Lithuania–Poland border

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The current border between the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Poland. It has remained unchanged since World War II.

The current Lithuania–Poland border exists since the re-establishment of the independence of Lithuania on March 11, 1990. Until then the identical border was between Poland and Lithuanian SSR of the Soviet Union. The length of the border is 104 kilometres (65 mi).[1][2] It runs from the Lithuania–Poland–Russia tripoint southeast to the Belarus–Lithuania–Poland tripoint.

It is the only land border that the EU- and NATO-member Baltic states share with a country that is not a member of the Russian-aligned Commonwealth of Independent States.[3]

To the military planners of NATO, the border area is known as the Suwalki gap (named after the nearby town of Suwałki), because it represents a tough-to-defend flat narrow piece of land, a gap, that is between Belarus and Russia's Kaliningrad enclave and that connects the NATO-member Baltic States to Poland and the rest of NATO.[4] This view was reflected in a 2017 NATO exercise, which for the first time focused on defense of the gap from a possible Russian attack.[5]

History[edit]

The current Lithuania–Poland border has existed since the re-establishment of the independence of Lithuania on March 11, 1990.[6] Until then the identical border was between Poland and Lithuanian SSR of the Soviet Union. That border was established in the aftermath of World War II. Until then the identical border was between Poland and Lithuanian SSR of the Soviet Union.[7][8] A different border existed between the Second Polish Republic and Lithuania in the period of 1918–1939. Following the Polish–Lithuanian border conflict, from 1922 onward it was stable, and had a length of 521 km.[9][10] During the partitions of Poland era, there were borders between the Congress Poland (Augustów Voivodeship) and the Lithuanian lands of the Russian Empire (Kovno Governorate and Vilna Governorate). From the Union of Lublin (1569) to the partitions, there was no Polish-Lithuanian border, as both countries were a part of a single federated entity, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.[11] In the medieval times, Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania shared yet another border.[12]

Lithuania and Poland joined the Schengen Area in 2007. This meant that all passport checks were removed along the border in December 2007.

Gallery[edit]

Former border crossings[edit]

Former border crossing Ogrodniki–Lazdijai

In the period 1991–2007, there were three road and one rail border crossing between Poland and Lithuania.[13]

On May 1, 2004, when both Poland and Lithuania joined the European Union, this border became an internal border of the European Union.[14] On 21 December 2007, Poland and Lithuania acceded to the Schengen Agreement.[15] After this, crossing the border became easier, as EU internal borders are open to all traffic with little need for control. There are still, however, occasional customs and police controls against smuggling of restricted goods, which however affect only about 1% of travelers.[16][17][18]

Road

Rail

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Warunki Naturalne I Ochrona Środowiska" [Environment and Environmental Protection]. Mały Rocznik Statystyczny Polski 2013 [Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2013] (in Polish and English). Główny Urząd Statystyczny. 2013. p. 26. ISSN 1640-3630. 
  2. ^ (in Polish)Archived 2009-06-25 at the Wayback Machine.. Page gives Polish PWN Encyklopedia as reference.
  3. ^ Vladimir Shlapentokh (1 January 2001). The Legacy of History in Russia and the New States of Eurasia. M.E. Sharpe. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-7656-1398-1. 
  4. ^ Bearak, Max (June 20, 2016). "This tiny stretch of countryside is all that separates Baltic states from Russian envelopment". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-06-20. 
  5. ^ Sytas, Andrius (June 18, 2017). "NATO war game defends Baltic weak spot for first time". Reuters. Retrieved June 18, 2017. 
  6. ^ "LR AT AKTO Dėl Lietuvos nepriklausomos valstybės atstatymo signatarai". Lietuvos Respublikos Seimas. 
  7. ^ Peter Andreas; Timothy Snyder (1 January 2000). The Wall Around the West: State Borders and Immigration Controls in North America and Europe. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-7425-0178-2. 
  8. ^ Yaël Ronen (19 May 2011). Transition from Illegal Regimes under International Law. Cambridge University Press. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-139-49617-9. 
  9. ^ Polska w cyfrach[permanent dead link] [in:] E. Romer Atlas Polski współczesnej, 1928[permanent dead link].
  10. ^ Michael Brecher (1997). A Study of Crisis. University of Michigan Press. pp. 252–255. ISBN 0-472-10806-9. 
  11. ^ Halina Lerski (19 January 1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966–1945. ABC-CLIO. p. 308. ISBN 978-0-313-03456-5. 
  12. ^ Stephen R. Burant and Voytek Zubek, Eastern Europe's Old Memories and New Realities: Resurrecting the Polish-lithuanian Union, East European Politics and Societies 1993; 7; 370, online
  13. ^ Kancelaria Sejmu RP. "Internetowy System Aktów Prawnych". sejm.gov.pl. 
  14. ^ Stephen Kabera Karanja (January 2008). Transparency and Proportionality in the Schengen Information System and Border Control Co-Operation. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 39. ISBN 90-04-16223-2. 
  15. ^ "Europe's border-free zone expands". BBC News. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Nowe polsko-litewskie drogi po wejściu do Schengen". DELFI. 28 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Wspólne patrole na polsko-litewskiej granicy :: społeczeństwo". Kresy.pl. 
  18. ^ "Przemyt papierosów przy polsko – litewskiej granicy [ZDJĘCIA]". bialystok. 

External links[edit]