Thursday, August 9, 2018

Growth of Separatism in Kaliningrad has Left Russian ‘Patriots’ There ‘in Position of Illegals,’ The Latter Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 8 – A self-described Russian patriotic group, the Academy of Geopolitical Problems that is led by retired Russian general Leonid Ivashov, says that Western promotion of separatist sentiment in Kaliningrad had succeeded in penetrating the regional government there and left loyal Russian citizens “in the position of illegals.”

            At a meeting in Kaliningrad last week, activists of the organization said that the West’s policy of promoting a gradual re-identification of the exclave as Koenigsberg has gained important footholds not only among intellectuals but also among senior officials in the regional government.

            To counter that, the group calls for a wholesale purge of the regional government, the universities, and cultural institutions lest Moscow soon find itself completely on the defensive there as do already many Russian “patriots” (

            The Academy of Geopolitical Problems has already convinced the governor of Kaliningrad that he faces a serious problem in this regard, and Anton Alikhanov not only spoke to the group but has begun to remove some cultural figures. But other speakers said that while this was a positive development, it wasn’t enough, especially now.

            The meeting adopted a resolution which declared that with increasing frequency, Germany and the West since the 1980s have been promoting a strategy of “the evolutionary detachment” of Kaliningrad from Russia, first suggesting Kaliningrad is special, then that it is Koenigsberg, and finally that it is “not Russia” (

            The resolution said that separatists of this kind now dominate the local universities, the cultural ministry, and much of the media, something that has been possible because Russia’s opponents have not made any dramatic moves but rather proceeded step by step below the radar screen of the central authorities.

            There are now enough people in key positions a; s a result of what the group calls “negative cadres selection” that they are in a position to promote more of their like up the latter; and it warned that unless Moscow takes dramatic action soon, Kaliningrad will be lost to Russia and with it much of Russia’s influence in the northeastern quadrant of the country.

            On the one hand, such declarations are far from unprecedented and reflect a way of attracting attention to groups like Ivashov’s Academy of Geopolitical Problems. But on the other hand, they may lead to the kind of purge that “Russian patriots” want, a testament to the growing influence less of the West than of anger at Moscow that has neglected the region.

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