The Geopolitical Roles of Kaliningrad Oblast & Suwałki Gap in the Conflict of Ukraine
My STEP Education Abroad Project was based in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was able to take a course from Danish Institute of Scandinavia (DIS) called "Conflict or Cooperation: Security Challenges in Europe" in which students learned about the cross-bloc confrontation and cooperation at the Baltic Sea during the Cold War period and the political implications of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Post-Cold War. We studied the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its influence on BSR and observed the role of the EU (European Union), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and regional organizations in advancing the BSR cooperation agenda. We studied the history of Kaliningrad Oblast and its role in Russia's foreign security policy, as it hosts Russia's Baltic Sea Fleet and causes a bottleneck in the region being surrounded by NATO allies. Students were able to take a one week travel study tour in Gdańsk, Poland to visit the European Solidarity Center to learn about Poland's history since WWII, economic and political developments of Belarus since Lukashenko's rise to presidency, and the geopolitical role that the Suwałki Gap poses in the war in Ukraine for both NATO allies and Russia.
STEP Category: Education Abroad
Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Security Architecture