I know that Bogumil has not posted anything new for the ARPLAN Blog, so I thought I should contribute my own research to his area of interest. Even though it has been a century since the interwar period, a lot of misunderstandings and misperceptions have continued to flourish long after 1945. One related topic that I have mentioned earlier on ARPLAN and here is the “Kaliningrad Question.” Enough time has passed for me to write more about it.
For those who are not aware, the Kaliningrad Question refers to the postwar future of Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast, which is the northern half of former East Prussia. The German-speaking world lost East Prussia and other eastern territories after 1945. German Reunification could have not been achieved without West Germany renouncing territorial claims on those territories east of the Oder-Neiße Line. Apparently, I also found out that the late Mikhail Gorbachev had initial plans to return the Kaliningrad Oblast to the German-speaking world, but this decision was blocked by the Polish, which at the time was not part of the EU/NATO yet.
In the decades since the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Kaliningrad Oblast has become increasingly isolated from Post-Soviet Russia as the EU/NATO expanded eastward. With the German-speaking world refusing to recognize the region as theirs and because neither Poland nor Lithuania have any claims over it, the Kaliningrad Oblast has become a Russian exclave in the middle of the EU/NATO.
The consequence of these decisions was that the Russians in the Kaliningrad Oblast have become uncertain about where they stand in relation to Post-Soviet Russia and the German-speaking world. Some supported efforts to redefine the Kaliningrad Oblast as part of former East Prussia, going as far as to allow German tourism and German culture in the region. One 2008 proposal even went as far as renaming Kaliningrad back to Königsberg.
The trend, it appears, did catch the attention of certain elements in the Russian government. They claimed that a process of “Germanization” is occurring in the Kaliningrad Oblast for the purpose of bringing the region closer to the EU/NATO. The EU/NATO views the region as a thorn on their side, especially as tensions between them, the Jeffersonians and the Russians continue to mount.
Are the Russian government’s claims of “Germanization” true? No, it is actually propaganda devoid of any genuine substance. Pan-Germanic Socialism continues to be ostracized in the German-speaking world because of Hitlerism. West Germany has made sure of that. The Kaliningrad Oblast, that little sliver of East Prussia, will continue to remain part of Russia unless this “special military operation” escalates into something beyond Russia’s control. There is no doubt that the circumstances behind it was at some level influenced by the geopolitical position of the Kaliningrad Oblast in relation to the EU/NATO.
Leave a Reply