Kaliningrad Before and After

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Do you know a German philosopher Immanuel Kant? He left in easternmost part of Germany in the city called Konigsberg. Today this city is not called Konigsberg any more, it is Kaliningrad now, the most westernmost city of Russia and the things so are already for 60 years. After the WW2 this region came under the Soviet rule, together with so-much-discussed Estonia and other Baltic Countries. These countries are now independent, cutting the only on-ground roads and railroads leading to Kaliningrad, so now the city and the area around it is fully cut off from the Russian mainland but still stays the part of Russian Federation even it is separated so much from it. You can see Kaliningrad as a leftmost red dot on this map of Western Russia.

Here we have 23 pairs of photos of Kaliningrad from kng750.kanet.ru showing the city before the Russian rule and World War 2 in distant 1939 and nowadays, year 2005. You can make your own conclusions on how the WW2 affected the city, and how Russian rule affected it too.

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66 thoughts on “Kaliningrad Before and After”

  1. Oh, comon! Konigsberg was almost totally destroyed by air attack. It is pity that Soviet Union had not annexed more territory of Germany. Germany started war that cost the lives of 100 millions of Europeans.

    • Dear Sarah Abranov, please remember that Germany AND Soviet Union started the second world war by attacking to Poland. Germany attacked 1.9.1939 and Soviet Union two weeks later. Poland, as well as the Baltic countries and Finland were divided by the two dictators, Mr. Hitler and Mr. Stalin (Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact). Only Finland succeeded to keep its independence, but the price of Winter War was high. Best regards Harri

        • Dear Sarah, thank you for your reply. As far as I understood it was a guestion about the destroy of Konigsberg during the second world war. And in this connection you mentioned that Germany started the war. That is only a partial truth. The war started when the dictators of Germany and the Soviet Union made an agreement to divide the eastern part of the Europe. According to this agreement Germany got the western part of Poland and the Soviet Union got the eastern part of Poland, the Baltic countries and Finland. Unfortunately the unhappy conquests of the Soviet Union after the war has a reflection even to our days. I refer to the news of removal of a statue in Estonia. I am sure that it is hard to understand for Russians that Estonians do not want to keep a statue of the occupier in the middle of Tallinn. For Estonian people the statue is a synonym with occupier/killer/torturer/expeller.

          Please do not understand me wrong. The people of the Soviet Union suffered heavily during the second world war and Germany made a lot of war crimes.

          Of course we can also discuss about wars made hundreds of years ago but my knowledge about these wars is not so good.

          • Dear Harri,
            the true is The Monument was placed just in front of the Estonian athorities, and how could the estonian nazzi goverment put up with sovie monument?
            I’m sorry that russian sodiers gave their lives for nothing…
            It’s just a provacation…teasing…
            Dirty political game ..someone wants a cold war again so badly

            • Dear Sclange,
              I am sorry my English is not best possible, but I did not understand the message copied under:
              the true is The Monument was placed just in front of the Estonian athorities, and how could the estonian nazzi goverment put up with sovie monument?
              Could you please clarify?

                • No no, I mean that the message on the whole sentence did not open to me. Could you please tell the message in other words?

                  • the monument used to stand in front of the building of estonian goverment(Tynismyage squere).
                    so it was like a turture for the nationalist leader of Estonia to see the soviet soldier through the window

                    • Now I understand your message. I try to answer: We must notify that the bronze soldier carries messages from two dictatorships: dictatorship from national socialist country and dictatorship from socialista country. These dictatorships are rather similiar, except that anothet lost the WWII and the other was part of the Allied Forces. For Russians the bronze soldier symbolizes defeat of nazi barbarism but for Estonian people it praises a triumphal procession of communistic barbarism. Russian people have to remember that for Estonian people the bronze soldier is the same soldier who came without invitation and occupied Estonia after the Molotov – Ribbentropp pact and the consent of nazi Hitler (1940). I am afraid that it is asked too much that Estonians should love a statue of the occupier of the country.
                      By the way. I saw a couple of days a go a short interview on Finnish TV given by a Russian citizen. She said that during the same days the bronze soldier was moved to a military cemetery of Tallinn, the Russian authorities moved a statue and remains of six Red Army soldiers of WWII from the village near Moscow. Two of the soldiers were pilots. The reason for transfer was a higway under construction. The remains of the soldiers were moved to a local mortuary, from where the remains vanished.
                      Respect for dead people seems depend on where they have been buried. In the light of western eyes it seems that the bronze statue serves also the internal policy of Russia.
                      In the end I must also emphasize that we are speaking only one statue and less than fifteen graves. I give a good example: When the Red Army attacked to Finland and occupied the Karelian Isthmus the purpose of the Soviet Union was inter alia to destroy the history of the Karelia. Places were renamed and so on. What was specially barbarian was the destruction of Finnish military and civil cemeteries. Cemeteries were transferred to grass and football fields, parking areas etc. In one military cemetery the destruction was specially barbaric. All the soil, including remains of dead, were transferred to dumping area. All what was left over the cemetery was two meters deep pit.

      • Delirium. Check, please
        Siehe z.B. Gerd R. Ueberschär, Lev A. Bezymenskij (Hrsg.) Der deutsche Angriff auf die Sowjetunion 1941. Die Kontroverse um die Präventivkriegsthese. – Besprechung: von Joachim Hösler in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas Bd. 47 (1999) 602-­603

        • Preventive war or not, the fact remains that the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact divided Eastern Europe in a nazi and a Soviet sphere of influence, that the USSR and Germany divided Poland, and after that worked very closely together until june 1941 – delivery of essential war supplies (oil, grain) to Germany, exchange of prisoners… You don’t need to go over the whole controversial discussion about who planned to invade who to conclude that, while Germany was at war with Great-Britain and France, while Germany attacked Western Europe, while Germany was fightin in Northern Africa, the USSR was working together with Germany. And that gives the USSR a certain responsibility in starting World War II. And you don’t have to come up with an early 17th century Polish invasion as a lame excuse for that.

      • Dear Harri,

        Formally, the WWII started on 01 Sep 39. although as the matter of fact some earlier… at least, when GB and France gave Czechoslovakia away to Hitler, having closed their eyes to the existence of the mutual-aid treaty between them.

        • Dear Elkman,
          many things happened in the thirties about which many European countries cannot be proud of. When reading history it is evident that bigger nations did what they wanted to do and smaller did what they could do. Case Czechoslovakia is a good example of that. GB, France and Germany made an agreement according to which the whole country vanished in the end! The Soviet Union and Germany divided the Baltic Countries, Poland and Finland and these countries could only notify that half-secred agreement.

          But I am afraid that only a little has been changed from those days. If “bad days” sometimes come again small countries are the ones which are in troubles first. Btw it is interesting to notice that rearmament has started again in Europe. Russia is increasing its military power, after some years monies spent to rearmament will exceed the value of the combined defence budgets of the EU countries. Russians are e.g. building 6-8 new submarines to the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea is a “mare nostrum” of the European Union, in other words it is a sea of peace. The countries in western Europe are doing the opposite, they are diminishing their armies.

          • Dear Harri,
            In esence you are right. However, the situations about prewar Poland on one side and prewar Baltic States and Finland on the other side are different. Poland – yes, Soviets invaded to annex Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine that used to be a part of Russian Empire before October Revolution and had been conquered by Poland during troublous times in Russia.
            Re Baltic States… We should not forget about the application for help in providing external securitiy and respective treaties (at least, with Estonia and Latvia) according to which certain quota of soviet forces was allowed to be housed in those countries.
            Finland. Before Winter War there were long negotiations between USSR and Finland to the extent that USSR needed 2 or 3 harbours to allocate its naval bases (here, please, do not forget again about pre-revolution frontier of Russia). No agreement was achieved because Finish governmant did not want to meet half-way. That time it was (again) the matter of external security. The history shown it was a right decision, although a cruel one. If there was no Winter War, finish forces would have started their aggresion in 1941 from beloostrov, which was/still is only 30 km northward from Leningrad. One may say: “there was Soviet aggression in 1939, thus in 1941 it was just a “feedback” from Finland”… but… reading the history of relationship between Hitler’s Germany and Finland I do not believe that.

            • Dear Elkman,
              I am afraid that our dialogue is useless. Our starting points are so different. As far as I understand international treaties, which include e.g. mutual understanding of the borders between countries, are meant permanent. It means that after signing a party of a treaty cannot demand harbours, towns or piece of lands from its neighbours by justifying its behaviour with “external security”.

              The Winter War started when Stalin and Hitler had found a mutual understanding about dividing themselves inter alia Poland, the Baltic Countries and Finland. Finland did not want to give away its independency, that´s why the Winter War started. Only black propaganda can tell that a country with 4 million people would attact against a country with appr. 180 million people. As we know there were no relationships between Finland and Germany in 1939. Instead of that there was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany. Germany followed the pact strictly and did not allow its citizens to help Finland during the Winter War. E.g. German factories were not allowed to sell any material to Finland.

              The Soviet Union stopped its aggression against Finland on 13.3.1940. Stalin was afraid of that France and the Great Britain would help Finland by sending army troops to fight for Finland. It is assumed that part of France-GB forces had marched to secure Swedish iron ore mines. That would have caused Germany to attact to Sweden; with the help of Soviet Union because, as stated above, they were allies at that time. The result of all that would have been the war between the Soviet Union & Germany on the one side and France & GB & the United States (later) on the other sides. Dictators against western democracies.

              Well, as stated the Soviet Union stopped its attact against Finland. The final result of the Winter War and cession of Finnish territories was that Finland started desperately seek allies against the Soviet Union. Finns were afraid of new aggressions from east. The fear was not groundless, Molotov asked in August (if I remember right) 1940 from Hitler if the Red Army could finish its work in Finland. Hitler´s answer was (luckily to the Finns) that the war between the Soviet Union and Finland would be a burden to the relations between Germany and the Soviet Union.

              After the summer 1940 the relations between Finland and Germany became better. The Finns were happy about that because Germany was the only country which could help Finland against the Red Army. France was collapsed in spring 1940 and the battle of Britain was going on. The United States was neutral. In those days Finland had to choose between plague and cholera.

              When Germany attacked to the Soviet Union the Red Army started to bomb Finnish towns. The Continuation War started and Finns saw an opportunity to take back Finnish territories, including inter alia Viipuri town, which was the second important town in Finland in those days. It was really a beautiful town. Unfortunately those territories were lost again in 1944.

              I personally hope that Russia would some day give back territories the Soviet Union took from Finland. I am sure that as a part of Finland Viipuri town would rise from its misery and become an important trade centre between Finland and Russia, especially Sankt Petersburg area.

                • I am very sad to read that Russians are still/again believing in utter propaganda.

                  For all sane people it is clear what happened in Mainila. Do you honeslty believe Finland would have attacked Soviet Union alone in 1939, without any allies!!! You must be kidding me!!!!!!!!! 🙂

                  Events in 1941 are less clear, but what is clear is that Finland would have had a big incentive to take back its territories.

                  Finland stopped to its old borders in Carelian Isthmus near Leningrad 1941. It crossed the border in Eastern Carelia. On the other hand, if Russia could have continued, it would have taken the whole country if it could in 1939 and again in 1944. Marshal Mannerheim had sympathy for Leningrad because of personal reasons.

        • The reality is that WWII began after WWI in Trianon, and Versailles, France.
          Of French pressure, the U.S. and Britain have been approved a peace in Europe, after which the road has led straight to WWII.

  2. Soviet Union should have invaded all Eurpe, including Spain (so we would have got a nazi-friend/fascist dictator from 1939 to 1975) and have annexed all republics to the USSR, this way, nowadays the whole world would be communist.

      • shut uuuuuuup please..

        no country in the world has ever had a cummunism regime.
        They were socialistic…you can achive communism bij literally read karl marx’s theory.None of te country’s could achive his theory.

        • Before using any of the conventional terms, I would suggest to familiarize with their definitions. This would give you a good start:


          You won’t believe how little you know about the subject.

          • And who says that Russia didn’t proof that communism is a good thing??

            This is my point of view:
            If a country is poor…then communism is the best thing to happen fot that country.All people have work…education sports and healthcare is free.For example in some African country’s there’s maybe 0,001% of the population that has ALL the money…while the other 99,999% cant’s get food clean water education and healthcare.

            On the other side…if a poor country has devolped istself with enough middle class population..then i think capitalism is the best thing for the country.

            Back to Russia: Before the revoltion Russia was one of the poorest and underdeveloped country’s in the world.
            After the revoltion BOOOOOM!!! USSR=supermarcy
            And now it has devoleped itself and the economy can grow bigger with the capitalistic system.

            Thats my opinion.

        • Darek so you suppose a capitalistic revolution for Russia was a better option after WW1? I really don’t think so.

  3. I visited this “4th Baltic republic” (That´s how Kaliningrad people like to call themselves) two years ago and I liked the place a lot. I have to say that I was expecting really multiproblematic place, but the area was more or less like any eastern european country. And it was so clean compared to “continental Russia”! Actually it was the british airforces, not soviet ones which bombarded and destroyded the old city, Kant-cathedral and the castle. Anyhow place worth visiting.

        • Not Slavic (like Russians, Polish etc.) but Baltic like Lithuanians and Latvians. But yes, they were conquered by the Teutonic Knights (a German order) in the middle ages, and the later “Prussian Empire” was German.

  4. A report filed by one Karl Potrek of Königsberg states, in part:

    “… down the road stood a cart, to which four naked women were nailed through their heads in a cruciform position. … parallel to the road stood a barn, and to each of its two doors a naked woman was nailed through the hands in a crucified posture. In the dwellings we found a total of 72 women … children and one old man … all dead. … some babies had their heads bashed in.”

  5. Sorry to be a spoil-sport, but Kaliningrad poses one of the most critical environmental catastrophes incoming. The citizens are advised not to drink tap water, and the reason is there is NO functional water treatment plant existing.

    There has been a project since 1997 in co-operation with a Swedish company SWECO to build a new water treatment plant, but for some mysterious reason, nothing, absolutely nothing valuable have been achieved till today.

    All the filth flows straight into Baltic Sea, the seabed is virtually dead in area reaching out 3 km:s (2 miles) from the shore.

    Shame shame shame.

    • Yes, they’re destroying the Baltic Sea both there and at St. Petersburg. The biggest shame is that they’re not the only ones who will suffer because of it, their portion of the coast is very small.

  6. Well, what can I say looking at the pictures? Today Kaliningrad, on my vew, is more colorful, compared to all that black and white Koenigsberg. Some old building are lost to the war. As I learned from this page that was British air raids that destryed them. Of course Russians could have that done too. Simply the British were firster.
    Well, it was German territory of course. But Russians took it as a troffey. The Allies agreed. The finder the keeper. It could be not a bad idea to give the territory back to Germans. Fair, at least. But it would create the precedent of changing borders in postwar Europe. Koenigsberg is only the smaller part of the former Eastern Prussia. The Poles got the bigger chunk of it. So they would have to give it back to the Germans too, together with their today’s western lands (Breslau, Shtetsin, Silesia). And Poles would demand their former lands from the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuinia back. Too much of hassles.
    For Russia it is a better idea to keep the region in Russian possesion. Russia needs more of a the Baltic coast than just Sanct-Petersburg. The Gulf of Finland is too narrow and controlled by Estonia and Finland. Russian fleet can be easily locked in “the bottle”. Kaliningrad is a good place to deploy air forces, nukes and missles. Espesially now, when Poland and the Baltic states entered NATO.

  7. heh deporting the people to Siberia or scaring them away, then bring in Russian colonists to inhabit the land. This is a big injustice done and Russia is no better then nazi Germany. This applies to Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and all other ex USSR countries. There would be no problem there today if Russian colonists weren’t brought in to Russify and subjugate the local population. You call them fascists because they are oppressing people that weren’t suppose to be there in the first place. Russians don’t belong in Europe, they have cold hearts and they belong in frozen Russia. Everywhere they go they cause trouble. They call Estonians fascists, when they are killing African students in the streets, deport Georgians, ban different foreign products to make a political statement and ban people from ex-USSR countries from selling vegetables in markets.

    • =)
      you’re the victum of mass media
      do you have your own oppinion?
      Do you know anything about Russia????
      Estonia as many others little countries lives for EU money.
      Who are these countries without BIG BROTHER???
      10% of Estonian GDP comes from Russia.
      Do you know what these 10 % for estonian bloated economics mean????
      Let’s see

      Please keep silent if you’re ignoramus

  8. I liked your post, Pronin
    The idea to show pictures of a great German-style city turned into Soviet/then Russian style is great.
    I knew that Kaliningrad was going bad, specially due to the lack of infrastructure and connection to Russia. But nice to know things are now going better.

    I hope English Russia can show us more posts like that.

    Example: Kazakstan beforesoviet, during soviet and after soviet times. Including abandoned baikonur

    • Thanks for appresiation, Poltava.
      I foung the same material in English.

      Yea… Kazakhstan…
      Why did you pick Kazakhstan? Have any connection?
      Poltava, as far as I know, is a little bit in another place.
      I was born in Alma-Ata, and had been living there for 40 years. (Now in the USA).
      Lots of changes there too.

      • No, any connection. Just an example.
        Because Kazakstan was very very influenced by soviet policies and then was left behind, just like other republics.

        Nothing to do with Poltava.

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  10. this entire site is fascinating, im very drawn to the things here, although i cant articulate why. this particular section reminds me of what it looks like here in detroit. the beautiful crumbling buildings half torn down, or torn down and left to rot or a weedy parking lot and concrete barriers put up in the place of them, yet other buildingss are perfectly preserved and/or revered. i wonder, do russian folks feel at home when they drive around detroit proper? and im not being flip

  11. To FireFox and all other brainwashed knuckleheads and pro-Bush fascists out there: the Potrek’s report on the so-called “Nemmersdorf massacre” and all other “accounts of the Russian atrocities” in East Prussia – where are eye-witness accounts, where are photographs, where are authenticated military operative reports? There is nothing out there to confirm that it is the Russians who did it. That is precisely why most of the historians worldwide (!) now agree that it was orchestrated by Goebbels’s in an attempt to boost the morale and make the East Prussian hold the frontline till the last one of them drops dead. (See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemmersdorf_massacre).
    I cite, “After 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union, new sources became available and the dominating view among scholars became that most of the massacre was actually set up under the command of Goebbels, in an attempt to stir up civil resistance before the advancing Red Army.”
    One platoon of Nazi Fallschirmjaegers – and done deal. Which explains why there are no documents to confirm these “Russian atrocities” in Prussia and plenty of documents to put any such claims in serious doubt. As to the German atrocities against Slavs, Gypsies and Jews on the Soviet territory – there is no shortage of documents confirming these, including even “war souvenirs” – keepsake photos taken by Nazi douchebags next to their victims – hung, burning or shot – see, for example:

    If you do not know squat about history and have never been to Russia – shut the fudge up! Yakov Sannikov

  12. The main destruction was occurred by British aircraft.
    It very beautiful and growing city at now.

    PS I living in Kaliningrad 🙂

  13. There was a Bismarck tower just outside Konigsberg, on the Galtgarben, the highest point on the Sambian peninsula. It was built in 1906 and destroyed by German troops sometime in January 1945 as the Russians approached .


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