Thursday, June 24, 2021

Kaliningrad Elites Selling Out Russia for German Money, Shulgin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 20 – The political elite of Kaliningrad, Vladimir Shulgin says, is turning a blind eye to Berlin’s promotion of German culture in the former East Prussia in large part because they see this Germanization not as a security threat to Russia but rather because they view it as an opportunity to make money from German tourists.

            Such a short-signed approach, the Kaliningrad historian who has frequently been at odds with officials in the region to the point of losing his academic position there, is undermining Russia and opening the way for NATO to develop precisely the kind of attitudes among the region’s residents the Western alliance can exploit (

            In a 6400-word diatribe against local elites on the Russian nationalist APN portal, Shulgin argues that local Russians make money by selling German kitsch to Germans and probably to others, utterly oblivious to the messages iron crosses or German historical references like license holders which say Koenigsberg.

            Some Russians in Kaliningrad dismiss this as “secondary Germanization” of the region, failing to see that it is part of a German and NATO plan to detach the region from Moscow. In fact, Shulgin insists, what is taking place because of the greed of local officials unconcerned about their country is “de-Russification and re-Germanization.”

            “Our local official circles refuse to see any problem,” Shulgin says. “For them, there is ‘no Germanization.’”  But anyone who looks at the academic programs of the local university or the shops and restaurants in the city will draw the opposite conclusion. They will see that Berlin and NATO are doing everything possible to promote “the German world” against Russia.

            Soon, the Russian nationalist activist says, the region will culturally and then politically reach “’the point of no return,’” arguing that Moscow must take action since the officials on the scene are unwilling to do anything to stop this plague.

            Such diatribes about various issues are an almost daily occurrence on the Russian media. But this one is worthy of note for at least two reasons. On the one hand, it suggests that some in Moscow are growing concerned about German cultural influence in Kaliningrad, especially because that has been linked to supposed NATO plans to delink the oblast from Russia.

            And on the other, it shows that Shulgin and others who feel as he does have concluded that their time has come and that by providing such a long laundry list of charges against the oblast leadership, they may finally be able to oust those who have adopted a live-and-let-live approach and pursue a more radical and thorough-going Russification of the region.


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