Kaliningrad — an ambivalent transnational region within a European-Russian scope

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This book focuses on Kaliningrad’s development as a transnational bordered zone, and the self-understanding and self-positioning of its youth in the context of regional culture. By taking into consideration historical and geopolitical factors, this empirical research was conducted in the Kaliningrad region, Berlin, and the cross-border area of «small border traffic» between Kaliningrad and Poland.

The research is multifaceted, resulting from the diverse and overlapping experiences of Europeanization, globalization, and post-socialism.

In the scope of this study, ethnographic and sociological approaches and resources, including participant observations, interviews, go-alongs, press materials, and statistical data and literature, were considered and examined.

The formation of Kaliningrad, within the scope of European Union-Russia relations, has been analyzed as a case of competition for a specific niche in a transnational region as well as in the context of a post-socialist transition and a rethinking of historical heritage.

On the 14th of December 2015, this manuscript was successfully defended as a PhD/Doctoral dissertation at the Institute for European Ethnology of the Humboldt-University in Berlin. The first supervisor of the dissertation is Prof. Dr. Regina Römhild, and the second supervisor is Prof. Dr. Yury Kostyashov.

Copyright © 2021 by Evgeniy Chernyshev

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.


I am grateful to the people who have guided and supported me throughout the research process and provided assistance for my work.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my scientific supervisor Prof. Dr. Regina Römhild, who has been following the research work from the initial phase up to its finishing touches. Her contribution both to the development of the objectives of this research and to the choice of empirical research method is by all means invaluable. Moreover, she provided me with guiding lines during my search and analysis of methodological approaches. Without her critical feedback, ideas, profound knowledge, help and an inspiring positive attitude, this dissertation would not have been possible.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to my second supervisor Prof. Dr. Yury Kostyashov, who has contributed with his highly considerable experience within scope of this research, comments, suggestions as well as his constructive criticism. His observations were especially significant in the historical and cultural aspects of the research.

A special thanks to the protagonists of this study: The interviewees who gave me insight into their everyday life through their openness and willingness to share their thoughts, desires, consideration, motivations, plans, projects and knowledge.

I express my deepest gratitude to my parents Yury Chernyshev and Nina Chernysheva for their wisdom, moral support, patience and continuous guidance, which inspired and motivated me throughout the entire journey of my research. Their support is of the greatest importance.

1. Introduction: Kaliningrad — an ambivalent transnational region within a European-Russian scope

Scope of study

This study focuses on the question of self-understanding and self-positioning of Kaliningrad’s youth as a process and the result of the Kaliningrad regional culture.

The background of the study is the following factors and circumstance, which up to date play the significant role within the issue of self-understanding and in the positioning of Kaliningradians: distinctive history of the region; multilevel cultural space and identity representations; migration genesis of the region’s society, and significant migration flows; peculiar geographic location.

Therefore will be examined approach to cognition of historical heritage, historical consciousness; practices in everyday life, which illustrate strategies and experiences of Europeanization; the practice of transmigrant and cross-border mobility; enclave/exclave phenomenon, the concept of the «bridge» and «pilot region»; and phenomenon of regional culture.

During the study were involved ethnographic, anthropological and sociological approaches and resources, including participant observation, various interviews, go-alone, press materials, statistic data and literature.

Field description: relevance of research

The Kaliningrad region was formed in 1946 on the territory of the former East Prussia as a most western part of Russia. There processes of globalization and regionalism intertwined, which are manifested by peculiarities of established regional culture. The particularity of the historical heritage and cultural space of the Kaliningrad region is largely determined by such features as a bordered zone, multiethnic, and multi-religion. That is why the following issues are the most relevant: the historical roots, cultural identity, and cultural dialogue. Cultural issues of the Kaliningrad region are significant, not only because of their specificity in comparison to most other regions of Russia, but also because of active cooperation in the bordered zone.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the Kaliningrad region was separated from the rest of Russia by several borders. Traditional economic ties were broken; the region experienced a severe crisis and fought for economic survival. The status of a special economic zone assigned to the area became a way out. Later, a special economic zone was perceived as a compensation tool of drawbacks of exclave position of the region.

There is a growth of interest among residents of the region to the pre-war history, arise discussions about the renaming of the city, Russian Germans and residents of the former Soviet Union republics actively immigrated to Kaliningrad. The area was opened for foreigners, including former inhabitants of East Prussia. There was an implementation of long-term programs of cross-border cooperation. In the 2000s, numerous investment programs for the region’s development were started and a program of resettlement of compatriots from the former Soviet Union republics was introduced. In spring 2004, the neighboring Baltic countries and Poland have become members of the European Union. Since 2004 the Kaliningrad region is the only Russian enclave within the EU.

The topic is relevant due to the presence of accumulated data on regional culture and the lack of complex studies focused on the cultural space of the region in the context of cross-border mobility and self-actualization of young Kaliningradians. Moreover the analysis of the complex socio-cultural processes in the Kaliningrad region is important for the development of regional cultural policy priorities.

Maintenance and development of regional culture plays a significant role for mutual understanding, which should make for overcoming various severities of contemporary inter-regional relations.

Objective and tasks

Objective of the study is to explore the self-understanding and self-positioning of young Kaliningradians in the context of regional culture, and its development as a transnational bordered zone.

The assigned objective involves the following tasks:

— describe distinctiveness of the cultural space of the Kaliningrad region and forming on its basis a model of regional culture,

— analyze the position of exclave Kaliningrad region in the social-cultural discourse of the inter-regional dimension;

— consider the establishment and development trends of regional identity, self-positioning of youth under conditions of exclave region: If a combination of historical memory and geography provides a sense of commonality resulting in a perceived, distinct kind of groupness?

— characterize everyday cultural orientations of young Kaliningradians in the scope of EU-Russia: If the choice with whom to distinguish themselves (Russian or Europeans) is a choice between two temporalities for Kaliningradians?

«Kaliningrad issue»: focuses of research

The Kaliningrad region is an administrative-territorial unit of the Russian Federation, which has the most unusual history among other entities of the Federation and consistently attracts socio-political and research interests. Established as a result of the Second World War the Kaliningrad region became a target for intensive Soviet resettlement policy. The complete shift of the population in extremely short period of time has prepared the necessary «testing ground» for voluntaristic construction of the collective memory of new inhabitants of the region — immigrants from various Soviet republics and regions.

The cultivation of the idea that the territorial accession is just the trophy of war was an important arrangement of Soviet propaganda and cultural-educational policy, which was most pronounced in the first two decades after the war. The official discourse has ensured the fact that the Second World War is the starting point of history of the region.

History and culture of the Kaliningrad region after 1945 has long remained beyond the scope of scientific research in Western Europe and in Germany in particular. Scientific interest in the «Kaliningrad issue» was focused mainly within the field of politics and economics. Researches on socio-cultural issues appeared only in recent times, and presented in studies of Kaliningrad’s youth by Matthes, Hoppe, Brodersen.

The second half of the 1980s marked a new phase in studies of the Kaliningrad region. It was officially recognized the fact of the continuity of pre-war and post-war (Soviet) histories. This trend was accelerated since the early 1990s,, when the discourse was aimed on questions of «who we are here?», «what is our mission?», «what are our roots?»

Therefore in the post-soviet time the public and scientific debates on the question «whether is it appropriate to regard Kaliningradians as a distinctive group or community, framed by regional cultural markers», acquired a significant role in the political and everyday discourse.

The 1990s may be defined as the period of updating the regional cultural, historical, ethnographic and multidisciplinary studies. Researches of this period are characterized by the introduction of results of ethnographic studies. The issue of cultural identity came to the fore in the last twenty years.The issue of identity and regional consciousness is associated by many researchers with Kaliningrad’s exclave status. This approach allows defining the Kaliningrad region as a geographical and political space, but also as cultural exclave.

In the 2000s, due to the emotional quest of «Kaliningrad distinctiveness» and as a result of search for some regional «identity», not only the territory and place, but also people — Kaliningradians became the object of significant attention. In this context among political establishment is studied and crystallized the idea of «strengthening of loyalty» to the Russian statehood («center») among the Kaliningrad community. Particular attention is given to the young generation. To this end, political actors, mainly of the central government, bring to the agenda the topic of «latent separatism».

Academic science, especially political science and sociology, were involved in carrying out the necessary adjustment of the attitude of Kaliningradians from superfluously «European» to more typically «Russian». Anthropology brings modest «contribution» to this activity. The complexity of the abovementioned factors leads to the enrichment and diversity of discourse about identity and regional culture as a model (modification) of the national identification core. Since 2004, the Kaliningrad region has become a Russian enclave within the EU and discourse articulated more intensely.

In 2007, neighboring Poland and Lithuania became the members of the Schengen area and the «Kaliningrad issue» became a topic for EU — Russia relations. Since this time Kaliningrad regional official and public institutions are included in multilateral projects of «region-building» in the Baltic Sea region. The expiry of the valid law of «The special economic zone «Kaliningrad region» permanently brings the issue of economic security of the region, which has a lasting impact on «Kaliningrad distinctiveness».

The «Kaliningrad issue» is quite actively developed by political science with the intensive involvement of the methods of empirical sociology and statistics. A number of questions rise: «What role plays the identification of the region’s residents with their space of habitat», «where are the boundaries of the construct of regional identity», «Do they lie exclusively within the administrative boundaries of the Kaliningradskaja oblast or construct of identity finds nutritional base abroad, in the border areas, in the „center“ or anywhere else?» and «Is it possible at all to measure the construct of regional identity by spatial categories?»

Since the beginning of 1970s, the regular development of the academic design of «regionalism» theories in European academic circles began. Theoretical development of political anthropology, political sociology, social psychology, cultural history, focused on the categories of «place», «territory», «identity», «border» and «boundary». It is worth to note the studies of Keating, Aronsson, Neumann, Joenniemi, Browning, Paasi.

As an important milestone of the study of regional «historical self-consciousness» should be considered a long-term research project of Kaliningrad historians led by Kostyashov. The large-scale collection of memories of the first Soviet immigrants was published in the Polish, Russian and German languages and became a significant example of oral history.

At the same time, including through this project, a gradual shift took place among the German scientists away from the extreme views of Kaliningrad as a place without a past, or vice versa, as a place without a present and future. In particular, Matthes has repeatedly appealed to the theme of regional identity of residents of the Kaliningrad region.

Also I should note the high relevance of the studies of Hoppe and Brodersen, who undertaken a successful attempt to reconstruct and analyze the cultural, historical and social contexts of everyday life of Kaliningradians in 1945—1970, that is, during the period of most massive ideological «processing» of the population and prior to the planned upgrading of the urban landscape of the city of Kaliningrad.

Among the studies of regional identification and consciousness of Kaliningrad in 1990-2000-ies the most relevant in terms of the objectives of this research are studies of Sezneva and Browning.

At present, the theme of the Kaliningrad region is positioned in a few focuses of research capacity.

Firstly, from a geopolitical point of view as a distinct region, which is an enclave / exclave. In recent decades, theories of enclaves, as well as the history of their origin, development and specific problems, are subjects of many studies. The Kaliningrad region is one example of which is reviewed and analyzed in scientific body of literature. It is worth to note the studies of Vinokourov and Nis, which consistently develop the theoretical basis of the phenomenon of «enclaves».

Enclave territorial entities are considered as a kind of category of regions, which plays an important role at the intersection of theories of globalization and regionalism. So often enclaves/exclaves become places for application of interests of different dimensions: local, regional, national and cross-border.

The Enclave is an area or territory, which controlled from outside by motherland, an international organization or a transnational enterprise, which is lying outside the enclave. Accordingly to this definition, also Oblast’ may be an enclave: it is important that this Oblast’ is an integrated component of another state and politically controlled by this state. In this case, from the perspective of the administrative center (Moscow) such area is an exclave, but from the point of view of the surrounding states (European Union) and the international community is enclave. The state, which surrounds the enclave/exclave, is named surrounding state. The state, part of which is an enclave/exclave, is named — mother country.

The necessity for design of theoretical framework for socio-economic development of the Kaliningrad region in terms of EU and NATO enlargement to the East in the mid-2000s has led to the search for evidence-based ways to ensure stability and coexistence with neighboring states. However, it should be taken in account that this search takes place from the perspective of the established categories of political science that preaches the classical approach to the role of state institutions and their borders as limits of political influence. The issue of the «most western region» of Russia is poorly considered in cultural studies as in Russia so in Western Europe. The focus of research aims on discourse about Kaliningrad from the standpoint of political science, which theories are seen among political actors as most applicable and practically oriented in terms of the study of the Kaliningrad exclave, as a factor of Russian foreign policy.

The second focus of scientific interest can be designated as historical memory. The memory is positioned in a close relationship with migratory flows and changes that have taken place in the second half of the 20th century in the region. As known, life in the Kaliningrad Oblast was ensured by method of labor rotation. This shifting of population formed a kind of psychology with a sense of temporality that to some extent stuck in the mentality of Kaliningradians. This population has built the city of Kaliningrad. This process was the central point of identification of people with new place.

The third focus is related to the question of identity and identification of Kaliningradians in the process of everyday life and its articulation in the socio-political discourse. Starting from fifty years ago, the presence of Kaliningrad has been the subject of identity politics. However earlier in the spotlight was the idea that «Kaliningrad plays the role of the western Soviet outpost populated by «homo sovieticus kaliningradensis».

Nowadays it is explicitly clear that the analysis of identity and culture has become a significant theme in historical studies of borderlands, precisely because of the tensions residing in state’s attempts to impose national culture on all of its localities. Ambivalence border regions «often experience as they are both: pushed away from national centers, as part of the centrifugal forces of being the state’s frontier with non-national others, and pulled in by the centripetal forces of the borderlands and state centers across their borderline».

The fourth focus is directly related to the nature of the Kaliningrad boundary regional culture. Social scientists often neglected or underestimated transfrontier cultural systems. This is partly the result of different research focuses, but also methodological complexity. Symbolic design of the boundaries to border cultures are often highly significant signs of national and regional identity, but also are among the most difficult to perceive.

One of the trends which took interdisciplinary approaches to the research of frontier has been through the conception of borders and their regions as «systems» worthy of study in their own right, and not only at the peripheries of states and their institutions, or as the outer cover of state societies.

As Prescott has classified, two research themes would be of concern to an anthropologist: the study of the impact of the boundary on the attitudes of border inhabitants and exploration of the effect of the boundary on national policies. It is reasonable and justifiable to consider all the above aspects in interrelationship. Until now, it did not occur and studies are not based on a multidisciplinary approach of social sciences. Theory and methodological development of anthropology and cultural studies are still on the edge of the Kaliningrad issue.

Course of field research

Since I am an aboriginal Kaliningradian, I can then test on myself the processes and changes that occurred and are occurring at the moment in Kaliningrad. Meanwhile, it is necessary to take into account the fact that a large part of Kaliningradians are immigrants, which means that they have previously changed their place of residence. Young Kaliningradians with a migrant background are became a noticeable part of my research. Another important point, I come to make my study from Germany (Berlin), so the perception of me as an interlocutor from the view of respondents could be often described as «an alien who once lived in Kaliningrad, but came away long time ago and now explores period of his life, which was once, but already gone».

I talked «just about the complex» with those who are the target of public actors, and object of politics, social studies and educational activities. The course of field research provided answers to the questions that troubled me even earlier. Moreover, it has allowed me to take a novel look at the scope of study.

Interviewed people can be divided into two major groups: the «experts» and «ordinary» respondents.

«Experts» are increasingly public people with experience in a particular field of activity. These are people who lead an organization or institution, who are, or have been involved in various initiatives, activities and events that affect, shape, and govern the cultural and social landscape of the Kaliningrad Oblast as ambivalent border region, located at the junction of different spaces. Among them are scientists, leaders of public initiatives, entrepreneurs, leaders of NGOs, government officials, and journalists. In general, these are young people up to 35 years old. Each of them has their own life story, some born in the Kaliningrad region, and some immigrated with their families. However, each of them spent a lot of time in the region already, familiar with daily life of the region and its socio-cultural image and they themselves form it. Almost all experts expressed their wish to be marked in the thesis by their real names and positions.

I have a different degree of familiarity with each of them: from friendly relations, to those I was meeting for the first time. It is worth to note that in both cases, I tried to stick to the same format of conversation, although it is obvious that the meetings with strangers lasted for a shorter time than with familiar persons. I was pleasantly surprised that even strangers, who just learned about the theme of my research, always have expressed a wish to meet. Moreover a waiting time for a meeting was relatively short, even despite of a high official status of the respondent and his/her busyness.

Another observation: almost all of my interviews I have appointed by Facebook or other online social networks. This applies both to my friends and strangers (even high ranking officials). In all cases, online social networks have played the role of an effective communication channel, which is to some extent eliminates the social status of the respondent and makes his/her more accessible for communication.

In my opinion, a significant role was played by the fact of presence of «mutual friends» on online social networks. This fact serves as an effective recommendation and partially replaces the initial phase of familiarity, because it is always possible to make inquiries about the person beforehand. Although Kaliningrad is a town with a population of nearly half a million people, nevertheless, it is a «big village», where many know each other. This is especially noticeable in certain professional circles (among journalists, academics, social activists, politicians e. t. c.).

The venues of my interviews were cafes, offices and breaks during events and conferences.

The sample interviews allowed my respondents to move away from the structured aspect of the conversation and give a response in broader framework of the designated theme. Although, it was largely possible with the second group of respondents.

The second group of respondents is «ordinary people». This group is more numerous and includes a variety of people. Almost all of them are mentioned in the text of the thesis anonymously (under fake names) or under real, but without family names. I have only few familiar people among this category of respondents.

The type of interactions with the second group may be divided into interview (which were planned in advance) and conversations that occurred spontaneously. Interviews were conducted during the events at the opening of thematic exhibitions, scientific conferences and seminars. I should also mention the sporadic conversations that took place in public transport. Here I mean traveling from Kaliningrad to Poland (Gdansk and Olsztyn) and Germany (Potsdam) by bus.

The conversations on the border, while waiting for the border and customs control, as well as with applicants for Schengen visas, who submitted their documents to the General Consulate of Poland and Germany in Kaliningrad, were devoted to the cross-border mobility and perception of Kaliningrad as a borderline region. With some of these people I have managed to become acquainted and to meet again to clarify some questions. In Poland, mainly in Gdansk and Sopot, I was looking for places that are particularly popular among Kaliningradians, who travel there for recreation and shopping of popular products and foodstuffs.

Since many Kaliningradians «migrate» on weekends to «Trójmiasto» my field of research literally «overflows» across the border and rushed for 120 kilometers into the EU, «carpets» the cobbled streets of the old town of Gdansk, corridors of shopping malls, seafront of Sopot, theatrical annual processions of the St. Dominic Fair, yacht festivals and new shopping centers, arrayed along the Polish-Russian border.

On the other hand, my experience of research and teaching at the Baltic Federal University of Immanuel Kant helped me to establish contacts with students of universities of Kaliningrad, with whom I have organized pre-scheduled interviews.

My affiliation with the institution «from the West», which is the Humboldt-University, initially caused the «mixture sense of wonder» among the respondents of my research. The interest of Russian researchers, mostly political scientists and sociologists, considered as usual. Interest on the part of the West is expected only in respect to the lighting in the news and usually in a negative context. The fact that I am conducting an academic study has caused slight bewilderment: «It cannot be! We are interesting for researchers from the West?»

Secondly, my respondents were surprised after I said that I am conducting research in «European Ethnology». They asked with curiosity: «They are interested what we eat, drink, how looks like our housing is and what we daily wear?»

At this point, I should refer to Buckowski, who is of the opinion that still exist knowledge hierarchies, when researchers from the west and their study met with more respect among the field. As explanation for this attitude Buchowski considers a kind of inferiority complex among anthropologists from Central and Eastern European countries, who research the post-socialism. In my case, it was quite the contrary, because people, who are unfamiliar with me, took me as a researcher from the «Western Europe».

Buckowski explains this approach as reaction on colonial pattern of thinking. According to Buchowski, western anthropologists often reject locally produced theories, because they would classify it as ideologically contaminated. The western anthropologists pursue the goals to preserve their interpretations and discourse sovereignty and to legitimize their scientific position.

In conversations some respondents expressed ambivalent feelings of suspicion and of respect to me at the same time.

During interviews with respondents from both groups I felt their aspiration to «explain» features, problems and possible prospects of Kaliningrad, as part of a cross-border space and as a «European» city. I felt their aspiration to use me as a reporter on the line to the west. This confidence appeared after a few respondents said about it directly. One opinion united almost all respondents: «It is „nice“ and „right“ that they are interested in us».

How was the search and identification of fields for interviews and participant observation? Field was found at scientific conferences, at educational institutions, informal youth hangouts, in the corridors of the official regional authorities, media expert communities of journalists and political scientists, in the queue on sale of European goods, on the state border (on the way to it, during customs and pass control and during my stay abroad in bordered zone).

As Baumbach emphasizes the main agents involved in creating and sustaining «regions of culture» and «regions of identity» are acting by communicating shared traditions, customs, and values include a wide range of different sites and media devoted to the promotion of regional history and the creation of a regional collective consciousness. This is exemplified through museums and monuments, traditional fairs and festivals of art. Therefore events and actions, which aimed at maintaining or reconstruction of historical traditions and values, have been my priority in time of field research. Among them are public holiday of «Long sausage», historical reconstruction, «Week of Prussia cat». By these and other events I held participating observations.

As Welz considers «participating observation is used by the European ethnology often only to provide additional background and contextual knowledge». Through those events and holidays I was looking for this background and knowledge, and my search led me to respondents and interviews, which I did not plan and did not expect at all.

I undertook periodic visits to the «field», and constantly visited and left again. I considered this approach as appropriate, taking into account the peculiarity of the study and issues, which stood in front of me. During my empirical research new developments took place: «field» was updated and expanded. Actually it was formed «additional field» — Small border traffic, which is not only spatially enriched the participating observation (allowing more intensively include the border areas of Poland), but also qualitative diversified the research in the «original field» directly in Kaliningrad, made it more complex and multifaceted, especially in the context of cross-border mobility.

If in Kaliningrad I was presented as a «guest» of the field, then in Berlin, the «guests» were Kaliningradians: there was the opposite context. I had the opportunity to experience it during the final phase of empirical research of startup entrepreneurs from Kaliningrad in Berlin. I chose this example of cross-border mobility for the following reasons: it is a novel focus of the study, which has not previously covered; IT — initiatives are a key part of the discourse on Russia’s modernization as a vector of post-socialist development; Kaliningrad (besides Moscow) declared as a «pilot region» of the modernization.

Participating observation provides the context and collection of background information, as well as provided me with initial ideas on self-identification strategies of young Kaliningradians in the context of the regional culture of the transnational space.

Looking to the study of self-consciousness (Selbstverständigung) the following methods showed their relevance. As Margarethe Kusenbach did, I actually exercised go-alongs in time of participating observations. Go-alongs, participant observation, and the abovementioned interviews served to provide an actual view on the daily emotional practices, as well as on the patterns of expression of personal views on cultural memories.

Theoretical and methodological basis of research: Theoretical approach of field

When writing the thesis it has been used a wide range of sources due to the intended objective and tasks.

In this dissertation the following are analyzed: theoretical works of cultural studies, sociology and anthropology, in which the basic examined ideas and approaches to the analysis of problems of this study; archival sources; historical and political studies of regional scientists; periodic regional and national press; statistical publications, which contains factual information about the Kaliningrad region.

I pay intent attention to the dynamics of tradition of the Kaliningrad region’s cultural study, which has its specific features that are directly related to the distinctive social and cultural situation in the region. Complex solving of research’s tasks and analysis of socio-spatial form of the regional community required the implementation of following approaches:

— a systematic approach, which helped to identify and clarify the features of everyday self-positioning of actors under conditions of Kaliningrad’s regional culture;

— historical and cultural approaches have allowed analyzing the relation between self-positioning of Kaliningrad youth and cultural/historical traditions of exclave society.

The field of research may be perceived as a socio-cultural space, which is characterized by variety of networks and actors producing it. So I fall on the idea of a multi-sited ethnography introduced by anthropologist George Marcus, who impugned the concept of culture as a closed entity and makes possible new ways of research.

In the field I explore not the space of urban or boundary milieu, but cross-border interaction, historical memory and actual self-identification. Field research is focused not on an enclosed entity, but on the interweaving of actors at regional and transnational level.

Post-socialism: Europeanization and modernization

If I take in respect the ideas of the anthropologist Gisela Welz, than the definition of Europeanization can be designated as «a process of EU-Europe making». It means that I assume that the definition of «Europe» is beyond the scope of the institutional organization of the European Union.

Relying on the Wolfgang Kaschuba and Tsypylma Darieva, I understand «Europe» not as a fixed entity, but much more as flexible area with variable borders, which allow us to introduce the Europe as changeable socio-cultural structure. Europe may be designated as a symbolic figure or idea that shaped the identity formation in the national and European context.

The anthropological and ethnological research of Europeanization take a wide vision on the phenomena of Europeanization, while the Europeanization was comprehended as a process, which takes place at different levels and contributes to more comprehensive understanding of the «making of Europe».

John Borneman and Nick Fowler assume Europe as the research object, which still in the process of development. This research accepts the «making of Europe» as multifaceted process, which involves interdisciplinary approaches of historians, political scientists, sociologists and anthropologists. Unlike their colleagues, who primarily analyze governmental structures and its history, anthropologists are focused on the making processes of Europe either in interaction with, or apart of the European Union.

I perceive the Europeanization as Römhild primarily not as a political practice, but rather as a cultural practice. With my research on the Kaliningrad bordered region, I find myself on the «edge of the Europe». In this regard from the points of view of Regina Römhild and Gisela Welz the research on «edge» of the Europe contribute to new insights to how in frames of Europeanization articulated the cultural-public space and urban area. Consequently it can lead to a broader understanding of Europeanization itself.

Also the attribution of «edge» refers to the geopolitical dimension of the research field. Secondly, it refers to imagination and appreciation in politics, as Buchowski described it. However, the attribution of Kaliningrad as a «peripheral» or the «edge» located territory is not only an analytical category, but is also the procedure of self-attribution. The application of analytical categories such as «center» and «edge» or «periphery» contribute to self-attribution and self-perception and leads to corresponding spatial practices.

The frontier of the 1990—2000’s was a time when not only political but also social and cultural discourse about Europeanization emerged among academic, social, cultural, educational and youth organizations in Kaliningrad. Questions about: who we are, why we are here, how can we position ourselves in the plane relations of center, the region, neighborhood, and most importantly if we can provide habitat quality, which is comparable to ours surroundings?

A discourse on the Europeanness was formed to integral part of the public life of the region. For objective reasons, the main carriers of discourse are young Kaliningradians, who prone to mobility for travel, academic, cultural and economic reasons. The concept of Europeanization could be related with the theory of transition of post-socialist countries and regions, at that the transition is described as a transformation through modernization.

Modernization was performed as a process of technical modernization, development and formation during the transit from the starting point of post-socialism to the developed capitalism of the Western European sample. In more detail, it is the following: «Circumscribed by popular stereotypes, eagerly strengthened by western and neo-liberal discourses that reflect power relations between the East and the West, people on both sides of the former Iron Curtain simply define it as a transition from the authoritarian regimes to democracy, transformation from commanded economy to free market and a rapid change of social mentalities from communist to capitalists».

We can find the linkage of the Europeanization issue to the post-socialist urban space in focus of cultural-anthropological perspective of researches of Vonderau. I assume that a similar approach could be taken in respect to Kaliningrad. In this context, I take a view of Römhild on the Europeanisation from the «bottom», which means the understanding of cultural, social and political practices of Europeanization as a process of negotiation of different actors.

Boundary modality

Significant attribute of the «edge» of the Kaliningrad region is boundary modality. In principle, borders are divided into the interrelated concepts of boundaries and frontiers, both of which are separating territories of different states. According to Prescott, «there is no excuse for geographers who use the terms „frontier“ and „boundary“ as synonyms». He goes on to define border as the areas adjacent to the boundary, which «fringe» it, while the borderlands refers to «the transition zone within which the boundary lies».

As Prescott determined, boundaries are «the lines which demarcate state territory, and in most places they have superseded frontiers which were zones of varying depth which marked either the political division between two countries or the division between the settled and uninhabited areas within a country». It may be argued that boundaries can be compared one to the other as «the symbols and reality of the physical extent of the state, as social and political facts, with form and function different in minor details but similar in most major ways», as frontiers, on the contrary, are phenomena of history. Frontiers cannot be isolated from their «particular historical circumstances because they are the products of historical forces which cannot be duplicated, and which in most cases are older than those entities which are framed by the modern boundaries of nation-states».

As can be confirmed the border issues has appeared widespread by scholarly debate. On the one hand it concerns the boundaries of Europe. In this case the discussions include geographical, cultural or historical issues. First of all, they touch upon the broad question of European identity and the semantic dilemma of the term European. On the other hand the academic debate concerns the question of the European Union borders. Such diversity of areas results from the phenomena of bound­aries.

Meanwhile, anthropological theories and methods enable ethnographers to focus on local communities at international borders in order to examine the material and symbolic processes of culture. This focus on everyday life and on the cultural constructions, which give meaning to the boundaries between communities and between nations, is often absent in the wider perspectives of the other social sciences. Still the scientific studies devoted to the issue of Kaliningrad are characterized by the limited concern on the importance of daily cultural practices, which serves only as a facultative argument for the Russian political scientists and sociologists.

Thus, I would like to contribute to a broader understanding of Europeanization, which is not comprehended as an exclusively political or historical practice, but also as a cultural practice, then the theoretical approaches of Verdery and Buchowski in contexts of post-socialist Poland and Romania are applicable in the field of post-socialist Kaliningrad transition under European surrounding. As is known, the «collapse of the Soviet Union changed the geopolitical, economic and mental maps, and withdrew the elementary ordering paradigm, historical basis» in all abovementioned societies.

Nonetheless, for many «Easterners», the West continues to be a model they want to apply, in which democracy, free market, consumption and affluence prevail. But for quite a few among them the effective realization of this goal now looms as a menace over local economic interests and national, religious and cultural identity. The principle of hierarchy has come to dominate the redefinition of identities.

Regional culture of Kaliningrad enclave

In the 1990s, the studies of regional particularities were intensified in the Russian social sciences. Studies were promoted by the trend of regional sovereignty, requiring the development of a new regional cultural policy; as well as the need for understanding the specifics of regional development in the context of globalization.

The majority of Russian researchers agree: the distinctiveness of the culture of each particular region due to a variety of geographic, economic, historical and social factors, as well as the specifics of the socio-cultural experience and cultural consciousness of residents. In particular the problems of regional culture are discussed in the theoretical studies of cultural philosophy and cultural studies.

Taking into account the objectives set out in this study should be made, first of all, the following concepts: region; regional culture; are applied to the Kaliningrad regional culture — enclave and exclave; cultural landscape.

The concept — the region — is considered in the thesis as a socio-cultural phenomenon, which is caused by the specifics of the geopolitical, ethno-cultural, historical and cultural diversity of the Kaliningrad region.

Regional culture is understood in this thesis as original integrity of certain area, which is reflected in the human mind, representing the unity of the world of nature, and society. This totality has temporal and spatial characteristics.

Since the literature on various aspects of the Kaliningrad region often contains the term enclave/exclave and enclaveness/exclaveness, so in the dissertation analyzed the significance of these definitions and varied contexts of their application. According to fundamental research on this topic by Vinokourov, I define the enclave as part of the territory of the state, surrounded by the territory of another state. In cases if the area has access to the sea used the notion of half-enclave. The decisive criterion for enclave-defining is the sovereignty over a particular territory. Under the working theories of exclaves, an exclave is understood as a region separated from the mainland, surrounded by more than one other state: since Lithuania declared independence in 1990 the Kaliningrad region became an exclave of the Soviet Union, but after its collapse — an exclave of the Russian Federation.

Exclaveness, pogranichnost, multi-ethnicity, multireligious, multilayered ambivalence are hallmarks of the Kaliningrad region culture, that’s why has importance the concept of the Kaliningrad regional identity: it reflects the specific features of bordered region.

In this thesis to analyze the cultural space of the Kaliningrad region and to identify its specific was applied cultural approach, which allowed integrating accumulated research knowledge about the region. Cultural analysis involves a comprehensive study of the processes and trends taking place in the cultural space of the region.

Cultural analysis of complexly organized cultural space of the Kaliningrad region has caused a systematic approach to development, which had an important methodological significance for this study.

In this regard, was paid considerable attention to the concepts of enclave/exclave self-consciousness. Also in the thesis the influence of the enclave/exclave condition of the region on the identity of youth is shown. Therefore, the proposition is substantiated: in result of exclave character of region among young residents forming an identity, which is different from typical Russian — regional and local components are more significant than in other regions of Russia.

Thereby I perceive the region as a concentration of cultural reflection, which gives rise to new cultural meanings and creates new cultural texts that embody regional, Russian and all-European features.

I assume that the cultural space has integrative and evaluative properties. I share the point of view of cultural scientist Lotman. He defined cultural space as a shared memory space from the standpoint of semiotic concept of culture. That is, culture is a collective memory and collective intelligence, which produces a supra-individual mechanism for storing and transferring of traditional texts, and developing of new texts.

However, time transforms the system of cultural codes, and thus changing the paradigm of memory — it is particularly the case within the Kaliningrad regional culture in the context of discussions about the relation to the German cultural heritage of the former East Prussia. Memory function allows restoring cultural dimensions. In the cultural space can coexist cultural dimensions of the present and of the past: their dialogue. It is about the coexistence of cultures, intercultural dialogue, which — given the meaning the pogranichnost of the regional culture and its historical specificity — is of particular importance for this study.

I distinguish and implement the following spatial couples, which, in my opinion, are specific especially for Kaliningrad regional culture: mainland/enclave, surrounding state/half-enclave, Russia/West, center /periphery, Königsberg/Kaliningrad.

Results of empirical studies show that in the case of Kaliningrad regional culture, in contrast to the typical Russian dichotomy of East/West and Europe/Asia, following semantic pairs have fundamental meaning — West (Kaliningrad region) /East (Russia) and Europe/ Russia (Kaliningrad region).

Identity: Transnational region

It should be taken into account that potential rivalries and conflicts between local, regional, national and supranational levels of co-operation must not be ignored. At best, these levels complement each other, creating a European identity in diversity. We can find the increased attention to the «Europe of the regions» in numerous studies. Generally, this attention is directed to the «interaction of memory culture and regional history», as well as to political, economic, and social forces involved in constituting a region and establishing regional identities.

As I turned to the issue of the region and to Kaliningrad region as an example of it, than would be taken into account that the meaning attached to region can vary quite dramatically depending on the perspective from which it is considered. As Michael Keating notes, «there is consensus that the term refers to space, the notion of space itself can have several meanings: territorial space; political space and the space of social interaction; economic space; functional space».

Identity is considered being a very versatile and controversial, capacious concept, which occupies a key place in the discourse of Kaliningrad (inside) and about Kaliningrad (from outside). The inevitable background of this discourse is the border modality of the region. If I turn to Barth, who pointed out that the differences between cultures, and their historic boundaries and connections, have been given much attention, I recognize that his study provided a significant impetus to expand the horizons of the state of research in the second half of the 20th century, with a focus on the «constitution of ethnic groups, and the nature of the boundaries between them», which have not been correspondingly investigated before. Opinion that the borders are «meaning-making and meaning-carrying entities, parts of cultural landscapes which often transcend the physical limits of the state and defy the power of state institutions» finds justification in a place like the ambivalent region of Kaliningrad.

Martinez based his concept of the borderlands milieu, on the study of the US-Mexico border. Such «milieu» can be affected by many cross-border and national factors, which can be grouped in such a way as to produce a typology of borderlands interaction. In the assumption of the concept of Matinez, depending on the political conjuncture the Kaliningrad region as borderland can be attributed to two groups. First, coexistent borderland is present when neighbouring states reduce tensions to a manageable level, and modest cross-border interaction occurs. Second is interdependent borderland, which involves a symbiotic relationship between border regions in adjacent countries. There is a binational economic, social and cultural system at work between the two border regions, and perhaps between their states, but a number of policies retain state separation at the boundary. The existence of binational economic, social and cultural system at work on the level of the two border regions allows us to stress, that the Kaliningrad region nowadays can move towards the tendency of an interdependent borderland.

In the issue, anthropological research on border cultures contributes to our knowledge of identity formation. Taking into account the concept of Martinez, it is worth to note that the Kaliningrad borderland is bears the imprint of ambivalence, which is reflected, cultivated and maintained in the mindsets of young Kaliningradians. Because of their transborder and transnational linkages, these border cultures are often treated suspiciously by states and their agents, many of whom believe in the traditional view of the convergence of state, nation, identity and territory. As we know the stronger rulers belief was that strict control of the frontier was essential to the maintenance of their power. The above is manifested in the Kaliningrad regional culture, forms it and affects the everyday practices.

It is certainly a commonplace in the interdisciplinary field of border studies that the border can only be conceptualized as being shaped and produced by a multiplicity of actors, movements and discourses. But most of these studies still perceive the practices of doing borderwork and making borders as «acts and techniques of state», more specifically state political institutions. Then from the empirical point, the politicization of cultural identity requires people to react against their own felt disadvantage and denigration, as well as occurring in characteristic economic and political circumstances.

During my empirical study I asked my respondents about the format of interaction within political, economic and cultural dimensions in the space of the borderland region and whether it is legitimate to talk about the hierarchy or the interdependence of these measurements. I have collected very different answers, which made the basis of empirical research in the light of the idea that the culture is but one element in the definition and reproduction of a political system.

I consider the point of Strassoldo relevant who concluded that the ambivalence of border life is a defining feature of border societies in several respects. Border people may demonstrate ambiguous identities because economic, cultural and linguistic factors pull them in two directions. They are also pulled two ways politically, and may display only a weak identification with the nation-state in which they reside. This ambivalent border identity affects the role that border communities play in international cooperation and conflict. Everyday practice of young Kaliningradians and empirical research logically fall on this theoretical basis.

For Anderson, borders are both institutions and processes. Anderson also stresses that «borders are markers of identity, and have played a role in this century in making national identity the pre-eminent political identity of the modern state».

The frontiers are markers of identity, in the twentieth century usually of national identity, although political identities may be larger or smaller than the «nation» state. Frontiers, in this sense, are part of political beliefs and myths about the unity of the people and sometimes myths about the «natural» unity of a territory. These «imagined communities», to use Anderson’s phrase, are now a universal phenomenon and often have deep historical roots. These communities are defined by imagined boundaries, if we follow Cohen’s remark, that «where cultural difference was formerly underpinned also by structural boundaries, these have now given way to boundaries which inhere in the mind: symbolic boundaries». To accept this assumption, we must proceed from the fact that «human consciousness and social organization are profoundly conditioned by territory and frontiers». I note the importance, of how Cohen estimates symbols as a resource for identity. According to his point of view they are «pragmatic devices which are invested with meaning through social process of one kind or another, they are potent resources in the arenas of politics and identity».

I share the view, that in certain circumstances the frontier acquired a mythic significance in building nations and political identities, becoming, as Anderson signalized, the mythomoteur of a whole society.

For Barth, ethnic groups are socially designed using individuals who adjust their cultural identity by emphasizing or underplaying it according to current context. Individuals can cross the boundaries between groups if they find it advantageous to do. Moreover they can maintain regular relations across them, but this does not affect the durability and stability of the boundaries themselves. Accordingly, «cultural emblems and differences are thus significant only in so far as they are socially effective, as an organizational device for articulating social relations».

Here it is necessary to bear in mind that according to the discourse of anthropology the «bound­ary» is the word with the most general application; whereas the term «border» item is situationally specific and «frontier» has come to be reserved to fairly strictly limited geopolitical and legal applications. At that point following question has considerable importance, «why inter-group boundaries are sharply marked even as people cross them and even as the cultural differences between the groups change».

In this regard, I share the view of Sezneva who, in writing about Kaliningrad, takes the point that «there are no reasons to believe that a certain behavioral pattern will automatically lead to the formation of a particular political attitude, or learning about a history will automatically form a particular identity. How people categorize and identity the social world and themselves within it, and how these categories impact on their behavior are not the same issue. Categories of self-understanding do not always provide a basis for collective action and the formation of collective subject-ness».

As Barth stressed, the critical focus of investigation should be «the ethnic boundary that defines the group, not the cultural stuff that it encloses». As known, Barth emphasizes that boundary-making involves two phenomena: self-ascription and ascription by others. But he tends to focus on one side rather than the other, emphasizing internal identification rather than external constraint and the shaping influence of wider structures, such as those of class and the state. However, it makes sense to distinguish «between two analytically distinct processes of ascription: group identification and social categorization. The first occurs inside the… boundary, the second outside and across it».

Cohen takes the similar point as Barth. He stresses that «culture, identity and symbolism all converge on the concept of ethnicity» and makes a critic of the last one: «In some respects, this is the most difficult word of the three, since it appears to mean something — indeed, has been imported into lay usage for this reason — but, in practice, means either everything or nothing at all. Ethnicity has become the politicization of culture».

Cooper and Brubaker argue that «identity» is always «situated» and «contextual». This related to approach of viewing identity as «a process that is a temporal and dynamic phenomenon, which has a history, and even is itself situated in history as experience».

A combination of historical memory and geography provides a sense of commonality resulting in a perceived, distinct kind of groupness. Does this thesis holds true in Kaliningrad? If Kaliningrad’s territorial isolation engenders a sense of «boundedness»? Borders operate as hard geographic facts and geographic borders translated into social boundaries. If the choice with whom to distinguish themselves (Russian or Europeans) is a choice between two temporalities for Kaliningradians? These questions need to find their answer in this thesis.

Structure of thesis

The main part of the thesis consists of three chapters.

The first is «The Kaliningrad region and its historical background» illuminates the issues of historical background and birth of the Kaliningrad Oblast’. Significant attention paid to migration flows as a source of demographic capacity before the collapse of the USSR and the formation of regional society.

For a comprehensive review of the historical context attention is paid to the deportation of German population and analysis of the settlement of first Kaliningradians. In this regard, important sources are archival materials and the results of the project «Settlers tell» of Kaliningradian historians led by Kostyashov.

We have in the focus the period of formation of the urban landscape of Kaliningrad, its perception by residents and public authorities. During this period of time, the establishment of Kaliningrad as a typical Soviet city based on official model of development of socialistic urban communities occurred. Migration dynamics is experiencing fluctuations and has changed the essence of the regional society in 1950—1980’s.

The developing of generational change and perception of cultural and historical heritage among Kaliningradians and followed change of cultural paradigm are resulted from a complex social und public process. It may be distinguished the process of cognition under the signs of «complex of temporality», «outpost in the West» and «suitcase mood». Attention is given to the turn of 1960—70s, which I believe is appropriate to be designated as the beginning of the mastering of the cultural urban landscape.

This chapter also devoted to theoretical approaches to the Kaliningrad region as exclave in consequence of the collapse of the USSR.

The next two chapters are based on empirical material including interviews and participated observations. The chapter «Positioning between Europe and Russia: strategies and experiences of Europeanization and exceptionality of Kaliningrad everyday» discloses the issue under the motto «what is the European everyday life of Kaliningradians?»

The strategy of everyday practices is affected by the emotional sentiments under the slogans of «fragment of Russia», «poor neighbor» and «pilot region». The Small border traffic, which was put into practice as an example of cross-border «European» everyday life in Kaliningrad is disclosed under the title «Hallo, Lidl, hallo Bedronka». Motives, moods, expectations from trans-boundary movements are viewed through the prism of emotional perception of territorial marginality as the characteristic and inevitable property of daily life in Kaliningrad.

Through the content of the chapter come the issue of «separatist sentiment» as a manifestation of «distinctiveness» and consciousness of the «uniqueness» as part of the public discourse and issue of loyalty to state. The Spirit of «pilot-ness» among Kaliningradians plays role of justification and attribution of distinctiveness of regional culture. «Pilot-ness» is understood as a concept with mostly a positive connotation.

The issue of consciousness of the third generation of Kaliningradians is based on the historical heritage as an actor of the transformation of mentality, which nourishes the discourse about the significance of the historic core of the city and cultural heritage. We approach the potentiality to reflect the past in the present and affect the future.

During interviews the question of «how and who distinguish themselves as young Kaliningradians» was articulated, as well as the adequacy and applicability of the issue «periphery» and metaphor of «bridge» on the boundary of Russian-EU landscape.

Appeal to the issue of the Kaliningradian identification on the transnational space takes place through the prism of All-Russian National Census 2010, which uncovered and marked the phenomenon of nationality «Kaliningradian» as reflection of marginality, rootlessness, and ambivalence.

The last chapter «Kaliningrad regional culture: self-consciousness (Selbstverständigung) in transnational space» reveals positioning and self-identification in the context of Kaliningradians boundary modalities. The historical context and cultural transborder’s dialog plays a role through the prism of migration mobility after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The issue of borderland communities occupies a prominent place in the theory of anthropology and sociology. In this chapter, extensive attention is paid to the perception of the «space» and the aspiration of self-identity, as well as to the theme of Kaliningrad regional culture as a component (periphery) of the Russian national culture and as a link to the European cultural space.

The final part of the last chapter is devoted to empirical research in the «remote field» in relation to the «home field». During two years I had numerous interviews with Kaliningradians, which temporarily or permanently live in Berlin and find the field for the implementation of their motivations, ideas and projects. My respondents were young specialists and teams of professionals who implement and develop their startup initiatives and projects in the field of culture and innovative technologies.

I has spent considerable time searching for relevant respondents and localization of participating observation, because Kaliningradians in Berlin are not numerous and scattered among different co-working spaces and events. A process of search revealed that the consolidating center or space does not exist and is not even forming.

I study the role of startup scene as a channel of transnational mobility for young Kaliningradians and analyzed this role, within entrepreneurs’ initiatives of Kaliningradians in the Berlin startup-scene through theories of self-identity and transmigration.

2. The Kaliningrad region and its historical background

2.1. Birth of the Kaliningrad Oblast

The Kaliningrad regional culture is marked by the presence of ethno-cultural, geopolitical, and historical phenomena. It represents intensive cross-cultural interaction so that it has a considerable sociocultural dynamics and increasing cultural uncertainty. This comprehension is important for the study of the features of ethno-cultural particularity of the Kaliningrad region in terms of European neighbourhood. In this regard, the issues of correlation of national, local, and regional dimensions acquire urgency. The establishment of the region almost 70 years ago as a Soviet Oblast initiated the formation of peculiar social and cultural phenomenon.

The 20th century is characterized by significant and momentous changes on the map of Europe, which suddenly affected the way of life of millions of people and their domicile. The Kaliningrad region is one of the smallest regions of the Russian Federation, which has found a new history, cultural, and social profile due to incorporation to the Soviet Union in 1945. This fact was possible in consequence of World War II and of the diplomatic negotiations that took place between the US, Great Britain, and the USSR.

An intent look at this history is a significant step to grasp a full-scale perspective on the issue. How has the fate of former East Prussia been decided that resulted on the map of Europe a new territorial entity, the Kaliningrad region? Familiarity with this history provides an understanding of how ambiguous the process was. Appeal to the history helps us to understand the peculiarities of perception of this area by the first settlers and official Soviet authorities after the war, to estimate the origins of the contemporary post-Soviet identity of Kaliningradians and their interests in the neighbourhood countries of the European Union and their territorial isolation from the «large Russia».

The issue of East Prussia has appeared in the records of high-level diplomatic negotiations in the initial phase of World War II, when the outcome of the war was not known. On 5 December 1941, during the meeting with the Soviet ambassador in London, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has explained his idea: «The main challenge is to once and for all eliminate the German threat. This task requires the complete disarmament of Germany at least within of one generation and the fragmentation of Germany, especially separation of Prussia».

On 16 December 1941, Joseph Stalin in Moscow during negotiations with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden proposed to add to the draft agreement on joint actions the secret protocol on separation of Germany after the war into few independent states. The part of East Prussia with Königsberg he proposed to transfer to the USSR under a term of 20 years as a guarantee of reimbursement of incurred losses from the war with Germany. This attempt to probe English colleagues was not accident: In fact, it was based on the point of view of Churchill, who expressed his opinion a little earlier in conversations with Soviet representatives in London.

During negotiations, Anthony Eden said that Great Britain promised Poland that its borders would be settled at the final peace conference after the war. Stalin suggested that «the western border of Poland will include East Prussia and Corridor (Gdansk). Poland’s eastern border with the Soviet Union has to go along the river Neman, and Tilsit should be in the hands of Lithuania, which is constituted as a portion of the USSR. Further to the south this border should go roughly along the Curzon line, which can be partially modified to a certain point». By insisting on the immediate recognition of borders of the USSR by the British government, Stalin stated unequivocally that he «puts the conclusion of any kind of Anglo-Soviet agreement under condition of an agreement on this issue».

Thus, from the very beginning of the war the issue of East Prussia became a part of the Polish question, which was of strategic importance for the Great Powers in framing East European policy. Despite East Prussia being part of Germany, the fate of Konigsberg in times of negotiations was dependent on the Polish question.

The dynamics of the negotiations on the subject can be tracked in the course of major conferences and meetings of representatives of the USSR, the USA, the UK, as well as those of the Polish government-in-exile.

At one of the meetings of the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers of the USSR, the USA and the UK (19–30 October 1943), which was actually a rehearsal for the Tehran conference, the issue of the fate of Germany was considered. This question was raised on the initiative of the US. Eden laid out the plan of the British government on the future of Germany: «We would like to divide the Germany into separate states; in particular, we would welcome the detachment of Prussia from the rest of Germany». According to Eden, Franklin Roosevelt told him about the need of formation on the territory of Germany of three new states — Prussia, the Federation of Rhineland, and the South-German Union. The US government was divided on the question of the forms of decentralization of Germany, but its influential members were in favour of the fragmentation of Eastern Prussia.

Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov in reply said that the public opinion of the Soviet Union, «speaks for the dismemberment of Germany by addressing this issue on top of allies».

The reference to public opinion in the Soviet Union is cynical, as it is obvious that it had no place and could not have any. However, this is a very important point, which is worth paying attention to. At that time, the military, party staff, and the civilian population began to form an idea of Prussia as a ’centuries-old bridgehead for aggression on Russia’, as «the main source of German militarism».

At the fourth session of the Tehran conference of the three Allied powers — the USSR, the USA and the UK (28 November — 1 December 1943), American President Roosevelt offered to discuss the issue of the partition of Germany. He said that in order to ’stimulate’ the debate on this issue, he would like to present the «plan for the dismemberment of Germany into five states» drawn up by him two months ago. He suggested, «Prussia must be weakened and possibly reduced in size».

In Tehran, from the start of negotiations on the post-war borders in Europe, the issue of East Prussia was considered by the Allied powers as part of the Polish question.

Churchill strongly sought to reach the agreements that he could present to the representatives of the Polish Government-in-exile in London. According to his suggestion, a new Polish state should be located between the Curzon Line and the Oder, including East Prussia.

Stalin said, «Russians have no ice-free ports on the Baltic Sea. Therefore, Russians would need to have ice-free ports of Konigsberg, Memel and some part of the East Prussia. Moreover, historically this is originally Slavic lands. If the British agreed to transfer us mentioned area, then we will agree with the formula proposed by Churchill». Churchill reacted to this proposal with benevolent curiosity: «This is a very interesting suggestion, which I will look into».

Indeed, the agreement reached in Tehran largely determined the post-war fate of Eastern Prussia. However, at that moment the Western Allies believed that much was still to come and that they would be able to win back some positions. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union took the irrevocable and uncompromising course for the future inclusion of Poland and East Prussia into its own sphere of influence.

The prevailing practice of the international law permitted withdrawal of certain parts of the state aggressor as a sanction against this state. In this case, the sanction was imposed primarily on the territory, which was used as a springboard for attack to prevent the revival of aggression in future.

On 1 February 1944, Churchill informed Stalin in a message about the meeting with representatives of the Polish Government-in-exile in London: «I told them that we went to war to protect Poland, we went for it not because of any particular borderline, but for the establishment of a strong and independent Poland…»

On 4 February 1944, Stalin, in his reply to Churchill concerning borders of Poland, reiterated, «As for your statement to the Poles that Poland could considerably extend its borders to the west and north, then, as you know, we agree with it, but with amendment. About this amendment, I spoke to you and President Roosevelt in Tehran. We claim the north-eastern part of East Prussia, including the ice-free port Königsberg, which should be ceded to the Soviet Union. This is the only piece of German territory, which we claim…»

In a letter to Stalin, which was received in Moscow on 27 February 1944, Churchill for the first time explicitly stated that the British government supported the transfer of Königsberg and surrounding area to the Soviet Union and considered this claim «as fair»… «The land of this part of East Prussia stained with blood of Russian… therefore, Russian have historical and well-founded claim to this German territory». In the same message, Churchill for the first time spoke in favour of «resettlement of the German population».

Winston Churchill and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antony Eden were on a visit to Moscow on the 9–18 October 1944. The head of the Polish government-in-exile Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, who was present during the conversations, asked if he could know which western boundary was defined for Poland in Teheran. Vyacheslav Molotov said that the border along Oder was considered without anyone’s objection. Eden said that «the idea had been that the frontier could be moved as far west toward the Oder as the Poles wished to go». Churchill assured him: «All of East Prussia west and south of Königsberg was to go to Poland».

In early 1945, Soviet troops arrived at the borders of East Prussia. Because of «the East Prussian strategic offensive» of the Red Army (13 January–25 April 1945) on 9 April, the garrison of Konigsberg surrendered. The surrender of Konigsberg actually reinforced the political arrangements over East Prussia. From that moment onwards, the region was under the control of the Soviet Army.

After heated debates on the Yalta conference, the Allies agreed that the eastern border of Poland would have to pass on the «Curzon Line». Therefore, it can be argued that at Yalta Conference in February 1945, the head of the USSR, the USA, and the Great Britain almost solved the issue of the future borders of Poland and the fate of Eastern Prussia. President Roosevelt agreed with Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill. On the fifth plenary session of the Yalta Conference, it was agreed that «compensation should be given to Poland at the expense of Germany, including that portion of East Prussia south of the Königsberg line…»

The agreement in principle was reached — only the details remained to be discussed. This discussion took place at the Conference of Potsdam from 17 July to 2 September 1945. At the seventh meeting of the heads of governments on 23 July, the issue of the transfer of the region around Königsberg to the Soviet Union was discussed. Stalin recalled that «President Roosevelt and Mr Churchill at the Tehran Conference gave their consent in this regard, and this issue has been agreed between us. We would like to have this agreement confirmed at this conference». In response to the exchange of opinions, the US and Great Britain delegations confirmed their consent given in Tehran.

According to an agreement in the communiqué of 2 August 1945 of the Berlin conference, the sixth section under the title «City of Königsberg and the surrounding area» stated the following: «The Conference has agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet government concerning the ultimate transfer to the Soviet Union of the City of Königsberg and the area adjacent to it as described above, subject to expert examination of the actual frontier».

The Conference agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet government to transfer the city of Königsberg and surrounding area to the Soviet Union, as described above. However, the exact boundary was the subject of expert’s study. The US President and the British Prime Minister have declared that they «will support this proposal at the forthcoming Peace Conference».

Therefore, the Potsdam Conference recognized the need to detach the East Prussia from Germany and incorporate it in Poland and the Soviet Union. The so-called «expert’s study» was not followed due to certain changes in the foreign policy that led to the beginning of the «Cold War».

Owing to the agreements reached at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the northern part of East Prussia, which is about one-third of its total area, was incorporated into the Soviet Union. On 7 April 1946, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued the decree «On the establishment on the territory of Königsberg and surrounding area the Königsberg Oblast and inclusion of it in the RSFSR». On 4 July 1946, the area was renamed Kaliningrad Oblast and the town was renamed Kaliningrad.

The main Soviet newspaper «Pravda» wrote about it: «Forever was hoisted the flag of the Soviet Union there, where began their plundering raids to Russia a Teutonic knights, hordes of Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler’s armoured gangs; nowadays Königsberg and surrounding areas have unforgettable name of the great son of Russian nation, Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin».

2.2. Migration as a source of demographic shift before the collapse of the USSR: Formation of regional society

2.2.1. After the end of hostilities: Deportation of German population

Small or large territories were transferred from one state to another at various points in history. However, the Kaliningrad region is unique in a sense that in a very short period (several years) the population changed completely on a certain territory with defined borders. The population as a medium of historical memory and cultural heritage is gone and other people who had no idea about the new place of residence have replaced it.

The Kaliningrad region is characterized by a «migration genesis» of the population. This feature is confirmed by the fact that more than a half of the region’s inhabitants are not indigenous. They were born out of the territory of the Kaliningrad region. This feature is relevant even to the present time.

Even now, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, about a half of residents of the area were not born in the Kaliningrad region, of which only about 20% arrived more than 50 years ago and spent here most of their life. At present, a significant proportion of non-indigenous population is represented due not only to contemporary migration flows, but also to historical reasons. The Kaliningrad region became part of the Soviet Union after World War II: In the early years, there took place a mass migration of people from other regions of Russia and the republics of the USSR.

It would be emphasized that detailed knowledge about the past is valued not only for its accuracy, but for its ability to influence and estimate present affairs and situation. So how has been Kaliningrad society established?

Migration flows and challenges are among decisive parameters of the life of society and human. Migration is covering the knowledge of the physical and social landscape where people live. They are trying to identify themselves with the place where life take place, and identify with other people with whom migrants interact.

An individual sense of security has high importance for first migrants to the Kaliningrad region. This sense reflected in state’s power to protect people’s interests and ensure their expectations. Interaction between the new place and the state — primarily, with central authorities in Moscow — plays a significant role for the politics of identity in Kaliningrad and has a historical roots to the beginning of the Soviet period of the region’s history.

After the end of hostilities, the humanitarian situation in Königsberg and surrounding area was no less challenging than in last months of the war.

In the aftermath of the hostilities, the industry of East Prussia was almost completely disrupted. According to accounting records of military commandant offices during April –May 1945, 40 per cent enterprises and factories were destroyed. Lack of appropriate staff not allowed the enterprises to start the recovery of factories immediately. By the decision of the Hague Conference, the countries were not allowed to practice massive migration of citizens to the occupied territory. The USSR got that right only in accordance with the decisions of the Potsdam Conference. For this reason, the initial source of the labour forces included demobilized soldiers and officers, repatriates, and local German population.

Conditions of everyday life were very difficult. The housing problem was paramount. The act of a survey, conducted in early 1946, witnessed about enormous difficulties to solve this problem: «Before the war, there were six million square metres of residential space in Königsberg. As on 15 May 1946, the city was spread over an area of 650,000 square metres. However, overhaul of 50% of them is required». That is, about only 5% of pre-war accommodation was more or less suitable for housing.

In the city of Königsberg and surrounding area left about 139,000 German citizens after the war. It should be noted that these figures might not be accurate, because to take into account all inhabitants was impossible. However, on the basis of these figures I can say that in compare to the pre-war period the number of German residents reduced by almost eight times.

In legal terms the local population was seen as hostile, because formally enacted the occupation regime. Therefore, initially the local population was under curfew, and communication of Soviet military and civilians with them was forbidden.

However, soon things began to change rapidly. In the autumn of 1945 many of the restrictions formally or de-facto ceased to exist. German citizens were allowed freely communicate and change place of residence. Many of them worked at military facilities and bases. Germans filled some local administrations.

In the early post-war months before the mass migration of Soviet citizens, local residents were the main labour force only. Therefore, on 15 February of 1946, the Military District’s Council adopted a resolution that granted local Soviet and German population the right to occupy working positions in industry and agriculture. By the summer of 1946, only in Konigsberg 19,000 German workers were registered, according to the records of the Office of Civil Affairs. At that time, more than 25,000 German citizens were employed. German and Soviet citizens «often lived under the same roof, received the same wages, and worked together on cleaning up the city streets».

Gradually, the policy of isolation of the local population was reduced, and they were included in the field of ideological propaganda. The Soviet administration has attempted to cover the German population with typical methods of Soviet propaganda. In February of 1946, «the Central German club» and its district offices were opened in Königsberg. German clubs were the centres of political and cultural life of local population. Information sources in German language were established — radio and the newspaper «New Time».

The newspaper «New Time» had been in publication since 1947. Journalist Maria Kubareva who worked with the newspaper remembers: «The German newspaper was established by the decision of the central committee of the party, and was governed by the regional committee of the party. On the front page of the newspaper was written, «New Age. The newspaper for the German population of the Kaliningrad region. Published twice a week». In general, «Neue Zeit» was so typical as most of newspapers of the time. Each copy of newspaper contained a topical article, a selection of news about work on factories, agriculture, and housing reconstruction. It also contained interviews with Germans about working conditions and wages.

In 1947 — 48, German schools were opened in all districts of the Kaliningrad region. However, the regular learning process began only in 1948, when German schools have become an integral part of the public education system. At this time, the resettlement of German population began, which was why the German schools were closed soon.

Two resolutions of the Council of Ministers of the USSR regarding the resettlement of the local population were taken on 11 October 1947 and 15 February 1948. It was entitled «On the resettlement of Germans from the Kaliningrad region of the RSFSR to the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany». First, two groups of people were resettled — inhabitants of coastal areas and the disabled. Each family had the right to take up to 300 kilograms of belongings and a 15-day food ration for the move.

Transportation to Germany took place in several phases. Primarily, echelons of trains were formed. Each echelon contained of 55 cars, each of which housed 40 people. Consequently, by the end of 1948, about 102,000 people were deported to Germany.

According to the memoirs, many people did not want to leave, but Germans had no opportunity to obtain Soviet citizenship. Among thousands of respondents who were interviewed in Kaliningrad by historians, only an insignificant part considers deportation of Germans as a right decision.

2.2.2. The settlement: First Kaliningradians

By the time of the establishment in April 1946, the Oblast was inhabited by 35,000 Soviet citizens, and by 1 August 1946, it had 84,500. Some of them were Soviet repatriates who have returned from the concentration camps and «Ostarbeiters». Another category of new residents is demobilized soldiers.

Systematic colonization of new Soviet Oblast launched only after the entry into force of decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on 9 July 1946. The document announced the beginning of voluntary resettlement of Soviet citizens in the autumn of 1946. The first social contingent of migrants was collective farmer’s families (kolchosniki) from various regions of the Soviet Russia and Belarus.

The description that characterized the heterogeneity of this category of migrants is important. In regional political department, it was noted that to villages of the Kaliningrad region «under the guise of collective farmers migrates all who wants, except of farmers: there are lawyers, doctors, musicians, technologists, and teachers».

Here is the description of one of these typical cases: «T. A. before her resettlement to Kaliningrad worked as a seamstress at „kolkhoz“ „Zarya“ in Turov district of Gomel region; in the emigrant ticket for resettlement she attributed herself with imaginary distant relatives. At the expense of cash benefits she bought a sewing machine to work at home instead of work at „kolkhoz“, when she was not allowed to do it and was asked to proceed to the collective-farm work, she voluntarily left the kolkhoz».

Of course, a strong incentive was needed, especially material, for a decision on the voluntary resettlement to Kaliningrad. The settlers were granted with free travel and luggage transportation to the destination, tax exemptions for three years, a lump sum benefit equal to a thousand roubles for the head of the family, and 300 roubles for each family member. Especially for the residents of rural area the important reason was a house and plot of land in a half of hectare, and preferential loans for the purchase of agricultural implements and livestock. A family should consist of two able-bodied members to get the full amount of benefits. As a result, nearly two-thirds of the immigrants were under thirty years old. People of working age have presented significantly higher proportion of the population in the Kaliningrad region in compare to the national average.

Settling in the Kaliningrad region occurred in two ways — voluntary and by force. Incentive measures and compulsion were applied to the same group of immigrants at the same time. For example, soldiers who fought in East Prussia were offered to stay here after the war and bring their families. Significant hopes were pinned on the institute of political officers («politryki») of military units to solve this task. Here is one of the typical memories of participants of storming out of Königsberg, who were recruited to stay in Oblast: «Political department of our regiment invited demobilized communists, and explained to them: «Dear friends, you fought here, now it is necessary to reconstruct this new land». I told them: «We Communists are people too! I have not been at home for a long time. I am from Saratov region. Why do I need this East Prussia?» In addition, they said, «Communists must be the first».

It is important to note the fact that among the first settlers were the majority of those who lost their property and shelter during the war. This is because migration came from areas that were vastly devastated during the war. These people were fully familiar with the hardships of war; they easier agreed to immigrate, as they often nothing to have at the previous place of residence. Many of them have fled of hunger with hope on a better life at new place.

Here, one of memories of inhabitant from Smolensk region, who has been forced to move to Germany as «Ostarbeiter’ in 1942: «After being released we passed through East Prussia to home. In the distribution camp, a man approached us and said, «Girls, stay here. Returning home to Smolensk means living among ruins». So I decided to stay in Kaliningrad».

Immigrants of different social groups of the Soviet Union arrived to towns of Kaliningrad Oblast, but farmers who settled on a principle of affinity groups mostly populated the countryside. To some extent, the population of each district — there were 13 in Kaliningrad Oblast — was formed by people from a particular area of the Soviet Union.

The second category of migrants is a working staff of different qualification. They immigrated centralized by directions of ministries or by the invitation of some large enterprises. Among them were graduates of technical schools and institutes, who arrived by distribution. Therefore, in the Kaliningrad region was originally a high proportion of the urban population.

Another important category is employees of various government, party and komsomol organizations. They arrived by so-called «permit of the Central Committee».

There was another category of persons, who in the documents and records of agencies were mentioned under «accepted on the spot». These people arrived on their own, outside relocation and control procedures, so their numbers are difficult to estimate.

As a result, in the second half of the 1940s the population of Oblast was formed by immigrants from Russia, Belarus, to a lesser extent from Ukraine and the Baltic states. The share of the other Soviet republics was negligible.

Expectations of many immigrants did not materialize. This explains the considerable outflow of people. Nearly all immigrants agreed that Königsberg impressed them as ’burnt, destroyed to the ground, and left by inhabitants place’. One of the first detailed textbooks on the history of the region for students of the Faculty of History explained the reasons for returning of migrants: «Not everyone had the courage to participate in the reconstruction of the territory under unusual climatic and geographical conditions».

However, the expectations of other nature were met: Many immigrants understood that they are going to other «world». The consequences of the war could not eliminate feelings of great curiosity among immigrants. «When we approached the city by train, the houses with a slate roof amazed us. It was very unusual and immediately clear — here lived other people. Gabled roofs of the houses looked beautiful», describes Alevtina Tselovalnikova from Ryazan — «Everything around us seemed strange, unusual, and a bit frightening: a neat village houses, roofed with red tiles and tree-lined roads and asphalt everywhere». «Even through the ruins, which I watched from the window of the car, it was clear that here is not Russia, but Western Europe… all around us was interesting, strange, curious», says Anna Kopylova, giving her first impressions.

However, the frequent lack of basic amenities made about a third of the first immigrants to leave Kaliningrad. Especially significant was the proportion of returnees among the inhabitants of the Baltic states. Among other reasons, this can be explained in the following terms — the geographical proximity of their home, a lesser degree of post-war devastation in the Baltic states, and a slightly better level of living conditions.

The most significant flow of population took place during 1946–49. This was due to the deportation of the German population, the active recruitment of Soviet citizens, and the flow of the first «returnees». In the mid-1950s, the social structure of population began to take stability, and the population started to grow mainly due to high birth rates.

However, in contrast to other regions of Russia, boundaries of social groups in Kaliningrad were more diffuse and continued to emerge for a long time. One of the reasons was the professional background of population. Many immigrants had to learn new profession, or content of their work was different from what they did at the previous job. The above-mentioned fact caused the marginal nature of professional specialization and its instability. Formation of the local educational system has solved this problem, but it was only towards the end of the 1950s. Until then, the situation was extremely complex: «Twenty per cent of downtime was due to the inexperience of mechanics. Accountants had no experience with calculations; they demanded to be under control around the clock. Among investigators, there was nobody in entire region who could meet the most elementary requirements of their job, and the other half of them never worked as prosecutors before».

2.2.3. Migration and society in 1950–1980: Creation of a Soviet city in Kaliningrad

In the late 1950s, the value of net migration was negative for the first time. Between 1946 and 1958, 1,286,000 migrants arrived at the Oblast while 820,000 left. This means that nearly two-thirds of immigrants left the Kaliningrad Oblast. In fact, there was no permanent population in Kaliningrad Oblast until the end of the 1950s. Life in the province was marked by a «method of rotation». Such shifting of population has formed a kind of psychology with a sense of temporality that to some extent stuck in the mentality of Kaliningradians.

The city as a space for a new community of people would reflect the socio-economic development. However, the nature of the urban population of the Kaliningrad region in the early 1950s had a significant qualitative difference from the average Soviet indicators. There was a significant mix of rural and urban population in regional cities and villages in Kaliningrad Oblast. This leads to difficulties in adapting to unusual way and pace of life, and most importantly, to the other types of employment and professional occupation not typical for the average Soviet city.

The surprising fact: up to one third of the population of towns was engaged in natural household. It means that share of households and small farms of individual property in urban areas were somehow comparable to their share in villages. Lifestyle of urban residents was partly associated with agricultural work — about a third of urban households had a so-called «dacha», where they grew fruits and vegetables for their own consumption.

Migration flows, frequent change of residence, significant social disruption, and the complexity of development of the new territory led to the above-mentioned consequences. The song «Kaliningrad, my city, my garden» was very popular during the Soviet period. The distinction between town and country was present somehow conditionally for a long time.

The city did not exist in a typical Soviet sense of this word. By the end of the 1950s, the delay of recovery of the Kaliningrad was so obvious that became the theme for the local press. On the pages of the official newspaper of the regional committee of the Communist Party «Kaliningradskaja Pravda»: «There are beautiful, well-lighted main street in every Soviet city: in Moscow, the avenue of Gorky; in Leningrad, Nevsky Prospect; and in Kiev, Khreschatyk. The workers love these streets, they are proud of them; these streets are their favourite places of recreation. There are no so far such streets in Kaliningrad. Many streets poorly equipped with lighting. We have some beautiful houses, but we have no streets that are one-piece architectural ensemble, architectural and artistic unity». It is obvious that this view expressed the anxiety of both ordinary citizens and party leadership of the city; otherwise, this article could not appear in the newspaper.

Together to build the entire city was the central point of identification of people with new place: «We are the builders of this city». Not for nothing, in post-Soviet time was established a medal «For participation in the reconstruction of the Kaliningrad Oblast», as recognition for those people who were involved in the recovery of the regional economy and infrastructure. However, in Soviet time, nobody talked about ’restoration»; it was only about the «construction» of a new one. «The German architectural standard should be completely buried in oblivion, as it leads to discouragement of Russian people,» argued the largest regional newspaper «Kaliningradskaja Pravda» on behalf of Kaliningrad builders. It means that new Soviet society must build a new city of future; this city needs a new art of architecture.

However, the division of the city in the prestigious and non-prestigious areas began to form in the Soviet time early. These areas largely kept pre-war urban planning, as well as historic architecture, parks, and gardens. In addition, there remained elements of the exterior of the old city, such as cobbled roads.

In general, Kaliningrad is a typical example of the division of s urban habitat in the Soviet Union, but it retained a number of local features such as the pre-war urban planning with clear local demarcation. During the war, the central part of the city was largely destroyed, so there was no integrity of the urban centre.

The city of Kaliningrad had to play a role of extension of the entire Soviet Union. That psychological and physical experience had to be associated with macro-national Soviet identity. The process of the reconstruction of the city was dominated by the construction of standardized Soviet-style modernist structures, new street layouts, and insertion of public spaces that are typical of many other cities of the Soviet Union. City planners viewed the wartime destruction of the city as an opportunity to disregard historical «layer» of urban space: This approach was related to the ideological concept of complete historical discontinuity between Königsberg and Kaliningrad. Newcomers after the war did not feel a sense of belonging to the place and they had no sense of belonging together.

The establishment of the «Soviet man» has required a feeling of belonging to a certain group of people, and this feeling was weak in Kaliningrad. The authorities knew it. Therefore, the city of Kaliningrad was chosen as the centre to establish a new society, which itself would create its place from scratch. The city of Kaliningrad became the centre of attraction of the population. From 1959 (first Soviet census) to 1989 (last Soviet census), the number of residents increased gradually, and it eventually doubled from 200,000 to 400,000. It should be emphasized that up to the present time the growth of Kaliningrad population never has a negative dynamics.

2. 3. Generational change and perception of cultural and historical heritage: Change in cultural paradigm

2. 3.1. Primary perception of a new territory

The frame of perception of East Prussia as a territory with its own history and unique features was determined during the war. «Public opinion» of the Soviet people, mentioned in 1943, was formed gradually as it evidenced by the rhetoric of official propaganda. The main medium of «public opinion» had to come from soldiers and officers of the Red Army, as they were the first who physically confronted with a new cultural and historical landscape. These people had to be important reporters of the official discourse.

Crossing the border of East Prussia, the Red Army were able visually to perceive negative information, which had accompanied them all the way to Königsberg. There were posters with similar content near the border pillars: «Warriors of the Red Army! You stand in front of the lair of the fascist beast!» Apart from Königsberg, no other German city was perceived as the concentration of aggressive and revanchist spirit. The first published literature explained in simple language the image of East Prussia.

The newspaper «Pravda», as official media of the Communist Party, almost immediately after the assault on Königsberg voiced an official point of view in the article «The Fall of Königsberg»: «The history of Königsberg is a history of crime of Germany. Entire history of the city was full of plunder, and another life was unknown». This ideological axiom was supposed to be some sort of code for the perception of history and culture of the province.

The war was the auspicious background for the perception of such propaganda. Therefore, it was relative easy task to establish the corresponding mood among participants of hostilities, who have seen the enemy face to face.

A special «semi-closed» status of the Kaliningrad Oblast played role of positive background for official propaganda. On 29 June 1946, almost simultaneously with the decision to establish the Kaliningrad Oblast, a secret decree of the Soviet government was issued. This decree classified the entire territory of the Oblast as «closed border zone». The access to the area was allowed only with permission issued by the militia.

Conservation of negative perception of the area among newly arrived migrants was a more complicated task. It required the establishing of direct and consistent association between the «enemy» and the space, which was inhabited, built, and developed by migrants. Therefore, stereotypes that arose under military conflict should save their strength and actuality even after the war. First flows of migrants were relatively convenient material and a springboard for the training of such sentiments. It was a relatively easy task, as most of them did not have any insight into the territory to which they migrated.

The Kaliningrad Oblast is an unusual social and historical phenomenon. On the one hand, the previous population completely left the region, on the other hand, new residents who have never been there, arrived to the region. As a result, in a short span of time the population was completely replaced.

Migrants from the Soviet Union found themselves under new conditions of life. People felt themselves «abroad»; they knew only that before here lived «strangers». Settlers frankly said that they «come to Germany», «in Prussia». Such expectations raised a feeling of great interest to the new place. Conducting of meaningful social activities required comprehension of this land, its traditions, centuries-old ways of economic management, and social infrastructure.

According to Hoppe, shortly after the end of the war the city was in a state of stagnation — «Kaliningrad is not a German city, but has not yet become a Soviet». First settlers arrived in this vacuum.

2.3.2. Process of cognition: «Complex of temporality» or «outpost in the West»?

Feeling of «other landscape» and depressive emotions led to the perception of residence in the area as temporary. Many settlers claimed that they did not think to stay here for a long time. As a result, many people obtained complex of ’temporary worker’ («vremenshchik»), which was based on the absence of ties to the new ground.

Psychological emptiness in addition to economic reasons has led to a significant flow of return migration to other more familiar parts of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, among the specialists, who worked in Oblast, was popular ’rotational’ («vahtovij») approach to professional career. Systematic and significant financial investment in social infrastructure substantially solved this problem until the end of 1960.

Settlers remember: «The relatives scolded us — why are you leaving your home? We did not expect to live here for a long time — we wanted back to Russia… We did not know what would go on». It was a common emotional mood accompanying many settlers. Party authorities understood the need to reverse migrant’s sentiments in a sense that they live at home, but not on a hostile foreign land. Therefore, the cognition of reality was required, but in the particular framework: regional authorities stayed faithful to ideological orientation of total negation of region’s history. Frameworks of knowledge had specific physical boundaries. On 5 September 1946, a secret order was issued that required «improving border security in order to include the entire territory of the Kaliningrad region in the restricted border zone». In practice, this decision meant that the access to the area was permitted only at presence of the passes issued by the relevant authorities. Consequently, the freedom of movement was restricted. Mobility of residents within the area was allowed with a special stamp in passports only. Local authorities acted in a fair way. The Kaliningrad Regional Committee of the Communist Party on 15 August 1947 addressed the Central Committee with a request to «make Kaliningrad a fortress of the Soviet Union in the West’ and, therefore, to tighten control to prevent the infiltration of ’undesirable elements». On the other hand, Kaliningrad was to be the «socialist sample, an example for democratic Europe», as claimed by the agitation programme of Stalin’s time.

Therefore, in a short period the population of the entire region changed completely. However, not only people but also the commonality of people as the subject of cultural and creative activities, medium of traditions, and customs left the area of their habitat.

Meanwhile, the meaning of a cultural context includes not only the world of «cultivated» individuals and ordered groups of people, but «cultivated» habitat — cultural landscape and natural space, which has been utilized semantically and symbolically by people, where a pragmatic is inseparable from notional. However, artefacts of the former culture are not just a background, against which occurs the development of «Russian culture», but even one of the conditions for development of «Russia culture’ in the region. Artefacts are intermediaries in cross-cultural interaction, translation and generation of new cultural meanings. Nonetheless, the set of cultural values did not have a receiver in the face of new residents. The landscape of the historical and cultural values has been violated, or even ceased to exist, not having found a new owner.

The history of East Prussia and the experience of the people were denied, no matter whether it was a constructive and practical applicable for development of Soviet economy. The centuries-old local traditions were described as unsuitable for implementation in Soviet reality. Aside from the obvious political and ideological frameworks, which did not allow perceiving the cultural landscape of Eastern Prussia, existed quite natural and social preconditions. The immigrants who arrived in Kaliningrad shortly after the war found the cultural and historical landscape quite confusing. People tried ascribe most of strange and unclear things to alien and unnecessary.

The circumstances of everyday life made it impossible to grasp the essence of reality entirely. It was not enough time to adapt you to local cultural heritage. At the new place of residence, much was destroyed. They could only clear the site of the remnants of the past and commit to build a bright future. However, in practice the new territory harboured many unknowns, so finding of unexpected discoveries became commonplace.

The first victims of adjusting to a ’new life’ were objects of infrastructure. Their characteristic feature was that they complement and enhance the favourable side of the natural landscape. This feature minimizes conflict with the natural landscape. The irrigation and drainage system can serve as a notable example that has an important function to ensure the fertility of soil and to protect communities. These systems were quickly lost because they were not exploited.

Here is how it happened: «The plough pulled out of soil some clay pipes of different diameters. They were collected and buried in the paved ditches along the borders, which had been mistakenly taken for military trenches: Due to ignorance, the progressive melioration network was destroyed.

It was almost a comic fact, but it actually took place. In post-war Kaliningrad, roofs of many buildings were destroyed and had to be rebuilt. According to Soviet construction norms, slope angle could be in the range of 30–45°. Considering the specific problem, the chief architect of the city, Dmitry Navalikhin, said: «We must not restore Königsberg, but Kaliningrad and we, therefore, should reconsider the slope of the roof». In fact, it was not only a technical as well as a political issue. Large tiled roofs slope of 45° for Königsberg houses were required due to the climatic conditions of the Kaliningrad region. This requires the construction of the roof slope and gives the buildings a distinctive look. Small slope, as it turned out, leading to leakage of roofs and rotting of wooden structures. Finally, a compromise was reached between ideology and pragmatism: The slope of roofs was brought into conformity with building norms, but closer to the pre-war standards.

Pre-war architecture played a role of «witness» and medium of history; therefore, it was a source of difficulties in the process of ’cultural education’ of Kaliningradians. «The Russian–Soviet city cannot be restored according to the original pre-war image,» insisted the chief architect of the city of Kaliningrad.

New residents constantly «faced» with many manifestations of the past, which were embodied in material values: buildings, monuments, tools, household items. Those people who not only wanted to «face», but also ’perceive’ these manifestations did not have that opportunity. It was not too interested in the meaning and origin of those material values.

The feeling of foreignness led to the suspicious and cautious attitude to these artefacts along with the activities of Soviet propaganda, even to the denial of the so-called «bourgeois remnants». The list of «bourgeois remnants» contained many achievements of urban infrastructure and agricultural practices. Therefore, in the early post-war years the attitude of the population to destroying of remnants of architectural heritage and infrastructure was mostly indifferent. The position of the Kaliningrad region as ’an outpost of the Soviet Union in the far west’ imposed certain restrictions on the cognition, and on ways of obtaining knowledge. The state authorities have seen Kaliningradians, who has knowledge of the region, as «find for spies» («nachodka dlya shpiona»). Figuratively speaking, the state monopolized the «alien» cultural space and guarded it as a top secret. The lack of knowledge led to the emergence and spread of all sorts of rumours and speculation among the inhabitants, even establishing mystical local folklore.

2.3.3. Attempts to control perception

However, the desire to ignore the architectural and cultural heritage was associated not only with the desire to destroy the alien past, but also to deprive the first settlers of the possibility to compare the standards of living. It may be aligned to the contemporary situation: Kaliningradians compare the standard of living and way of life not with the rest of Russia, but with neighbouring Eastern and Central Europe. Such memories were typical of many who arrived in Kaliningrad in the late 1940s: «When approaching the city, I was struck by houses with a slate roof: It was beautiful. I immediately felt that there lived other people. Neat brick or stone village houses, asphalted roads lined with trees». It is noteworthy that districts of the city that were prestigious and attractive in Königsberg remained attractive for life now.

In contradiction with above-mentioned perception, the authorities cared about making their «mythology» of region. In the second half of the 1940s was designed a short course on the history of East Prussia, which was used for lectures at enterprises and educational institutions of the region. The history begins with a description of prosperity of ancestors of Slavs. For a description of their way of life used such expressions: «bountiful land», «cultivated fields», and «hard-working people». With the arrival of the Crusaders is a radical change of scenery and expressions took place: «The trouble came from the west — invaders, German knights». They «turned the country into a desert», «looted assets», and «massacred or enslaved the population». Then some information about Königsberg: «The knights choose providently a place for their nest of robbery. Connection to the sea by the channel made it possible to get necessary manpower and weapons and send the loot to German states». One can see that there is a dichotomy within the West, and Königsberg is represented as the hotbed of most negative features.

However, negative information about the history of the region has been available for a short time. Shortly after the beginning of the Kaliningrad resettlement, any mentions about East Prussia and people who inhabited it were erased from the printed historical materials. All mentions about Germany were removed from print media and publications. Phrases such as «on land reclaimed from the Germans» or «restore factory» were undesirable, because it is impossible to restore something that does not exist. It seems to be created anew, which means that the first Kaliningradians became «pioneers» of the new region.

Another important aspect of perception has been associated with the war. Immigrants is often seen a region as a trophy. On the one hand, the trophy can be seen as a gift that is easy to obtain and thus easy to lose. On the other, if take in account material and human losses incurred by the Soviet Union during World War II, the trophy has acquired a symbolic value. These two features led to perception of new habitat as an area filled with the symbolism of the official ideology. However, it was the interim habitat. Nobody knew how long would continue this interim phase: neither ordinary people, nor regional party authorities.

Under these circumstances, the construction of the collective memory of new residents becomes an important part of the official Soviet propaganda. The core element of the official discourse — which was the basis of this propaganda — is World War II as an initial point of reference to the history of the region. The long history of this area was deliberately suppressed. Artefacts of the past were destroyed, or simply not recovered.

It should be noted that this ideological politics was only partly successful. New residents — who found themselves surrounded by an alien cultural landscape — were forced to interact with material manifestations (artefacts): it was simply inevitable. Ideologues and representatives of the party apparatus themselves interacted with these material manifestations. Their interaction was understandably even closer than interaction of ordinary Soviet citizens.

Interest to the cultural and historical heritage of the past existed among professional historians and researchers, as well as among a range of local history enthusiasts who have always been. Their interest was permissible, but only within certain limits: for example, the study of ethnic or historical ties between East Prussia and Russia; search of lost Amber Room; but it is obvious that they have acquired knowledge extended far beyond that limits. In archives of party’s authorities were accumulated a lot of rare sources, which were analysed by party officials. Information about sources by word-of-mouth mechanism was passed to ordinary people.

Relation to the heritage of the past was inconsistent. On the one hand, dislike and nihilism that based on fabrications of propaganda; on the other, thrill and interest to something incomprehensible and unknown. It feels like you experience the mystery that you want, but at the same time, you are afraid to know. Therefore, the person has lost him/herself how better to proceed.

2.3.4. «Suitcase mood’

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