Augusto Manzanal Ciancaglini
Russia officially absorbs another part of Ukraine just as the Ukrainians consummate their forceful counter-attack, thanks in large part to the power of the US HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System). At the same time, suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea continues to separate Russia from Europe, with Kaliningrad an increasingly lonely privileged witness.
In 1255 the Teutonic Knights founded Königsberg and in 1946 it was renamed Kaliningrad by the Soviets. The new name is in honour of Mikhail Kalinin, an important member of the Politburo of the Communist Party and a loyal acolyte of Iosif Stalin, so much so that he was one of the few survivors of his purges.
The annexation to the Soviet Union after the end of World War II found its cause in the search for ice-free harbours in winter and thus became one of the main Soviet naval bases in the Baltic Sea.
Today, with the invasion of Ukraine and the potential entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, this isolated slice of Russia becomes relevant as it is increasingly surrounded and its stationed nuclear missiles could reach major European capitals.
The recent Lithuanian blockade of Russian goods transit has revived the idea of Russian annexation of the Suwałki corridor, which connects Belarus with Kaliningrad along the Lithuanian-Polish border. In this way, Moscow would geographically isolate the Baltic states from other NATO members while securing passage through its Belarusian satellite to its enclave.
This would trigger NATO’s Article 5, which commits NATO members to assist each other in case one of them is attacked. Thus, the Baltic Sea will inevitably become more and more a NATO lake.
This brief overview of the history of the Kaliningrad Oblast and its secluded present comes to the memory of its capital’s most illustrious son, who was confined there all his long life: Immanuel Kant, in his political work On Perpetual Peace, developed a series of introductory articles that say a lot about the reality of his hometown in terms of friction, external interference, mutual trust between states or the presence of standing armies.
Thus, Kant’s birthplace not only represents a contradiction to his thought, but goes beyond that to become a symptom of something greater than ingratitude; Moscow has maintained this eponym for 76 years, exalting a henchman of Stalin over one of history’s greatest philosophers. In the midst of Germanic idealism, whether territorially or politically russified, it is realistic to illuminate this evidence using foreign weapons: Kantpolis is declared inaugurated.
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