The resolution of the Potsdam Conference on Kaliningrad status could be reviewed by the parties involved in that conference, such as Great Britain and the USA
By taking over Crimea and part of the Eastern Ukraine, Russia violates International Agreement on Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
This act gives reason to recall that in 1945, at the Potsdam Conference, the Kaliningrad Region (oblast) was given to Russia in somewhat illegitimate way.
At the dusk of the World War II, when the allies began to redraw the map of the world, Marshal Stalin declared that Soviet Union, which suffered greatest losses, is in need of a new port in Eastern Prussia – i.e., Königsberg with all its surroundings.
The Conference began on July 17 of 1945. Franklin Roosevelt, who died in April, was succeeded by Harry S. Truman as a new head of the USA government.
Winston Churchill was the first to represent British Government; however, after his party lost the election, he was replaced by a new Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
Churchill managed to be photographed with Stalin and Truman, but Clement Attlee has put the final signature of the agreement of the conference. Thus, the faith of Königsberg was not decided by the Supreme Commanders of the allies in the fight against Hitler’s Coalition, but by newly appointed leaders of USA & Great Britain, where Stalin, as the only such commander left, had an obvious advantage.
As a result, Stalin managed to enforce his own view on how Eastern Prussia should be divided. Also, at that time, United States & Great Britain were preoccupied with plans on defeating Japan.
Two days prior the Potsdam Conference, they have successfully tested the first atomic bomb.
Four days after the Conference, on August 6 of 1945 Hiroshima was destroyed, and so was Nagasaki soon after. Thus, USA & Great Britain had little interest in some patch of land somewhere in Eastern Europe. As a result, Eastern Prussia was divided between Poland & USSR.
Out of 370,000 German residents that lived in Königsberg before the war, only 20,000 remained there during the transfer under USSR.
By the year of 1947, nearly all of them were departed to Germany. Just a handful of specialists were kept to help in rebuilding factories, all of them were denied the Soviet citizenship and also were departed to Germany at the end of their labor and were replaced mainly by the residents from RSFSR.
On July 9 of 1946, Stalin signed resolution # 15-22, under which the entire families of farmers were moved into the region by masses.
The document read to relocate 12,000 families of farmers from 27 regions and autonomic republics of RSFSR 7 also from Belorussia.
In July of 1946, after the death of Michael Kalinin, Königsberg was renamed in his honor and became Kaliningrad.
Just a reminder, during the February Revolution of 1917, Kalinin was in charge of disarmament of the guards and seizure of the Finland’s Railway Station.
As the result of this coup, Nicholas II has renounced his rule. Later on, Kalinin took on active role in preparing and execution of the October Revolution.
Basically, he served as one of the main tools in destruction of Russian Empire. In his honor, was also named one of the hospitals in Samara, where he supposedly helped in overcoming the outcome of Famine in Povolzhie.
However, in 2015 Samara has abandoned the name of Kalinin and the hospital was renamed in honor of formal head doctor Vladimir Seredavin.
However, when the question rises about renaming the city of Kaliningrad, it meets resistance of the entire pro-Kremlin movement.
Moscow fears, that returning the city its original name will empower the separatist moods in the region and by far that fear is not without basis.
Local elite is working hard in order to display their European origin in everything they do, highlighting the gap between the region and the rest of Russia.
Formal Cinema Theater “Russia” has turned into a commercial center “Europe”. Local University runs “European Days”, “Day of the British Council”, “EU Movie Festival “.
Russian language is called a “medium language for international relations between Baltic States”. Thus, an identity of Kaliningrad is being formed, different and separate from Russia, with its own culture and mentality.
The resolution of the Potsdam Conference on Kaliningrad status could be reviewed by the parties involved in that conference, such as Great Britain and the USA.
For that to happen, legal and political basis would be enough. What it lacks is political will.
Attempts of the West to remind Russia about Potsdam Resolution, where Russia was only supposed to administrate the Königsberg region and not consider its own territory, could cause a geopolitical crisis.
It is clear that Russia has wrecked the entire system of Territorial Integrity and the Sanctity of Borders formed in 1975. However, should the question of Kaliningrad be risen, that could inflame the discussions about many other territories, ultimately redrawing the borders of the country. Nevertheless, by annexation of Crimea, RF has opened Pandora’s Box, hope remains that peninsula will be returned to the Ukraine, and the relations between the West & the Russia will begin to warm up. Until then, the subject of Kaliningrad/Königsberg will not be touched.
The world is already shaken, it is unlikely that the West would like to fuel the fire.
Video: Freedom to Kaliningrad! (With English subtitles)
Königsberg is the capital of the former German province of East Prussia. As a result of WWII, neither Königsberg nor East Prussia exists anymore.
Nearly incinerated by the RAF in 1944, overrun by the Soviet Red Army in early 1945 – and essentially given by the Allied Forces to the Soviet Union because its dictator Stalin wanted a year-round ice-free harbour – Königsberg was renamed to Kaliningrad after one of Stalin’s henchmen and political puppets, Mikhail Kalinin. Subsequently, the remaining German citizens were expelled and the city’s bombed-out remains repopulated with people from all over the Soviet Union.
The city now called Kaliningrad is located within a small section of Russian territory known as the Oblast or region of Kaliningrad, lying on the coast of the Baltic Sea, disconnected from the main bulk of the Russian land mass by Poland in the south, and by Lithuania to its North and East.
Prior to 1945 Königsberg was the cultural and economic centre in the German province of East Prussia, a region that was then cut off from the main part of Germany by a narrow strip of Polish territory and the city state of Danzig (now the Polish port of Gdansk). It was the dispute over this narrow piece of Polish land that gave Hitler the excuse to invade Poland in 1939, sparking off WWII.
Out of Königsberg’s prewar population of approximately 350,000 Germans 42,000 died during the war while many had fled elsewhere to escape the fighting. Precise numbers are hard to come by, but perhaps as many as 100,000 survived the aerial onslaught of 1944, only to be held as virtual prisoners within their own city by the Red Army while enduring tremendous suffering until they were expelled 500 km westward across Poland to Germany between 1949 and 1950 as part of Stalin’s ethnic cleansing project to remove every ethnic German from former Nazi territory that was now part of the Soviet communist empire. This resulted in the largely hushed over fact that a staggering number of approximately 13 million Germans were to be repatriated to the remaining German territory west of the Neisse river, the new Eastern border of German as agreed to by the Allied Forces at the 1945 Potsdam agreement on policy for the occupation and reconstruction of Germany.
The City of Königsberg is part of history now, its fate largely forgotten if not outright ignored. Yet today, and every year since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, many German expellees originally from that ill-fated city and surrounding area undertake a trek back to their former homeland to look for that which was forever taken from them: their place of birth and the communities they grew up in. These are the things by which most of us are able to define ourselves, e.g., “where are you from?”. Often referred to as “homesickness-tourism”, it finds now mostly aging people or their descendants looking for their cultural and ancestral roots so cruelly ripped out from underneath them after hundreds of years of settlement in East Prussia. Here, the worst kind nostalgia reigns: to find yourself in a present with little or no continuity with the past to latch on to, and putting into question the very memories you have of it and yourself being nurtured by it.
Baltic: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia