Poland has realised its intention and opened a canal connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Baltic Sea, bypassing the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast, the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) wrote.
As it points out, the date of the opening of the canal was symbolic, as it was set on September 17, the same day as the USSR attacked Poland in 1939, as part of the implementation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.
Vistula Spit Canal at night pic.twitter.com/JFWi9PfkbS
— Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (@JSaryuszWolski) September 10, 2022
“After three years of work, Poland opened a strategically important canal during the weekend. For the first time, it will allow free passage from the Vistula Lagoon to the Baltic Sea without having to use Russian waters,” FAZ stated.
The Vistula Spit Canal, which gives access to the Polish Vistula Lagoon and the Polish port of Elbląg, without needing to travel through the Russian Strait of Baltyisk, is now officially open! 🇵🇱pic.twitter.com/0GDM2GkxGG
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) September 17, 2022
FAZ pointed out that some “Polish and Prussian kings, Stefan Batory and Frederick II the Great, thought about building a canal.” The daily also emphasised that the topic was revisited “much later, in 2006, by the former head of the government (of Poland) Jarosław Kaczyński”.
Project abandoned due to previous government
FAZ also recalls the position of the current Polish government, which accuses Donald Tusk, former Polish Prime Minister between 2007 and 2014, of sacrificing the project to establish good relations with Russia. Moreover, then “Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski successfully campaigned in Brussels for the opening of ‘local border traffic’ for the approximately one million inhabitants of the Russian exclave, the Kaliningrad region,” the daily stated.
The regulation came into force in 2013 and Russians were able to come to Gdańsk without a visa. Soon, however, “Russia’s military actions against Ukraine began, and border traffic was suspended in 2016 and has remained so to this day,” FAZ wrote.
The Elbląg Baltic Sea Port and the Vistula Lagoon
For centuries, Elbląg was an important Baltic Sea port, but in 1945, when the borders were changed after WWII, the Vistula Lagoon, connecting Elblag to the open sea, was divided between Poland and the Soviet Union, and a heavily guarded border ran through it, German regional broadcaster MDR recalls, stressing that as a result, “the Polish port of Elblag lost its importance”.
“This will now change. Being ensured by the canal across the Vistula Spit, which connects Elbląg to the Baltic Sea on Polish territory, bypassing Russia,” MDR writes. As it notes, this was an important goal for Jarosław Kaczyński, for whom “building the canal is a matter of honour and national sovereignty”.
The Vistula Spit Canal opens today in Poland. Vessels will be able to navigate into the port of Elbląg without asking Russians for permission pic.twitter.com/wPqwjCWMiI
— Charles Gotfryd, никакой паники нет (@GotfrydKarol) September 17, 2022
Not only the port of Elbląg will profit but also the small towns on the Vistula Lagoon. “Many of these towns have their own small harbours for fishing boats and the so-called white fleets (small coastal or inland passenger ships). Once the canal is opened, they should blossom into elegant marinas and attract wealthy recreational sailors from Germany and Scandinavia with their expensive yachts. One such town is Frombork, considered a tourist pearl of the region,” MDR pointed out.
Other German media also stressed the political importance of the Vistula Spit Canal, emphasising the need to become fully independent from Russia in every way possible.
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