It’s a European-leaning city cut off from Russia – but are recent moves to focus on Kaliningrad’s Prussian past a step too far for the Kremlin?
When relations between Moscow and the west plummeted in 2014 over Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea, pro-Kremlin media went into overdrive. They portrayed European countries as morally depraved, harbouring a visceral hatred of Russians. The foreign ministry warned travellers abroad against the risk of being “seized” by vengeful western intelligence agencies.
For residents of Russia’s vast heartland – the overwhelming majority of whom have never travelled to Europe – it was a potent and powerful propaganda campaign. Anti-European sentiment rocketed to its highest level since the cold war (the first one, that is).