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Kaliningrad Oblast

Kaliningrad Oblast (Russian: Калининградская область - Kaliningradskaya Oblast) is a small administrative district (see oblast) of Russia on the Baltic coast, with no land connection to the rest of Russia. It is the westernmost parcel of land belonging to Russia. Its largest city is Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg), which has considerable historical significance.

Table of contents
1 Administration
2 History
3 External links


Main articles: List of cities of Kaliningrad Oblast

The territory also includes the following towns (old names in italics):


Before 1945, what is now Kaliningrad Oblast made up the northern part of East Prussia from the Baltic Sea to the east up to Lithuania and north of today's Poland. In 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin expressed his opinion that the oblast should be given to Poland (as was planned at the Yalta Conference in 1945 - originally the Germans were to keep Stettin while the Poles were to get Königsberg). However, when Poland asked for NATO accession, the offer was dropped. In 2004 the oblast will become an enclave in another sense, being surrounded by members of the European Union.

The area around the city of Kaliningrad was completely sealed off for fifty years because the Soviet Union had built huge military installations there and used the harbor as a year round port--it was one of the few Soviet ports on the Baltic which was operable in winter-time. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, the enormousness of the installations and the sheer magnitude of the environmental destruction has been exposed.

In the days before the Iron Curtain came down, US television showed news reports from the Soviet Union. These reporters filmed the vast acres of land filled with military equipment around the harbor of Kaliningrad. They showed the train depot and the dozens of trains that were sitting there, idled for weeks or months, filled with materials, all spoiled. It was a scene of earlier massive Soviet Union military build-up and now the scene of total massive breakdown. These surrealistic visions stand in stark contrast to the vanished city of Königsberg, the city of Immanuel Kant and the city of kings. As the Russian reporters intended, this showed the real state of the Soviet Union, at that time by the CIA still portrayed as a mighty enemy of the USA.

The contamination of the soil by military occupation is another matter. In the case of the Soviet Union military occupation of the other part of Germany, the German Democratic Republic GDR, the costs of environmental cleanup sofar run into many billions of DM or dollars. Similar environmental cleanup is necessary around Kaliningrad.

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