been cancelled. The friction between the big powers affected the small citizens of the enclave first. Where should this enclave go in the future?

“Junlin City” turned into a sea of ​​flames
/ Croatia has a coastline of 7,368 kilometers, while the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina has only a mere 9 kilometers to the sea. /

If Kaliningrad became a military base armed to the teeth, then Croatia, which is much weaker, almost lost its enclave-Dubrovnik. If Croatia’s main territory is like a chin opened to the right, then Dubrovnik is a drop of saliva under the chin. It is separated by Bosnia and Herzegovina from Croatia and borders Montenegro. It is a typical “outer enclave.”

Dubrovnik’s nickname “The Pearl of the Adriatic Sea” is not an illusion: its old town is a medieval city facing the blue sea under a dangerous mountain. It is very magnificent. No wonder “Game of Thrones” uses this place as the shooting location of “Junlin City”.

At the end of July 2018, the author took a bus from Dubrovnik and went north to the Croatian headquarters. When the bus was halfway, all passengers were signaled to take out their passports for inspection by the border police. About half an hour later, we were again asked to take out our passports for inspection by the border police. It turned out that in this less than half an hour’s drive, we had passed the only sea port in Bosnia and Herzegovina and stayed on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina for half an hour.

This 9-kilometer-long coastline called “Nem Corridor” has the same scenery as Croatia, and it can be walked in one afternoon if you walk on foot. The “shortest coastline” owned by a sovereign nation in the world separates Dubrovnik from Croatia. Some people say that this is the reality of Balkan politics: Croatia sits on a coastline of 7,368 kilometers, while the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina has only a mere 9 kilometers of the sea.

Kaliningrad street view

Today, it is not difficult to cross the Nem Corridor, and the police will let them go after they get on the bus and check their passports. However, in 1991, Yugoslavia began to disintegrate, and the Federal Army of Yugoslavia and the Croatian army fought. Dubrovnik was besieged for nine months during this period.

The main force besieging Dubrovnik is Montenegro’s troops. After all, this enclave borders Montenegro, but Serbia’s support is indispensable behind it. In 1991, when facing the domestic media, Montenegrin politicians declared: “By next year we will be able to move the capital to Dubrovnik!” Dubrovnik, which has less than 500 soldiers stationed, became Montenegro’s pocket. Things.

Dubrovnik was invaded by Montenegro in the south and blocked at sea. Croatian residents living in the surrounding villages thought that by hiding in the ancient city that had been awarded the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 1975, they would be able to avoid the Federal Army’s artillery fire. However, the shells still fell in the old buildings that have experienced wind and rain for centuries. The marble streets, which are usually singing and dancing, suddenly turned into a sea of ​​flames.

In order to defend this almost undefended tourist town, some five-star hotel waiters and souvenir shopkeepers are armed, and the men in the city are almost to the point where they coexist and die with the ancient city. A British TV crew became the only foreign media in the city to transmit images of the bombing of Dubrovnik to the outside world.

/ Perhaps what is needed to hold the enclave is stubborn tenacity. /

When major television networks broadcast images of world-famous ancient cities being bombed day and night and five-star hotel lobbies becoming refuges, Serbia and Montenegro are facing a sharp increase in international pressure. While the citizens were waiting for the EFF to launch a general offensive and the jade was torn apart, the EFF suddenly stopped.

Thirty years later, Dubrovnik has once again become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, with tourists like crucian carp, singing and singing every night. However, after careful observation, people can still find the scars of the besieged city: the houses in the ancient city were covered with all red tiles, but some tiles were darker in color. It is said that these are the new ones that were replaced when they were rebuilt after the bombing. Tiles. A conspicuous palace was used as a memorial hall, displaying photos of soldiers who died in the siege. It’s just that in the bustling crowd of tourists, it’s somewhat lonely.

After I left, I chatted with a few people my age in Montenegro about the beauty of Dubrovnik, and they were full of admiration. It seems that the arrogance of the fathers who wanted to “blow down Dubrovnik” and sharpen their knives did not affect them.

The strength of the country, the influence of neighboring countries, and the will of the enclave’s own people all determine the fate of the enclave. At present, Russia, which is still powerful, has enough power to use the enclave of Kaliningrad to blackmail the European Union and NATO. However, despite this, Kaliningrad has bred a way of life that is completely different from that of Russia. The signs of the four Baltic countries”; the relatively weaker Croatia, relying on the temporary stability of the entire Balkan situation, continues to sit on Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”

A Croatian stage play once used “the lonely and stubborn woman who lives in the deepest house in the village” as a metaphor for the stubborn attitude of the Dubrovnik people to stick to themselves. Perhaps it is this kind of stubborn tenacity to hold the enclave?