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Feb. 22, 2005
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Kaliningrad Flies an Orange Flag
Kaliningrad hosted a Constituent Congress of Pespublika public movement Monday. The activists pledged to lead an attack for getting a republic status for Kaliningrad, within Russia though.
Two weeks ago, in the course of his visit to Kaliningrad, Ilya Klebanov, Russian presidents plenipotentiary to the Northwestern Federal District, unexpectedly supported the idea of assigning an overseas status to the Russian enclave in Europe. Then, members of the Expert Council of the Kaliningrad Region (a public organization backed up by the local authorities) explained to Klebanov that it would mean an autonomous entrance of the region in the euro zone and allow Kaliningrad residents to freely travel and work in Europe. Klebanov repudiated his statement on the same day, and some time later, the RF Interior Ministry declared there was no special status for the Kaliningrad Region set forth in the RF Constitution.

Nevertheless, the passions have not calmed in Kaliningrad. Sergey Pasko, chairman of the Baltic Republican Party, triggered creation of Kaliningrad Public Movement Respublika targeted at getting an international state-legal status for the Kaliningrad Region so that it may have independent relations with the EU but will retain associated membership within the RF.

20 days ago, the RF Constitutional Court upheld the award of the Kaliningrad Regions Court on banning activities of the Baltic Republican Party, established far back in the spring of 1992. The Law on Political Parties requires that each party should have regional branches at least in half of the RF constituents and at least 10,000 members in strength. As to the Baltic Republican Party, it has slightly more than 500 members and is known nowhere, apart from Kaliningrad.

The yesterdays Congress was mostly attended by students and entrepreneurs. Pasko introduced his accomplice Vitautas Lopata, who is a deputy of the regional Duma and co-chairman of the movement. Respublika is not the Baltic Republican Party. There is interaction, but not more. We have shifted to the higher level we are preparing a legal basis, Pasko specified.

We have been told for 11 years that Kaliningrad is a ground for the European cooperation, or a pilot region or an area of friendship. In reality, all those statements of the Moscow minion officials are far from constitutional, Lopata said, adding Kaliningrads initiative for becoming a Russian republic will be the most constitutional of all. It wont be sedition if the 22nd republic appears on the map of the country, Lopata noted. But Vasily Grachev, the war veteran who spoke after Lopata, specified if the region becomes a republic, Moscow will no longer be responsible for it.

The new movement has an emblem an orange flag which reads KOD Respublika (Russian for Kaliningrad Public Movement Republic). Pasko denied any analogy with Ukraine. It is the brightest color spectrum, he pointed out.

The movement will pile up funds from the business companies, members of the regional Union of Entrepreneurs, in which Pasko presides.

Kaliningrad authorities declined to comment on establishment of the new movement yesterday. An anonymous source with the regional government said that for Moscow, all supporters of Pasko are separatists and any movement towards independence may hinder the region itself in its negotiations with the European Union and federal center.


All the Article in Russian as of Feb. 22, 2005

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