Thursday, September 24, 2015

Russian Assembly to Fight ‘Germanization’ of Kaliningrad

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 24 – The Russian Assembly of Kaliningrad has announced plans to begin a campaign against what it says is the already “far-reaching Germanization” of that non-contiguous Russian oblast which, it argues, is designed to lead to the degradation of Russians there and ultimately the separation of the oblast from the Russian Federation.

            (The reference to Germanization, of course, touches on the history of the oblast, which was Germany East Prussia until the end of World War II when the German population was killed or expelled and the land absorbed by the Soviet Union as a trophy territory and renamed Kaliningrad.)

            In a declaration adopted on Monday and posted on the nationalist Rex information agency yesterday, the self-described “public organization” says that it opposes both Germanization and the Westernization of which it is a part in order to prevent the further spread of separatist ideas (

            The group adds that bureaucrats and cultural workers sometimes intentionally and sometimes because of a failure to act are “zombifying” the youth of Kaliningrad and promoting “hatred to Russia and Russians” so that they will accept the notion that “’Kaliningrad is not Russia’” and be ready when “x hour” arrives for a Ukrainian-style “Maidan.””

            In its declaration, the group asserted that “we consider it far from accidental” that some people have put up German flags in various parts of the oblast, actions that have brought harsh legal responses from the authorities. But the crackdown on such things has been insufficient, the Russian Assembly says.

            “With regret, we note that the local authorities have not opposed the ‘net’-based processes of separatist mobilization of public opinion,” the declaration says. “More than that, a large number of leading persons of the region, including the culture minister” are guilty of distracting the people in a “pro-Western” direction.

            The declaration continues: “The leadership of the chief higher educational institution [in the oblast] – Kant Federal University – has become ‘a collective promoter’ of Westernism in humanities studies and in essence has destroyed Russian historical and philosophical education.” Now, it is trying to force students “’to study’ Russophobic literature.”

            The Russian Assembly says that its most important task is to conduct propaganda to convince Russians in Kaliningrad that they are part of the Russian world, and to that end, it wants to create a Center for Russian Culture to give classes, hold conferences, and promote Russian values.

            Russian people in the oblast, the declaration specifies, must not feel themselves isolated from Russians elsewhere and thus “helpless” in the face of the actions of other nationalities like “the Armenians, Belarusians, Jews, Lithuanians, Poles and so on.”

            The Russian Assembly of Kaliningrad pledges to cooperate with the Russian World Foundtion “and with other structures interested in the preservation and strengthening of Russian culture in the Western borderlands of Russia” against a rising tide of “lack of respect and indifference” to Russian values among others.

            “Many Russian people,” the Assembly says, “today have lost hope and faith in the benefits of unity and helping one another. Negative trends in the Russian world can be changed only by decisive actions of those in the Russian movement who really love their fatherland and do not simply imitate patriotism in public.”

            “Without a Russian policy, without a course intended to promote national uniqueness in enlightenment and culture,” the group says, “Russia is condemned to vegetating and degradation. We call on citizens to unite and acting in the name of the patriotic goals proclaimed by the Russian Assembly of Kaliningrad.”

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