NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Living on Prussia’s ruins, Kaliningraders embrace Germanic past

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

The Christian Science Monitor covers some of the interplay in Kaliningrad between Germanic cultural history and more recent Russian control, amidst Russia’s tensions with the West over Ukraine.

… a growing movement of mainly younger Kaliningraders – supported by local government – … are working to roll back the Soviet-imposed amnesia that convinced generations of people who grew up on this ancient territory that its history only began in 1945.

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It’s an uphill slog for those who are trying to push back the historical horizon and heal the sharp break that occurred when one population and its culture was almost totally replaced by a very different one in a brutally abrupt fashion.

… Old Königsberg, a Baltic city of soaring spires and stout fortifications … was mostly leveled in waves of mass bombings by the British RAF …

A full-scale assault by the Soviet Red Army in 1945 trampled the ruins, and a Soviet policy of erasing any reminders of Prussian heritage largely finished the work. Thanks to wartime evacuations and Soviet-era expulsions, only a tiny handful of the original German inhabitants – mostly those married to Russians – remained on the territory after 1948.

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Perhaps the most egregious act was the Soviet Politbureau’s 1967 decision to blow up the ruins of Königsberg’s 700-year-old castle and construct a hulking “House of Soviets” … built but never completed…

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