Are inhabitants of the Kaliningrad Oblast “European Russians”? Is the region a different Russia, being influenced more by Polish food, German highways and Spanish beaches than by Russian empty spaces, traditional boots and cuisine? How has the identity of almost a million people living in the westernmost part of Russia been shaped since the collapse of the Soviet Union?
Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast is a region that usually appears in the media in the context of Russia's tense relations with the European Union and the NATO. It is presented as an "aircraft carrier", as well as "a great military base of Russia”. Rarely can one hear or read about the everyday life in the region, the developmental challenges it faces and the values and symbols which are important to ordinary Kaliningraders. In particular, the question of identity changes among the region’s populations remains widely unknown both in Poland and in wider Europe.
May 5, 2017 - Miłosz Zieliński