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Old March 8th, 2014, 09:35 PM   #9901
Kemo
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For example there were only two road border crossings between PL and USSR (border lenght: 1241 km).
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Old March 9th, 2014, 01:26 AM   #9902
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The exception was after the Prague Spring, when the USSR allowed tourists to transit through the country to avoid Czechoslovakia on their way to Bulgaria/Romania.

But I think individual tourism was permitted, just in the usual socialist way of having to book everything in advance. I seem to recall that you could even do driving tours there if you so wished. In one of my books about the DDR, there's a reference to how East Germans were shocked to discover how poor the Soviet Union was in comparison to East Germany.

Kemo - two border crossings? That doesn't sound right - I know there were no crossings with the Lithuanian SSR, but what about Terespol, Medyka and Dorohusk? I know Terespol and Medyka were for certain, and I've found old footage of the PL/UA border in 1992 in Dorohusk, so surely there were at least three crossings? I also think that a crossing with the Lithuanian SSR did open up at some point before Lithuanian's independence was recognised.

Perhaps the most interesting PL/SU crossing was the corridor train from Przemysl to Kroscienko. By all accounts, the Soviets were paranoid.

Last edited by Eulanthe; March 9th, 2014 at 03:26 PM.
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Old March 9th, 2014, 01:38 AM   #9903
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Quote:
In one of my books about the DDR, there's a reference to how East Germans were shocked to discover how poor the Soviet Union was in comparison to East Germany.
.
My mom always remember that even within the East bloc, DDR had still its relative high German standards.
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Old March 9th, 2014, 04:17 AM   #9904
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corvinus View Post
Plus there was a point somewhere east of Moscow, eastward of which no foreigner whatsoever was permitted to proceed.
What are you talking about? My father went to Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in times of USSR and he had no problems.
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Old March 9th, 2014, 04:44 AM   #9905
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Maybe he was refering to Gorkij (Nishni Novgorod) which was off limits for foreigners during the Soviet Era.
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Old March 9th, 2014, 11:49 AM   #9906
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_city
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Old March 9th, 2014, 03:42 PM   #9907
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volodaaaa View Post
My mom always remember that even within the East bloc, DDR had still its relative high German standards.
Yes, it clearly had the highest standard of living within the Eastern Bloc.

Assuming that things had stayed as they were, the DDR was heading towards a huge problem in terms of finance, just as Poland had experienced a few years earlier. I know that there were some very real concerns that the DDR didn't have the money to survive the winter of 1990, which is why they rushed into economic and monetary union with West Germany despite it not necessarily being in the best interests of the country.

I was told one personal account by a resident of Słubice who told me that July 1st 1990 was a fantastic time for her. She owned several hairdressers, and the sudden ability of people in Frankfurt (Oder) to pay with DM rather than Ostmarks meant a massive jump in her income. Another curious historical note is that she also had several East German women working for her after unification, as with the total lack of employment in Frankfurt (Oder) meant that she could hire them on lower salaries, but they would still receive unemployment benefits from Germany. Customers (all from Germany) were happy to pay more for a German cutting their hair, while still taking advantage of much lower prices.
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Old March 10th, 2014, 01:24 AM   #9908
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Greeting text (in Russian) at the Tajik border
(source: http://hataratkelo.blog.hu/2014/02/2...ag#more5836141)

Unfortunately, the source doesn't state which country the observer is looking at the border from.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Verso
What are you talking about? My father went to Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in times of USSR and he had no problems.
Didn't manage to get the source I got this information from. Maybe it was a thing specific to foreign truckers (not permitted to drive beyond a certain point within the USSR), not for any and all foreigners ...
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Old March 10th, 2014, 01:40 AM   #9909
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It seems like further border crossing between Ukraine and Crimea/Russia


I am not sure, but I see there some Ukrainian and Russian forces at the same time
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Last edited by volodaaaa; March 10th, 2014 at 02:13 AM.
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Old March 10th, 2014, 02:05 AM   #9910
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USA - Canada border: not difficult to walk across it!
https://www.google.com/maps?ll=49.00...,9.78&t=m&z=11
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In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.
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Old March 10th, 2014, 02:30 AM   #9911
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volodaaaa View Post
Pedestrian crossing Mali Selmenci - Veľké Slemence
... or in Hungarian: Kisszelmenc - Nagyszelmenc, a (now divided) mostly ethnic Hungarian village.
Another photo from 2010, looking towards Mali Selmenci, UA:
(Source)
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Old March 10th, 2014, 03:08 AM   #9912
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eulanthe View Post
Schengen has nothing to do with the freedom of people to work in other countries.
This is partially correct. As the first countries (UK & Ireland) that gave unlimited rights to access the labor market to the new "Eastern 8" weren't members of the Schengen Treaty, thus they've non formally accepted most of it (freedom of movement), but wanted to keep possibility of checks at the border. IMHO, It was more a political strategy (cheap wide labor without visas, to cut wages in some sector) that an "out" of Schengen policies, which UK or Ireland have, in fact, not adopted at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eulanthe View Post
Anyway, it isn't an 'outrageous' amount of emigration, nor are they clearly concentrated into 5 or 6 countries.
Why are you denying reality? In many areas of the "new 8", villages or towns are being emptied of most of their population, sometime even leaving ghost towns behind. Never before (during peace time) the emigration of these "8" was so great in such short period of time. One would think that emigration will stop with further development and rises of standards of living, but it's haven't shown up till now; per example, in Poland emigration reached a record high last year while it never had such an economic development and achievements in the past. Also, it's a predominantly one-way exodus (most of its people never comes back), as the contrary is still very very marginal (move of Westerners to Eastern EU countries).

Enough of talking, here are some facts, in reserve you consider statistics at all:


Polish Central Bureau of Statistics (GUS), for Poland alone (the biggest of the "new 8" country), emigration from 2002 to 2012 : http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xbcr/...12_XI_2012.pdf (> look at table 1, page 3).

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Originally Posted by Eulanthe View Post
The point is that the EU is a union. No-one cares if someone moves from a poor Appalachian town to New York, nor should anyone care if someone moves from Bulgaria to England.
Than again I must disagree. USA is a federal state with a nationwide citizenship, and a common culture, traditions and language. In Europe it's different, unfortunately, there is nothing like a "European citizenship", nor it's even close from being a federal state, and has nearly as many different culture, traditions and languages than it counts in countries part of the "Union". Yet, It's based mostly on a voluntary and cooperation between EU and sovereign countries basis; take this question as an example, what would happen if Front National wins elections in France and wants to get rid unilaterally of EU? Would there be anything to prevent them from doing so? Furthermore, disparities between countries (even when narrowing) are still enormous.

Last edited by John Maynard; March 10th, 2014 at 03:57 AM.
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Old March 10th, 2014, 03:35 AM   #9913
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Entering Hungary at Schachendorf (A) -> Bucsu (H) crossing - April 1st, 1989.
Notice speed limit for motorways signed at 120km/h - the increase from 100 km/h didn't occur before the late 1980's.

The (in)famous Gorenje fridges were a common article to import from abroad back then - fridges were scarce goods in '80s Hungary. In the late 1980's, travel regulations for Austria were already very relaxed for H citizens.

(Source)

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Old March 10th, 2014, 03:52 AM   #9914
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Maynard View Post
This is partially correct. As the first countries (UK & Ireland) that gave unlimited rights to access the labor market to the new "Eastern 8" weren't members of the Schengen Treaty, thus they've non formally accepted most of it (freedom of movement), but wanted to keep possibility of checks at the border. IMHO, It was more a political strategy (cheap wide labor without visas, to cut wages in some sector) that an "out" of Schengen policies, which UK or Ireland have, in fact, not adopted at all.


Why are you denying reality? In many areas of the "new 8", villages or towns are being emptied of most of their population, sometime even leaving ghost towns behind. Never before (during peace time) the emigration of these "8" was so great in such short period of time. One would think that emigration will stop with further development and rises of standards of living, but it's haven't shown up till now; per example, in Poland emigration reached a record high last year while it never had such an economic development and achievements in the past. Also, it's a predominantly one-way exodus (most of its people never comes back), as the contrary is still very very marginal (move of Westerners to Eastern EU countries).

Enough of talking, here are some facts, in reserve you consider statistics at all:


Polish Central Bureau of Statistics (GUS), for Poland alone (the biggest of the "new 8" country), emigration from 2002 to 2012 : http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xbcr/...12_XI_2012.pdf (> look at table 1, page 3).


Than again I must disagree. USA is a federal state with a nationwide citizenship, and a common culture, traditions and language. In Europe it's different, unfortunately, there is nothing like a "European citizenship", nor it's even close from being a federal state, and has nearly as many different culture, traditions and languages than it counts in countries part of the "Union". Yet, It's based mostly on a voluntary and cooperation between EU and sovereign countries basis; take this question as an example, what would happen if Front National wins elections in France and wants to get rid unilaterally of EU? Would there be anything to prevent them from doing so? Furthermore, disparities between countries (even when narrowing) are still enormous.
As much as I agree with some of your points I'm not sure if you are reading that table correctly.
It shows estimated number of Polish citizens residing abroad at the end of each calendar year. It is not number of people emigrating in each year

The figure jumped between 2004 and 2007 (from 0.8 to 1.9 million) then decreased (down to 1.6 million in 2010) to rise again a bit but still below the peak.
It stays in broadly the same range.

It means that number of Poles living abroad is fairly stable. There are no more masses emigrating. Some emigrate, some come back to buy properties in Poland. I don't see thousands of my compatriots coming to London each year.

If you look at the UK (the most important destination for emigrants) number of Poles living there is broadly the same since 2007 and oscillates around 0.6 million.
Number of Poles in Ireland practically halved since peak in 2007, it is not all one way traffic.

Even if the real number is a bit higher these figures correctly portrait the situation of stabilization in migration flows.
There is certain and limited number of mobile people in each population, those willing and energetic enough to take some risk and relocate to a new country. They already left. Beyond that most population never moves.

So don't worry, you can't expect that suddenly 10 million of Poles and 7 million or Romanians turn at your doorstep.

Last edited by geogregor; March 10th, 2014 at 04:06 AM.
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Old March 10th, 2014, 04:32 AM   #9915
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But what does it matter if some people move away? If they want to go, good for them. We have tried the "small zone" and "large zone gulag" thing and that is obviously no good. As for empty towns in PL, Poles have been running away as much as possible from that place for 250 years at least. Now with such easy ability as Schengen, that people are still there, is testament to amazing progress in the country

It seems so strange wanting to keep people out, of course, should always be working to attract more and more people to our wonderful country, by making it a better place to live for everyone (lower taxes, strong economy, etc). If there are not people wanting to immigrate to a particular country, that is a bad news!
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Old March 10th, 2014, 04:50 AM   #9916
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Yes, the biggest rise on emigration was in 2002-2007, and that they are mostly concentrated in 2 countries, now they have the biggest population living abroad (as of 2013), as this figure shows:


Source: GUS

Here is an interesting article of The Economist's about the exodus: http://www.economist.com/blogs/easte.../poland-and-eu
Furthermore, you can read that many Poles retained their residency in Poland while abroad; as this town, in example, which has considerably more "official" inhabitants than what it is in reality. Now, to know how many Poles are "unofficially" working or living abroad, while being "officially" in Poland, the question is open .

As a matter of fact, there was an estimation, that pinpoint that as many as 500'000 Poles left their country in 2013:
http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/16...Poland-in-2013
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Old March 10th, 2014, 05:25 AM   #9917
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GUS data is not based solely on registration of residents, they perform quite complicated statistical analyses.
Also, data from 2011 was based on national census where people filled questionnaires and were interviewed.
I agree that those numbers are probably underestimated but I can't agree with some wild ideas that the real numbers are double or even triple that.

As I said there is quite substantial two way traffic. Some people emigrate some come back. I have a lot of friends who went back to Poland in he last 5-6 years.
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Old March 10th, 2014, 11:15 PM   #9918
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Zoufftgen / Dudelange border crossing

http://www.loractu.fr/thionville/639...a-prevoir.html

Works began today to dismantle the border crossing between France and Luxembourg at Zoufftgen (A31-A3). This border crossing connects Metz with Luxembourg City. The first phase of the works will disrupt traffic significantly, they expect 10 kilometer backups during rush hour as many French work in Luxembourg.

The dismantling was originally planned for 2011, but there was no money available. Luxembourg will carry the full cost of dismantling the border crossing, which should be completed by December 2014.
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Old March 11th, 2014, 01:31 AM   #9919
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
http://www.loractu.fr/thionville/639...a-prevoir.html

Works began today to dismantle the border crossing between France and Luxembourg at Zoufftgen (A31-A3). This border crossing connects Metz with Luxembourg City. The first phase of the works will disrupt traffic significantly, they expect 10 kilometer backups during rush hour as many French work in Luxembourg.

The dismantling was originally planned for 2011, but there was no money available. Luxembourg will carry the full cost of dismantling the border crossing, which should be completed by December 2014.
I'd love to see every Schengen border crossing marked only with the blue-stars square sign and the sign with blank speed limits. And all relicts from the past gone.
There are no border controls between France and Luxembourg since 1993!
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In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.
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Old March 11th, 2014, 01:34 AM   #9920
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But the whole point of Schengen was to make crossing the border faster, and now to get rid of the border point, it's going to take longer to cross than in the old days

And definitely on the blank speed limits, just like im Deutschland!
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