Baltic connections: an investigation into the trafficking of cultural property through North Eastern Europe
This strand of research will focus on the Baltic region of north-eastern Europe, particularly the interface between the European Union and Russia.The busiest land route between the EU and Russia passes between the Vaalimaa region of south-eastern Finland and Torfyanovka in north-western Russia. Hence, Finland has come to be regarded as the key ‘transit nation’ for cargo moving between the Schengen Area and Russia. However, initial scoping research suggests that despite the rigorous controls in place at this and other border crossings in the Baltic region, there could be significant illicit trafficking of cultural material, both into and out of Russia. Adding complication to this issue, the relatively lax border controls within the Schengen Area itself mean that material leaving the EU at these eastern borders has potentially already passed through a number of jurisdictions, with varying export and import regulations, without any form of checking.
This project will gather data from within the Baltic region, including comparing what is known about other categories of illicit trade in the region such as contraband materials and wildlife, and collecting qualitative and quantitative information from individuals, businesses, agencies and organisations that have a direct connection with the trade in and transportation of cultural property in the region.