Head of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov: We must strive for the complete abolition of restrictions on transit with the region

Governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov.

Governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov.

A photo: Viktor GUSEINOV

As the KP.RU website has already reported, they arrived in Kaliningrad in transit through Lithuania first 60 wagons with cement. The journalist of Komsomolskaya Pravda discussed this long-awaited event with the head of the region …

– … Hello Anton Andreevich, this is Gamov Alexander, your biographer from Komsomolskaya Pravda.

– Yes.

– How are you feeling today?

– Well, yes, mixed. Normal working.

– It’s clear. Tell me, did you see these cars yourself, were you at the station? Otherwise, I told Dmitry Peskov yesterday that I can’t get through to Anton Alikhanov, probably the governor went to the station to meet the train.

– Yes, I arrived, looked at the arrival. Yes I saw.

There were only 60 wagons, but they were uncoupled earlier in the east of the region, cement is also needed there. That’s why I saw part of the composition.

– Tell me, that is, it all went like that in an ordinary way, right? The event itself. There were no flowers, balls, an orchestra…

– No, well, of course not. Alexander, are we going to turn a meeting of cement from something into some kind of holiday?

Moreover – despite the fact that we “pushed through” the Europeans, and we have a railway transit this one was organized, let’s say, allowed, restrictions were lifted … But, unfortunately, there are still many conditions that are acquiring more and more details. And, of course, they categorically do not suit us.

– And what are the conditions?

– This is, for example, that they (officials of the European Union. – A.G.) begin to quota, in fact, the volume of goods that they allow to be transported through the railway.

That is, if we suddenly want to build more, for example, then we will not be allowed to pass the same cement in excess of what we have imported over the past three years.

Or – there are, for example, goods that we exclusively bought in the import mode, that is, somewhere in Europe. And now, in connection with their sanctions, we have found manufacturers in the regions of Russia, we want to buy there. But it turns out that we are not allowed to carry it, because, they say, this was not in that former – years earlier – transportation statistics.

Then – for some reason, they do not consider the statistics of transportation using not rail, but road transport. That is, if earlier we, for example, some goods, I don’t know, glass, let’s say, it doesn’t matter what kind, were transported by car, now Lithuanians say: no. Here, like, we didn’t have glass in the railway transportation, which means we can’t carry it.

Although, they see it in the customs statistics. In general, they scoff – as they can.

And, in my opinion, this, of course, is such disgusting behavior that needs to be combated. And we just need to build on our early successes. And seek the complete abolition of restrictions on any transit with the Kaliningrad region.

– Clear. Tell me, but this cement – 60 wagons that came – where will it go?

– Well, there are different directions. And housing construction of apartment buildings, and our social facilities – schools, kindergartens.

Here, unfortunately, we had a certain period of time when we did not have enough cement.

– How did you get out of the situation – let’s recall – when a red light was lit on the railway in your direction?

– We have quite densely loaded ferry line now. And we continue to increase the number of vessels.

– Now how many of them are there?

– It’s already eight. And in the near future – in August – there will be two additional ships, they are promised to us.

And in September, the large railway ferry “General Chernyakhovsky” will leave. This will also unload and resolve our transport situation, I hope.

– It’s clear. That is, if earlier we were estimating there – yeah, by 80%, which means that the tasks with the restoration of transit were solved, now – somewhere by 90%, right?

– Alexander, look. As far as transit and Lithuania are concerned, the recovery by 80% meant the old volumes, that is, what we imported before.

And now a situation is emerging when the Europeans are starting to manipulate the statistics… That is, for some reason they do not take into account what was transported by road, and this is quite a serious amount. Then – they begin to forbid us to buy something new, which, for example, we did not buy before, but now we need it … Including, and because we were deprived of the opportunity to buy goods on European markets.

This, in my opinion, is such a serious limitation.

And, to be honest, I don’t understand how to get around it now … If we cannot “push” them (Europeans) further, then this ferry line is our only such reliable supply route.

That is why its development is our priority.

By the way, a decision has now been made to subsidize this ferry line in such a way that these transportations are no more expensive than railway transportation.

But we, on the one hand, were supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, colleagues who “pushed through” part of the decision on the transit of railways. Well, of course, it now supports the government as a whole, the Ministry of Transport, and other departments that make these decisions regarding the development of the sea crossing and, let’s say, keeping it cheap for those consumers who now import goods here and export finished products to the main territory of the country .

– Clear. And here’s another thing I wanted to ask. What are your countermeasures?

– The countermeasures there are the most biting, which could be voiced, probably, I have already voiced. But again, these were our proposals.

That is, it is not worth looking at me as a person who formulates the final position regarding retaliatory measures. Based solely on our regional, let’s say, focus, I proposed some steps that, in our opinion, would be effective in the negotiations.

And I can’t say what the line of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be. But we are in contact with them, constantly exchanging information, officially informing them about how the situation develops.

So, I think we still have work ahead of us, we are already rolling up our sleeves, we continue.

– And yet I can not help but ask a question about the car crossing, moving. How are the long queues?

– Now it has resolved a little, but – yes, we had queues when we had to stand for two or even three days.

We now, in fact, have one checkpoint with Lithuania. But a new, largest in the country, car checkpoint in the village of Dubki is already ready. (This is also the border with Lithuania, let’s say, the northern part of the region.) And we hope that it will work soon, but it depends on our neighbors too.

– Specifically?

– From the Lithuanians.

– That is, you are not up to the election, yes, the governor’s? (The election of the head of the region will be held in September.)

– Well…

– You are busy, as always, not with elections, but … with work!

– Yes, you have to…

It’s probably the same thing, in a way. But now there is less time to think about agitation. You could say I don’t really think about it. My main concern is how to make sure that the region and the residents do not feel any problems and restrictions.

Has your mother moved in with you yet?

– Not yet. We are waiting in September.

– To school, as times.

– Yes.

– I asked everything.

Everything I wanted to say, I said.

– Okay. Thank you very much.

– I will continue to inform.

– And us first, okay?

– Deal.

– Happy. Bye.

– Good luck!

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