Kaliningrad Radland is a large nuclear wasteland covering the territory roughly corresponding to former Kaliningrad Oblast and stretching into neighboring Lithuania and Northern Poland. It was created in the first minutes of the Great War when NATO forces subjected the region to nuclear saturation bombardment because of the major Russian Baltic Fleet base in Kaliningrad and the large concentrations of troops including nuclear ballistic missile systems in the region.
Kaliningrad Oblast and its adjacent Suwalki corridor had historically been NATO's Achilles heel in Europe. In the event of an all-out war, strategists predicted the Russians would immediately attempt to cut off the Baltic States from the rest of NATO by closing the Suwalki corridor, and then overrun the region with overwhelming numbers in about two days, while the Baltic Fleet and troops stationed in Kaliningrad Oblast would prevent NATO reinforcements from arriving, forcing any NATO relief force to fight their way northwards from Poland, buying Russians time to dig in and reinforce their positions. The presence of Iskander SRBM systems that were capable of delivering nuclear payloads would serve as a further deterrent against any attempted relief operations.
With that in mind, Kaliningrad Oblast became a prime target for indiscriminate nuclear bombardment when the Great War finally broke out. Although NATO had taken steps to reinforce their presence in the Baltics in the weeks before, and kept their forces somewhat dispersed in case the Russians had the same idea of attempting to wipe them out with nuclear fire (which they indeed attempted on a limited scale), the Russian ground forces still managed to secure Suwalki corridor with ease. As the conflict was escalating to nuclear beyond any hope of recovery, the area was consequently targeted for saturation bombardment by multiple strategic-scale weapons. Among these weapons were included "salted" cobalt bombs that were deliberately intended to produce large amounts of highly-radioactive and long-lasting fallout as a means of area denial. With the prevailing Western winds, much of the region including large stretches of land in Southern Lithuania and Northern Poland were heavily contaminated.
Although almost 80 years have passed since the Great War, the former Kaliningrad Oblast and its immediate surroundings remain dangerously contaminated. Pockets of radiation in many places are still strong enough to be lethal in a matter of hours, and most other locations are also too irradated for any long-term inhabitation. The most heavily irradiated areas are concentrated mostly near the ruins of Kaliningrad and former military bases, manifested as Eastward-stretching swathes of heavily contaminated land interspersed with relatively unaffected stretches of land.
The landscape of Kaliningrad radland, as it is commonly know today, is somewhat typical to the post-nuclear world, a barren radioactive desert hostile to most life. Very little life is able to survive in the more radioactive areas, loose soil admixed with long-lasting nuclear fallout being swept by the winds between the dry stumps of long-dead trees that cannot even rot away properly as the radiation kills most organisms responsible for decomposition. The ever-shifting dust makes travel through the area highly-unpredictable and dangerous, areas previously thought relatively safe to enter not necessarily remaining so continuously. For any braves attempting to pass through Kaliningrad radland, a Geiger counter and hazmat gear are an absolute must, since relatively-safe and deadly-radioactive areas are often mere steps apart. Any travellers must also bring along a decent supply of food and water, as local water supplies are almost invariably contaminated, as are the few living things that grow or live here.
A few routes exist through the Kaliningrad radland, mostly pre-war highways constantly kept clear of contamination by work crews from Baltic Union and Zapadoslavia. These are routinely used by trade convoys between the neighboring countries. Any travellers passing through must undergo compulsory inspection for contamination at military checkpoints near the end of the routes, being subject to decontamination if affected by fallout. A number of unofficial "ratlines" used by smugglers also exist, unmarked on any official chart and only known to those using them. These routes are highly unpredictable and dangerous because of the ever-shifting radiation zones, the dessicated remains of unlucky travelers often marking the trail of a former ratline mistakenly thought safe by their users. Where the terrain will allow, smugglers will attempt to construct their routes underground for this reason, both to protect against radiation and to avoid detection from air, as the skies near the borders are often patrolled by Baltic and Zapadoslavian drones and aircraft.
Despite the constant hazard of radiation, Kalinigrad radland is home to all sorts of strange and oftentimes dangerous creatures and individuals. Travellers report various encounters with bizarrely-mutated creatures, although most of these reports are dismissed as tall tales by the general public. A much more real and likely threat in the radland, however, comes as usual from the ordinary unmutated variety of humans, as the region is home to all sorts of outcasts and unsavoury characters. Raiders, outlaws, cultists and cannibals all make home in Kaliningrad Radland despite the obvious hazards, preying on unwary travellers and the residents of surrounding communities, and on each other. For anyone seeking to elude the authorities and justice, Kaliningrad Radland is the place to go, provided one is willing to accept the inherent risks.
Another lucrative feature of the Kaliningrad Radland are its amber mines - unfortunately located in some of the most heavily-contaminated areas. So far, they remain unapproachable with all but radiation-hardened drones. A few brave entrepreneurs from Baltic Union and Zapadoslavia have attempted to mine amber from the seabed by approaching Kaliningrad coast as close as safely possible, but the layer of highly-radioactive mud on the sea floor has largely hindered these efforts, and craftsmen seeking amber for their works must therefore contend themselves with whatever is washed up along the Baltic shore.
Despite being largely uninhabitable, the area is claimed variously by Mechanocracy of Russia, the Baltic Union, Zapadoslavia, and even the Old Nations, all having made forays into reclaiming the region. In this respect, Baltic Union has done the most, as the easternmost parts of Kaliningrad Radland overlap with their national soil in Southern Lithuania, roughly covering the area south of Neman River. Asides from carrying out extensive decontamination and land reclamation efforts in this region, the Balts have also made forays into former Kaliningrad Oblast proper, establishing military outposts south of the former Russian border, ostensibly to guard against raider activity - another point of contention with the Mecharussians before the war of 2132 despite there being no offical Mecharussian presence in the region at the time. Zapadoslavia's activities have been more limited, as their border regions with the Radland are generally more heavily contaminated. Old Nations have in turn embarked on the most ambitious effort yet by establishing the first permanent settlement in the region. New Konigsberg, actually situated over 10 kilometers south of former actual Konigsberg/Kaliningrad due to untenable levels of radiation, may seem like a promising start, but is in fact little more than a glorified penal colony, an assortment of criminals, undesirables and other misfits and malcontents being sent here to work as clean-up crews in exchange of reduced sentences.