Olga Sezneva, University of Amsterdam

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Dec 8, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)



Architecture of Descent: Historical Reconstructions and the Politics of Belonging in
Kaliningrad, the Former Königsberg

Olga Sezneva, University of Amsterdam


The focus of this paper is on the relationship between history, identity and archit
design in
a city

defined by dispossession and displacement.
The former German
Königsberg, today’s Russian Kaliningrad
, was annexed, repopulated and rebuilt during
the post
war Soviet period
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 cast a critical
on this annexation, and problematized the belonging of the city to Russia by territorially
cutting it off.
Using two urban designs

of historicized architecture

that developed recently
in the city,

paper revisits the specific
interface between
ban history and
forms that it takes. The against
grain case of Kaliningrad,

the relationship
between people and the

demands constant
interpretation, points to a distinct role
that made
appear histori
cal architecture sometimes

plays, and demonstrates different
selective and expressive processes that enable it. To make sense of the findings, t
he paper
a new subcategory

within a more general notion “heritage”:

architecture of
. It is especially applicable in

ases of disrupted
urban development and


politics of history, architectu
re and design, urban identity

*For the ease of access, I made available a pre
publication copy. If citing, please refer to this paper as
, O.

Architecture of

Descent: Historical Reconstructions and the Politics of Belonging in
Kaliningrad, the Former Königsberg

Journal of Urban History,


July 2013



The past in Kaliningrad is like hereditary encumbrance: It end
ures in words and
gestures as much as in buildings and the unexpected layout of some streets, while a
defensive reflex lingers in its invocation. Many people will argue that there is not one but
at least two pasts in the city: the post
WWII past that is fi
rmly associated with the Soviet
seizure of the city and its annexation and redevelopment; and

the pre
war German past,
the one of Königsberg. The first is visible in characteristically Soviet, modernist housing
projects: the infamous rows of
the high
rises of Brezhnev’s period, and the
occasional adaptations of pre
war architecture, or a theater, a Palace of Culture, and even
City Hall. The second appears, almost incidentally, in the body of the Königsberg
Cathedral and the burial of Imma
Kant, in the ruins of 17th
and 18th century
fortification and the dotting of low
rise 19th and early 20th centur
town houses across
the city.

The schism

of history, both visible in the urban landscape and audible in the
defensive tenor in urbanites’ tal
k when they address it, are fruits of the same history that
drove nearly five million Germans out of the territories that were transferred to the Soviet
Union and Poland at the end of World War II. German Königsberg and its surroundings
became part of the
Russian Federation, while its remaining 108,000 ethnic Germans were
deported. The city itself was subjected to active de
Germanization: Architectural plans
were devised to completely remodel the city’s built environment and transform it into
something exem
plary Soviet. The pre
war past became the subject of ideological taboo:
Academic research into the period of East Prussia was restricted, and public mentioning
of any sense of previous belonging in the city was censored. In 1991, the Soviet Union


ly and territorially disbanded, and Kaliningrad became territorially isolated from
the rest of Russia. The present rupture in space animated concerns over history and
inflicted a fundamental ambiguity upon the lives of nearly one million people who
ted basic issues of security and ownership of the place.

It was under these circumstances that historicized architecture that deliberately
invoked images of Königsberg gained popularity among the Kaliningrad public and city
building professionals and acqu
ired meaning through notions of ‘heritage’ and ‘tradition’.
This paper is an analysis of two architectural projects: The Fish Village/Lomse and
Luisenwahl. The projects’ designs explicitly draw from the pre
Soviet history of the city
and highlight its fore
ign aspects. Thinking about the projects in conjuncture with the
city’s troubled history, I cannot help but ask: what role do the sense of discontinuity and

in historical and geographic terms

play in these designs? Furthermore, how
do social

of displacement and dispossession relate to them?

Each project asserts its merits by appealing to “tradition” and enhancing the
“European” character of Kaliningrad. At the same time, each reflects upon rights of
possession of the city and remains

accountable to the construction of legitimacy that span
across the distinct historical layers of its architecture. Together, the projects illuminate a
range of adaptive possibilities for historicized architecture, expressed in the enunciation
of political

ties and cultural connections. Individually, distinctions between the projects
shed light on

internal variations in how history is used,

different agencies
behind them.

The case of Kaliningrad conjures up three theoretical issues in one empiric
puzzle: urban restructuring, post
socialist transformations, and
the production of heritage


Its hallmark characteristics

displacement and resettlement

demand a more nuanced
approach than those afforded by the existing literature and emerging throu
gh such
concepts as “culture industr
y”, “architectural spectacle” or “heritage”.
Forces of capitalist

appropriate local history in the process of place
branding, but
so do
forces of political reorganization
. N
ew social demands seem to resist

the evacuation of
meaning and the quality of authenticity

are implied by
most of the analysis
makes the

trope of “heritage”
difficult to apply without modification.
In situations where
buildings and landscapes were not passed on but instead vio
lently repossessed, and no
archaeological site, ancestral remains or revivification of local crafts had the potential for
the inscription of evidence of the long
term presence of the current occupants, people
have no grounds for claiming a legitimate relat
ionship to the past
, or “inheriting” it
Against these odds, professionals and general publics in Kaliningrad labor to own and to
promote their “German heritage”, and Luisenwahl and The Fish Village are only two of
many such productions.

To sort out this
puzzle, I introduce
the notion
architecture of descent

is an
analytical metaphor that simultaneously points to activities of intellectually
conceptualizing and physically organizing one’s collective lineage. By reframing the
focus on buildings and urba
n spaces and integrating them into a complex of objects,
social activities, political structures, and social imaginaries, the architecture of descent
allows for a deeper understanding of the emergence

social significance
of the historiciz
ed architecture, even in the face of

lack of authenticity and

manipulated character.


This paper is a smaller portion of a research project on the history of Königsberg
in Kaliningrad. In the course of a total of fifteen months of fieldwor
k conducted between
1999 and 2001 and several visits to Kaliningrad in 2003, 2005 and 2007, I led six focus
groups, collected 48 unstructured interviews, conducted historical research and attended
various public meetings and events pertaining to city
ing and its history. In my
focus groups, I discussed the city’s past, perceptions of its environment and perspectives
on local and national identities. I controlled for generational difference and migratory
trajectories. In this paper I focus on two archit
ectural projects, which are only specific
instances of a much larger trend; and, through detailed analyses of these examples, I
bring to light the micro
dynamics of place and identity
construction, which would
otherwise disappear from the greater picture.
The data was collected by visiting and
surveying physical sites in which projects were, or were planned to be, constructed by
interviewing architects who were responsible for their design and by reviewing publicly
available data about the projects, their s
ponsorship and their organization. In the paper, I
frequently draw, albeit sometimes implicitly, from the entire body of data that I have
accumulated throughout my research in Kaliningrad.

Difficult Heritage

Sociologists have repeatedly warned us against t
aking historicized architectures
and related preservation and reconstruction efforts at face value. Critical studies of the
commodification of history and the trajectory of its commercialization in contemporary
societies have convincingly located the produ
ction of local “tradition” and “heritage”
within the logics of urban development qua capital circulation. At the same time, critical
heritage studies have tuned their own conceptual tools to reflect on translocal linkages


and dynamics that influence herita
ge development, introducing an analytical approach for
studying the production of local history, heritage and tradition as a process that occurs
through relationships. In the next two sections, I bring critical urban studies and heritage
studies into a dia
logue in an effort to identify points of convergence and propose where
they can become mutually beneficial. Rather than providing the exhaustive reviews of
these literatures, I selectively highlight certain points at which theoretical bridging
appears to b
e most productive.

David C. Harvey recently commented that “heritage has always been with us and
has always been produced by people according to their contemporary concerns and
experiences”, and the focus of social analysis of heritage should not be the ob
ject of, or
the act of, possession but the historically contingent and social

embedded process of
particularly interesting in Kaliningrad

as it reveals the changing a
scription of social
value to different classes of objects and urban structures and results in the constitution of
not only desirable but also “undesirable heritage”.

The latter term is introduced by Sharon

who reflects on places such as the Nazi

Party rally grounds in Nuremberg
and their inscription into cultural memory. The undesirable heritage generates practical
dilemmas: what ought one do

keep, demolish or refurbish

with it? Far from being
simply rejected, however, it presents identity
lding opportunities and serves as a point
of reference for reflexive thinking. It gives rise to a societal process of memory

“Heritageisation”, however, is not a fully ref
lexive, transparent process
. In her
subtle and suggestive study of Harbin’s hi
storical architecture, Yukiko Kogo
demonstrates how the rush to enterprise with history and the marketing of the pre


Revolutionary past in the Chinese city with a colonial past provided material substance in
the objectification of the episodes of history t
hat had been carefully erased from the
nationalist discourse of the former communist government. Kogo draws on Jacques
Derrida’s exploration of inheritance, which by definition contains betrayal. She writes,
“owing to the multiplicity of the past that inhe
ritance embodies, displaying inheritance
could result in an act of disloyalty and denunciation by revealing what is supposed to be

is inherently political and implies the risk of stumbling into some
unwanted knowledge or going against
the political mainstream.

As the scholarly community debates the meanings and modes of heritage
construction, the previously unquestioned agency


is also being
critically reconsidered. The contributions
in the
special issue of
ional Journal
of Heritage Studies
, and Elizabeth Crooke’s paper in particular
, converge on the point
that both “heritage” and “community” are “flexible concepts”, and

[t]heir ambiguity is proved to be no handicap

in fact, that characteristic
may well b
e their strength. Their malleability, twinned with their appeal,
allows the associations to be remade in a myriad of situations. Both the
community concept and the idea of heritage become intertwined with the
lived experience and expression of community

By accounting for the contingencies of lived experiences and the politics of place, these
observations are helpful in expand

the analytical perspective on something that was
previously objectified and taken for granted: the social aggregate called “co
They direct us to the reciprocal and undetermined relationship between heritage and

a relation
ship in which the constitution

of the former often augments the
formation a
nd consolidation of the latter.


Much of sociological literature

warrants a skeptical approach towards historicized
architecture. In his 1941 essay on Veblen, Theodor Adorno underscored the inextricable
connection that design and architecture have with society. Whereas Veblen postulated an
invocation of old feudal mode
s of violence and, as such, a mere anachronism in “pseudo
historical” pillars of the imitation Attic temple or Gothic cathedral, Adorno
profound contemporariness. Modern capitalism, he argued, created a notion of “pastness”
as a source of uniquen
ess in the face of expanding mass production and mass
. Adorno’s reductive approach that equates modernity with
commoditization and links culture to economic production has long been questioned, and
many scholars pointed out that “neither [capi
talism’s] determinations nor its abstractions
. Nevertheless, his critique of historicism, which suggests that it
evacuates meaning from the past, and its impact on individual subjectivity, remains a
powerful inspiration in critical urba
n studies.

Thus, reflecting on the character of urban change in the core
capitalist societies in
the 1980 and1990s, commentators argued that places are increasingly trading in their
distinct or famous histories and developing tourist industries as major s
ources of revenue.
Historical landmarks are objects of commercial exploitation and place boosting following
the rise of the “entrepreneurial city”
. Speculative movements of financial capital
changed the modes of place
making to place
marketing and place
. One
outcome of this has been the proliferation of inauthentic urban spaces. The revitalized
district of Xintiandi in Shanghai, for example, “to Chinese visitors looks foreign and
modern,” and to foreign visitors looks “Chinese and traditional”
. As business
developments crush traditional neighborhoods and displace their residents, their pasts,


dramatized and glorified, are “recycled” by “loft dwellers and historic townhouse

and the media

as “the aesthetic code of a new urban lifesty

Insightful and influential, this perspective tends to obfuscate the symbolic
complexity of historical architecture. To counter this view, consider the polemics in
Germany after its unification, and how they influenced urban development. Even when
w construction plans had became a media spectacle

as they did in Berlin during the

fierce battles among urban professionals betrayed depth beyond image
and real estate development
. Virag Molnar, citing Sewig, Haila and Hyussen, observes
that “The relentless discussions

indicate that the symbolic aspect of urban planning
carry enormous weight”
. Molnar convincingly demonstrates that, in defining the
“European city” in Berlin, the mobilization of culture and “tradition” actually pursued
oals that were in opposition with those that define global urbanism, and ultimately
served to curb the influence of real estate that developed and promoted a neoliberal,
“American” city model.

socialist cities provide a wealth of evidence that counter
s the post
city experience with history. Architectural historical stock in Eastern Europe gained its
value in the late 1980s and 1990s, primarily as a symbolic token of political reformism.
Even earlier, in the post
Stalinist Soviet Union, local

history conveyed a distinct political
allure. As a historian of Russia writes,

a widespread relish of the past [was] a mechanism of a collective search
for origins and identities in which the society engaged during the period
1953 to 1991. As the post
talin debate of the “Thaw” undermined the
persuasiveness of earlier interpretations of history, many groups in Soviet
society sought to legitimize their existence by constructing new historical


Although the search for continuity led to the
selection, accumulation, and
circulation of new data, these were meant to complement rather than revolutionize
existing worldviews”

. Digging for material traces and displaying material evidence
became a matter of “the recovery of traces of national exist
ence, traces lost, forgotten,
censored or falsified”

. Of course, there was a great deal of variation. For example,
Slovak reform intellectuals saw their responsibility as re
building a national community,
while their Czech counterparts, the dissidents, c
onsidered authentic history and memory
to be indispensable for authentic life conduct.

In the early 1990s, “the post

as John Czaplicka et al

call the politically informed removal of Soviet
period sculptures and iconic architecture

augmented the recasting of Polish, Ukrainian,
Czech, and some Russian cities as “European”
. Those cities that did not have a tradition
to boast positively about revalued the Soviet past and incorporated it into their urban

In summary, hist
orical and “historically flavored architecture”, to appropriate the
term of Maurizio Marinelly

not always reducible to the symbolic economy of the
entrepreneurial city. As the examples above show, local histories can also be used to
reposition cities
within a new field of power. In this process, refurbished originals along
with replicas and imitations are put to legitimate use. Conversely, the rich symbolic
significance of such structures does not necessarily protect urban histories from
exploitation f
or economic benefits. Both motivations are real and powerful factors at
play. Together, they create a field of diverging vectors of gravity in which preservationist
practice and architectural design operate. They point to the different ways in which urban
experience is refracted. They both apply to the recent history of Kaliningrad.


Troubles with Descent

In 1992, after the Soviet Union dismembered, the region became a Free Economic
Zone (FEZ). At the time, the act “…was a symbol of a new market
sciousness, although, as it became apparent later, detrimental to the Soviet economic
legacy of the region”
. The earlier stage of economic reforms left Kaliningrad in a
disadvantaged position: in 1995, the decline of industrial output in Kaliningrad was
egistered at 70%, compared to an estimated 50% across Russia. The fishing and canning
industries underwent the most dramatic collapse, in 1990 comprising 42% of all
economic activity in the province and employing 39% of the local labor force. The

spending per capita was the lowest in Kaliningrad among all the cities of the
Western Region of Russia, encouraging illicit and unaccounted business
. At the same time, entrepreneurial activities sloped upward, primarily in the
retail sec
tor. Compared to the rest of Russia, the province enjoyed the highest rate of the
population employed in small businesses, at 36% in 2004, while the median in Russia at
that time was 13%.

The status of FEZ
some organizational and institutional
changes for
the promotion of structural competitiveness of the region by lifting customs


tax provisions with regard to corporate profit tax and corporate property. Nonetheless,
Kaliningrad did not turn into a successful entrepreneurial city. L
ocal administrative
cadres exploited opportunities of the FEZ in their rent
seeking, which dramatically
reduced productivity and did not lead to a collective project of self
reorganization that
would result in a competitive territorial unit
. Throughout th
e 2000s, the Federal
government continuously took more powerful measures to reverse and retract the status


arguing that tax
cuts and simplified customs rules were “crutches” of the local economy,
and direct resource allocations from the federal budget sup
ported the “artificial vitality”
of the local economy

Bumps on the road to liberty notwithstanding, the status of FEZ/SEZ provided the
political and economic conditions for re
evaluating the German legacy in the city. The
regional economic elites openly

promoted Kaliningrad
city and its adjacent coastal
resorts as a tourist destination and

on their distinct pre
war architecture as a tourist
attraction. Forging economic linkages and business partnerships with Germany appeared
a natural choice. In 2
002, Germany, Poland and Lithuania, together with Great Britain
comprised 68% of total foreign investment in the Kaliningrad region, and although
throughout the start of the 21

century the size of German investment ha

been reduced
by half, it remains
. Boasting the “European” and foreign flavor of the city
via its distinct architecture became a strategy of place
branding for many of the local

This promotion of the distinctiveness (
in Russian local parlance),
however, did n
ot go unchecked. A Moscow economist Nataliya Smorodinskaya wrote in
2003: “Moscow still perceives the possibility of stronger German and more generally,
European presence in the region as a threat to its control over this territory”. Local press
y monitored (and continues to do so) German media and on occasion released
translations of German
language publications concerning Kaliningrad. As a rule, each
such publication was followed by op
eds and editorials under headlines, such as, “The
Land of Ka
liningrad is Russian Land”, “Someone Wishes to Reside Here Instead of Us?”
or “To Whom In Fact Belongs This Land?” One private newspaper went as a far as to


directly link the migration of Russian ethnic Germans to Kaliningrad and to associate
their purchas
es of real estate with the preparation of the public for inevitable annexation
of Kaliningrad by Germany. Sociological studies were systematically released as
evidence of the firm identification of the residents of the city as “Russian citizens” and
ing separatist tendencies as close to none
. German state officials repeatedly
denounced any claims over the territory. This makes the recovery of “European heritage”
in Kaliningrad even more dramatic than in Harbin, as it exposes fissures in the official
arrative of resettlement of East Prussia. Living without a history

or at least, without
one of a recognizable value

increasingly appears to Kaliningraders to be an anomaly.

Thinking about the material from Kaliningrad through the prism of “heritage”
thinking against the grain. First, in no sensible way were the city and its infrastructure
“inherited” but
were, instead,
violently repossessed


no historian could
produce convincing evidence that linked the city to ethnic Russians or Slavs be
fore 1945.
Designers, architects and politicians may
refer to

(as they do) what is being built
revival of tradition”, but
whom this tradition belongs to

how it relates

to the current
urban community is open to all kinds of questioning. Second,
World War II and Soviet
demolitions left the city with very little
of what could be considered

which means


in many instances,

“heritage” has to be remade


the case of the

(the Royal Castle),
which was
ed and
revived in its virtual form. Clearly, rhetoric of heritage and
revival of tradition under
these circumstances aims at something other than projections of an identity back on time
immemorial. With the first generation of settlers wh
o are still alive and around, such an


act could not be meaningfully accomplished. How are we to understand, then, the
reclamation of a German legacy in the Russian Kaliningrad?

In his now classic,

The Past is a Foreign Country,

David Lowenthal writes that
we, the contemporaries, dwell on the past not for
how it is similar but for how it differs

from our own lives and mores: “Venerated as a fount of communal identity, cherished as
a precious and endangered resource, yesterday became less and less like today”
. A
contemporary westerner experiences her own past as a foreign countr
, fascinated by

and seeking in them moral lessons. The fascination comes at a cost, however:
“We also preserve …because we are no longer intimate enough with that legacy t
rework it creatively. We admire its relics, but they do not inspire our own acts and


what if one longs to experience the foreign country as one’s own past? What
if the intimacy is not a pre
condition but an outcome of

evolution of the

process? The material from Kaliningrad complicates Lowenthal’s understanding of the
relationship between society and the past. Two architectural designs considered in

paper tell us a peculiar story.
xperiences of post
war displacement


multiple discontinuities that mark

Kaliningrad as a place

produced collective anxiet

concerning the right to belong and the terms of ownership. The initial alienation that
Soviet settlers experienced from the foreign city gave way to

e of place
and led to

rise in awareness about

complex local history. The current sense of
they experienced
in relation to the rest of Russia prompted the city’s public
to turn to the local

as opposed to

scale of

. What was



” before, including the pre
war past and its traces, turned into


a positively valued source of socio
spatial distinction
, the
“different”. Emotional
attachment to the place went hand
hand with the re
vival of the past of
a, literally,
foreign country.

To better address these issues and distinguish the conditions that produce
historicized architecture, I introduce the subcategory
architecture of descent
. It is
intended to compliment the notion of herita
ge by drawing attention to the constitutive
role that certain kinds of

achieve in the organization of continuity. The
extended meaning of the term “architecture” includes the general practice of designing a
structure of any kind

from a building

to a representation of information to constructing
one’s own lineage. “Descent” refers to a background of a person or group, but critically,
it is not inert or neutral: It is imbued with interest and liability, prompting action, making
choices and seizing

advantages. With the semiotics of these individual terms integrated,
architecture of descent brings together the social imaginaries of origins and new
beginnings and the material organization of the city. The term is my attempt to grasp the
unique experie
nce of a place such as Kaliningrad, but also to extend its relevance to many
other places marked by loss, discontinuity and displacement.

Urban Development and the Architecture of Descent

A quiet revolution happened in the realm of public history in Kalin
ingrad as the
Soviet Union disbanded: Kaliningrad was officially named


“historic city”, and a new
Master Plan accounted for the German city
planning legacy. This happened as city
officials and entrepreneurs simultaneously began to argue that the city was

badly in need
of development driven enhancements

a boost of investment, a new identity, and
architecture to accompany
the reforms


In advancing the developmental agenda, regional politicians promoted and drew
heavily on decline imagery, contrasting th
e state of marginalization of the region with its
former reputation as “a center of ‘European history and culture”
, a Hanseatic
commercial center, a place of North European Enlightenment, and, although tarnished by
the inter
war politics, an important cen
ter of modernist culture. For some, history has
become an anchor of “local tradition” and a symbol of autonomy and self
sufficiency; for
others, it has become an entrance into the economic space of contemporary Europe. The
visions of a new beginning

new definitions for the relationship between the
city’s doubles

Königsberg and Kaliningrad:

Last decade brought down the ideological wall, and Kaliningrad was
officially granted the status of ‘historical city’; however, such recognition
was not foll
owed by a change in local architectural and planning practice.
Projects offered by Kaliningrad designers can still be attributed to any
Russian city, and no particular genealogical component can be read in

In the quote above, the architect uses the

term “genealogical component” to refer to a
line, either in the form or the design principle, which can be traced back to the vernacular
architecture. This is a good moment to look into the ways that the meaning of German
period material culture and archi
tecture changed from repossessed property to

The earlier image associated with the annexation of the city and the province in
1945 was that of the “trophy”, a spoil of the defeated fascist German army: It applied
literally to dispossessed pr

factories, houses, furniture; and, metaphorically to
the city as a whole. The official Soviet policies of settlement and distribution directly
encouraged these perceptions: repossessed from Germans land plots, livestock, housing,


clothing and lu
xury, items were offered to those who volunteered to move as a stimulus
package. The settlers’ historical consciousness to a great extent also formed around the
negative perception of Königsberg and its historical role. What for western Europeans
was the e
pic of the Christian mission

the invasion of Prussian tribes by the Teutonic
Order of the Knights of the Cross in 1226

etched the plot of murder, uprooting,
colonial violence and pillaging in the historical imaginary that was promoted by agencies
of m
ass persuasion. The official Russian sympathies went out to the Prussian “pagans.”
Historical justice,
, did not bear much persuasion for the first Soviet settlers

hey were motivated by present needs for material assistance

rebuilding homes,
replenishing lost properties or advancing professional careers rather than by a remote
In m
aking plans for post
war reconstruction,
Soviet government did not consider
restoring the city to its original appearance. Instead, demolitions cleared par
destroyed buildings, and efforts were made to follow the official political line of
historical forgetting and even

plans for

“little Moscow” in the
western frontier city

Different attitudes, characterized by curiosity and ca
re, appeared in the wake of
historical revisionism and social reformism, as discussed by Denis Kozlov. In the late
1960s, Königsberg ruins became an object of discourse that formed a local version of
what Yurchak termed “the parallel official sphere”
. Whi
le the militarized “frontier”
imaginary dominated official representations of the city, urban intelligentsia emphasized
its “
most” characteristics and promoted its roots in “Europe”.

Disturbances and adjustments in previously formed systems of mea

perceptions of history and the methods of the territory’s transfer that followed


after 1991, prompted the process of the public reconstruction of historical continuity
between Königsberg and Kaliningrad. By opening up new exhibition sp
aces that were
dedicated to the history and culture of Königsberg, and by making public documents that
depicted or described its urban vistas, urban groups effectively inserted the virtual body
of the no
existent city into the space of Kaliningrad.
Studying the vanished
lifestyle and its spaces, valuing them as tokens of the “real”

and staging festivals around
the cultures that were no longer there (the most popular being the knights tournaments
and intellectual salons) became parts of the movement
that culminated in the official
celebrations of the city’s 750

anniversary in 2005, which were funded by the Russian
Federal state (a news agency reported more than one billion Russian rubles
for the event). A substantial sum went to

e restoration of the decaying buildings
from the pre
war past. To better understand the logic of change in the historical
perspective, I now turn to two design projects, selected for their
agendas that

intend to offer models of historical contin

Figure 1.

in which

Luisenwahl and

The Fish Village/Lomse would

on the historical map of Konigsberg.


In 2000, the Office of Urban Development commissioned a plan for the
redevelopment of a relatively small area of th
e city that was historically known as
Amalienau. During the housing privatization of the early 1990s, the area transformed into
a prime spot for real estate thanks to
its modest yet well
preserved turn
stock of town
houses, with its architec
ture that was made distinctive by gabled roofs,
terra cotta tile and studio mansards. The houses best met the needs of new elites, yet the
quaint character of the area

its initial attraction

was threatened by the uncontrolled


construction that came al
ong with the growing purchasing power of the city’s new
economic elite. Lacking any real, binding power, the City Planning Office intended to
offer a general

for future urban development.

The work on the project was
commissioned to

group of
Kaliningrad architects. No funding was allocated: Emphasis
was placed on the side of research and recommendation, rather than on the actual
implementation of the project. It received its working title “Luisenwahl”

“the choice of

Luisenwahl repre
sents the ambition of “becoming” while “remaining”
: Rather
than rapaciously obliterating what was concrete and specific about and at the site, it seeks
ways to engage with it. Luisenwahl is an example of
architecture of descent
because, in
my analysis, it

laboriously connects three moments in the history of a specific locale with
the present, and in doing so, it seeks to establish new grounds for collective ownership.
Its developers speak on behalf of the local community, and their efforts to establish a n
identity of the area rely on the participation of multiple publics. The project illustrates
how choices are justified for various ‘blocs’ of time
and in terms of
the debates
surrounding the desirability of each bloc’s legacy. The existence of the area i
s accounted
for since 1808, when it was purchased as an estate for Queen Luise of Prussia. In the
memory of Königsbergers, the Queen appeared as a savior of the city: Napoleon was
enamored with her and restrained his army from looting Königsberg. Between 1
899 and
1901, the city dedicated the area to the Queen. Architect Friedrich Heitmann built a small
country church, with both side and front entrances and a bell tower, and named it

(Memorial Church of Luise). Busolt Gardens developed

into a public
park. It was in this state that the Soviet settlers found the area in 1945, and for the


decades that followed, high
ranked apparatchiks and industrial managers were
traditionally quartered there. The country
like, quaint feel of the neighbor
hood survived
Soviet remodeling, although the church narrowly escaped demolition and was modified
in 1971 to become a puppet theater. Another new addition was the first department store
in Kaliningrad


which opened in the early 1960s. In a poor c
ity, this was quite
a significant event. Later on, an informal floral market formed, and the unattended Busolt
Gardens offered picturesque greenery
in this part of

the city. The buildings that inflicted
their presence upon the site were two housing project
s constructed in the late 1960s,
displaying the shabby style of “Khrushchevka.”

Taste for unadorned simplicity informed choices of design. The proposed design
followed the structural component


of 30 meters that were reconstructed
by archi
tect Vasyutin in the process of researching the original design by the architect
Heitmann (see Figure 1). The existence of such a principle expresses, in the words of the
Russian architect, the “Prussian rationality”. This, to him, implies a quantifiable
ormulation of spatial organization that is expressed in a mathematical formula,
: heights, distances, and positions of the built structures are all proportionate to 30.
He purports that uncovering this principle in the original, and implementing
it in the new
design, ensures that “tradition is passed not as a copying of an appearance but the
reproduction of a mode of thought itself”
. At the same time, designers stay loyal to the
meaning of the site as commemoration. This includes not only preserv
ing the building of
the church or reintroducing a replica of the bust of Queen Luise, but also retaining the
elements of Soviet everyday life. In the new design, dilapidated sand boxes, decrepit



crooked swings are preserved as tokens of one’s c
hildhood, while the quality
of these elements is enhanced.

Figure 2. Town
building module in the design blueprint by architect Oleg Vasyutin.
“The picturesque planning of the Amalienau neighborhood was created with the
help of project modeling of the plac
e where the Queen Luise Memorial Chapel
(presently the Puppet Theater) was situated with an axial system of adjacent streets,
the main alley of the park Luisental, and building up of Krasnaya Street, on the
base of equilateral triangle (ABC). The town
ding module (M) equals 30 meters.
The architect was Friedrich Heitmann.”

Courtesy: Oleg Vasyutin.

The aim of bridging the local public and business interests informed the
methodological approach towards the design process: Discussions, debates, observati
and research on the uses of the site went on for almost a year and preceded planning
itself. Weekly meetings of the Club ‘Urban Environment’ were launched and attended by
writers, local university professors, journalists and others. Gathering the neigh
residents, although at first attempted, proved to be procedurally difficult. An initially
ambitious project of producing 300 interviews on the topic of the meaning, history and
identity of the site was reduced to two
dozen interviews with creative
Businessmen were also invited, but the response was low and their availability limited.
Initially broad in the scope of the social support it was seeking, the project was ultimately
authored by a small group of urban intelligentsia. The mee
tings, however, served as an
important arena for the evaluation of historical layers and the articulation of identities.

For five month

I followed the planning meetings of the Club ‘Urban

and observed how the Soviet architectural legacy was c
entral to their

In one meeting, a student of the regional university in his late twenties
reacted to a prompt to talk about the department store

. The project designers


aimed to assess
opinions on
they should

remove, refurbish o
r fully preserve this
example of Soviet reconstruction and its German structure:

Soviet architecture is where man is not a measure of things, neither from
the point of comfort nor aesthetics. I’d say, it is anti
human… The
position of the Soviet architect
is a position for the Approval Committee
[which clears the project and adds a number to the statistics], not
accountable to those who live in these houses.

He concluded, “we cannot continue living like this,” to which a leader of the project

utnik is Soviet, yes, but it is now part of this place, it is its element,
inseparable from it, and we don’t want to demolish it. It took root, it
‘individualizes’ this space. An individual space is a place.

Rather than bracketing out the critically perce
ived past and removing its material traces,
discussion participants reflexively acknowledged that this past is indeed part of a
collective history. Yet, in order to be incorporated into the present, it has to be reframed
and reinterpreted.

To accomplish th
is, discussants argued that habitual acts of Kaliningraders
mended the rift between Königsberg and Kaliningrad, and some key Soviet
constructions in the city have also became landmarks of their personal biographies.
Kaliningraders of different ages
and different migration trajectories use the names of the
two largest commercial centers,
to denote entire areas and even
social practices: “My friend lives by Sputnik” (Moy drug zhivet na Sputnike) or “I
strolled along Mayak l
ast night”

(Ya gulyal po Mayaku
The association between Soviet
period architecture and individual biographies in the project signals its “privatization” as
a site of personal experience, which, because intimate, could not be tainted by the politics


of the state. P
ersonal experience, in this case,

the compromised

Another trope of authentication that the
lub participants deployed was the act of
popular resistance
. For example, during the 1970s, the informal flower commerce
thrived on t
he plaza in spite of Soviet prohibitions on private commerce and crackdowns
by police. In the same period, an unsanctioned gathering of chess
players in the park
evolved into a chess club

a remarkable development in the climate of a tight control
over a
ny mass gathering. The historian of the group, Aleksandr Popadin, in particular,
argued that such examples represented everyday acts of non
conformity with Soviet
power. The architects of the project, in turn, chose to commemorate these two activities
as f
orms of sociality that developed “against the official standardization of life”
. The
new plaza has been redesigned to accommodate florists with new stalls, and permanent
chess tables and protective tents appeared near the former church, welcoming a new
neration of chess

In Kaliningrad, the choice

which past to privilege and which to label
“undesired” is complicated. If Königsberg is fully restored as a part of the collective
genealogy of Kaliningraders, their city receives the option to

have a medieval history and
a Golden Age, but the Soviet period will lose its value and justification. The current

take on a negative role as historical agents. This would also compromise
the connection between the city and Russia.

Two bl
ocks of time have to be carefully
managed and balanced with each other. Young & Kaczmarek argue, based on the
example offered by Łódź, that if a post
socialist city lacks a significant medieval history,
which may stand for the Golden Age or Europeanness, t
he socialist past may come back


more easily, and the pasts “do not lead to questions about ‘authenticity’ of post
. The example of Luisenwahl adds complexity to their argument: It is not
only the presence or absence of the medieval pa
st, but also

how this absence appears to
shape the

between a locality

national community,
determine the
evaluation of the Soviet period itself.

The Fish Village/Lomse

The second project, The Fish Village, adopts different means for

representing the
past and constructing a new identity for the place

“theming,” that is, creating an
atmosphere of another world.
has very little to do with the place itself

“[it] is
divorced from the idea of place, relegating consideration of

location to being the
background for a theme rather than being the primary motivating factor”

As a method
of redevelopment, theming has an under
recognized but distinct advantage: it
accommodates the invocation of the foreign without jeopardizing the na

In 2002, a corporation called The Company of Complex Project Financing was
established to execute the first large
scale, coherently and cohesively designed and
executed urban development in Kaliningrad

Ethnographic Center of Entertainment
d Commerce

Etnograficheskii Torgovo
Razvlekatel’nyi Tcentr

The Fish Village”.
On 46 thousand sq. meters of underdeveloped land on a bend on the Pregol River, in the
geographical center of Kaliningrad, the Company projected to build 65 thousand sq.
s of office, retail and entertainment space.

bringing together business interests
and social benefits
, they

secured relatively large investments from the Russian federal
government and two major banks in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Another Moscow


ompany specializing in real estate development was hired to bring in additional

The planners approached the lot on which The Fish Village was built as
land unoccupied, thus actually replicating the practice of the Soviet state in

displacement of a previous life
form and the imposition of a new one. They justifiably
argued that the area was “emptied” by Soviet development,
while it

did not turn back to
its pre
Soviet organization. They fabricate its “aura of authenticity” but d
o not recover it.
The territory Lomse, which The Fish Village now occupies, took its name from the
Prussian “swamp”

the predominant type of land in the area. In the fourteenth century,
the knights of the Teutonic Order built a wharf there, comprised of p
iers and warehouses,
and for a long time, Lomse remained a rugged site of manufacturing. Regular floods and
bad air repelled more respectful townsfolk from settling there. In 1783

Georg David
Kypke, professor of Oriental languages at the Königsberg Univer
sity, built affordable
housing for students in Lomse. In 1896

a synagogue was added next to Lomse’s
industrial south end. Its foundation had to be supported by a wooden platform that was
thirteen meters tall, creating an impressive 1400
seat hall. In Nove
mber 1938, during
Kristallnacht, the synagogue was vandalized and destroyed, as was, subsequently,
Königsberg’s Jewish community of nearly four thousand people. Lomse burnt to ashes in
the 1944 bombings, together with Kneiphof, and the post
war Soviet rebu
ilding did not
benefit its resurrection: what remained of the neighborhood was stripped of any usable
materials, including the bridge Kaiserbrucke, whose mechanical parts were disassembled.
In 2001, the land was a greenfield. Its only distinct feature was
the view it offered onto
the earlier reconstructed Königsberg Cathedral

circa 1333, which was situated on the


opposite side of the river bend. Since the project did not directly impinge on people’s
lives, and the future occupants of the site were unknown,

The Fish Village did not attract
much public attention during its planning and construction. None of this site
history found an expression in The Fish Village.

Figure 3. The Fish Village/Lomse: Computer generated model. O.I. Vasyutin and
N.I. Ba
shin. Courtesy: Oleg Vasyutin

The overarching thematic of The Fish Village followed the staging in the
architecture of a “historical spectacle”
. The Fish Village blends together several
architectural styles that are characteristic of Königsberg: a block
of wharfs built in red
brick indexes the period of Hanseatic League; a massive rotunda with a tower represents
Königsberg’s famous fortification; a restaurant hall designed as a barn stands for the
“ethnic or folk” character, without referencing any specif
ic ethnicity or identity. Another
broader theme that is expressed through Königsberg is the notion of the city as a capital
of European Enlightenment: the home of Immanuel Kant. Architecture forms a backdrop
like a theatrical stage
set that intends to acco
mmodate fictitious “scripts” that are
assigned to each “site”: Here is a scene of the daily life of the imaginary medieval fishing
village unfolding in a square that is framed by an esplanade, which opens to the river and
is adorned with a statue of a fish
erman holding a mermaid; there is a salon of an
eighteenth century socialite who is visited by a famous philosopher in the context of the
lobby of a new upscale hotel.

It has become a truism to state that globalization challenges the legitimacy of the
state, but Kaliningrad can be a useful counter
example. In the design of The Fish
Village, the invocation of the dissonant history does not betray a prohibited identity.
Instead, here, the material embodiment of foreign history

to elicit a part


interpretation in which the self and the other are distinct yet
. Scale also plays
an important role. Whereas Luisenwahl showed its importance as a center of communal
life, The Fish Village operates at the level of inter
state elites and i
cultural contacts:
The ‘scripts’ visualize multiple ethnic cultures (however schematically conceived)
overlapping in the locality, while they also emphasize historical interactions among
European and Russian nobility. The statist slant is unmistakable

in the project’s

Russian government’s support of, as well as major Russian banks’ investments in
The Fish Village had enormous symbolic, and economic, effects. A publicly available
story suggests that the project was slated to open in time fo
r Kaliningrad’s celebration of
its 750th anniversary, itself an opportunity to erase the “outmoded” and “unattractive”
Soviet image of the city and to establish a new historical paradigm. As the city mayor
publicly stated, “Kaliningrad has always been a un
ique point for the interweaving of
cultures of the West and the East. Today it is also the shopping
window (
) of
Russia in Europe”
. The paradigm called for a new approach to urban design and

this new city
building doctrine, [positions Ka
liningrad] as a city of widely
European historico
cultural and stable professional traditions, in the system of regulated
planning and building, moving toward a future image of Kaliningrad


A breaking with the recent past and a re
ing of a collective subjectivity occurs in
The Fish Village in the universally recognizable form: a themed neighborhood, ethnic
diversity, and consumer culture. According to the project description, it has been
fashioned after similar developments in citie
s like Bergen, Gdansk, Copenhagen and
Amsterdam (most of which were part of the Hanseatic league in the past)

sought to


attract “Russian and foreign tourists, as well as to produce a net
effect by creating jobs
and stimulating the development of re
lated economic sectors: transportation and
. The developers, the municipality and money
lending institutions all
relied on the seemingly universal appeal of historical theming and adopted waterfront
development, pedestrianization and festiva
ls as the means for transforming the
underdeveloped urban land into a business and entertainment destination.

Inhabiting The Fish Village means entering the modern, “western
style” marke
t offers a finely wrought balance between theme park and business

district, with a
shopping mall that increasingly passes for upscale urban life in Western Europe. The
Pedestrian Line, accessorized with the old brick, “piazza”
style squares and ornate
style roof
scapes, introduces alfresco dining, a new trend in

Kaliningrad. In the
plan, the street is lined with outdoor cafes. The neighborhood is projected to
accommodate restaurants serving regional “ethnic” food

Polish, Lithuanian, German,
“European,” in addition to housing nightclubs, cafes and boutiques.

et, I will argue, the deployment of universal and commercialized forms also
productively lends itself to the process of “political fixing
” which pursues selective
interests and the establishment of regional identities
. There are a number of strategies
at define such “fixing.” The visual grammar of the project expresses a particular vision
of the imperial encounter between Russia and Prussia/Germany. The Northern Gothic
architecture of the Royal Castle,

(lost to Soviet demolitions)

is represente
d in the
building that lines the side of Amber Square. Functioning as a hotel, the building imitates
the old fortification system of Königsberg. Yet, it bears the name of Vasilii Suvorov, the
father of the famed Russian Army General. While

son served C
atherine the Great,


less known father was appointed governor of Königsberg in 1761, the last one during the
year occupation of the city by the Russian army, between 1757 and 1762. The
architectural style of the building and its name connote a par
ticular event in history

period of

Russian presence in Königsberg before 1945. The initial project
description contained a mural titled “The Prussian Root of the Russian Tree,” an allusion
to numerous dynastic intermarriages of Prussian kurfurs
ts with the Romanovs, including
that of Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt
Dornburg, later the Empress
Catherine the Great.

Figure 4. The Fish Village/Lomse in 2007. Photo: Author

Against this privileging of a select set of historical actors, an
d especially the
boosterism of autocracy in architectural styles comprising The Fish Village, the absence
of the Synagogue or any connotation of the Jewish tradition in the city stands out as a
remarkable yet symptomatic omission. This particular history h
as not been restored in a
replica or indexed in an image. In The Fish Village, the history of Königsberg ends in the
1920s (the East Prussia branch of NSDAP was found in Königsberg in 1925), leaving out

(the "Prussian coup") of 1932 and t
he subsequent rise of NSDAP to
. As a result, the Nazi past of East Prussia, and the Holocaust specifically, are
barely factored in.

By suggesting that such absence is symptomatic of a more general politics of the
memory of the Holocaust in Russia (
and Kaliningrad by extension)
I do not want to
discount a few dozens of accounts of the military history of the period that have been
locally produced by enthusiasts and academics, nor diminish the activity of the Working
Group on the Immortalization of
the Memory of the Holocaust Victims, which supports


public events in the coastal town Yantarnyi (Palmnicken). The Massacre of Palmnicken
took place on Janury 31, 1945 when Schutzstaffel members brought 3,000 prisoners of a
concentration camp to the beach o
f Palmnicken, and, under rifle fire, forced them into the
Baltic Sea.

The fact that a loss of a community of nearly four thousand Königberg Jews did
not make it into a themed project is indicative of the kind of the political fixing that is
specific to Ka
liningrad. In this repossessed and resettled territory, the Russian state labors
to maintain its legitimate dominance. In the changed international political environment,
as it was in domestic politics of the past, this means overcoming Russia’s own image
an invader, occupant and destroyer. But such historical revisionism, paradoxically, leads
time and again to annihilation, in this instance, with respect to the memory of Königsberg
Jews. In the effort to normalize its own image by “inheriting” a “Europe
an” past, the
contemporary Russian state sanitizes itself of violence and thus symbolically exonerates
its war
time adversary, the German state, of responsibility for the Holocaust.

The commoditization of history, in this case, does not appear to be a mer
e strategy
of place
marketing, but one of political “fixing”. What it affords the Russian state and
capital to do in Kaliningrad is to use
history and culture of its historical other for the
developmental benefits of Russia, while it simultaneously fre
es them from
acknowledging any agency in the other’s forced disappearance from the present. The
“European” element to which The Fish Village aspires is realized through the
consumption of reified and, literally, objectified cultures.


Discussion and Conclu

In this paper, I focused on the problems implicated

the appropriation of the
other’s past into one’s sense of self, alongside the role that architectural design plays in
this process. Using two urban designs that developed recently in the city, eac
h of which
invokes a version of the pre
war history and culture, I directed attention to the imperative
of having a past, and on the basis of this possession, claiming ownership of the city as
such. The case of Kaliningrad goes against
grain of nationa
listic claims concerning
the past and heritage, as it is a case in which

is “inherited” is of foreign origin, and

it is appropriated is a complex issue with no simple resolution. In this case, the
intensity of the debate and its symbolic valence c
hallenge the commodity/spectacle
perspective on historical and historicized architecture. It is more than an attraction of
capital investment and tourism that motivates local architects to build in vernacular style
and insinuates the residents’ support of
a particular building or style. Luisenwhal and The
Fish Village approach the pre
war and Soviet pasts as matters of collective genealogy and

implicitly as well as explicitly construct particular perspectives on the issue of the city’s
dispossession and rep
opulation. Their formal features express and enable some
connections, while overshadowing others.

Luisenwahl is conceived of as a genealogy of place. Its ambition is, through
revivification of the original telos of the place

commemoration and recovery of

original compositional principle

the module, to claim ‘inheritance’ and continuity
between the pre
war and post
war urban communities. Luisenwahl makes a distinct effort
to re
evaluate and normalize the Soviet identity and to integrate it into the i
dentity of the

reveals a strong communal sense of place, which, in turn, engendered


a local debate over the meaning of the Russian presence, the appropriateness of Soviet
architecture, and the conception of urban heritage. In the views of

its designers,
Luisenwahl paves the way for the new and more “rightful” possession of the place than
the prior, based on annihilation. It constructs the intrinsic principle of linearity between
the pre
war Germans and post
Soviet urban development.

The se
cond design, The Fish Village, subscribes to the idea of the historical
spectacle, and its “history
less” quality, to use Adorno’s description.
It appears as an
example of the universal type of touristic attractions that fetishize certain aspects of
y as icons; or, as a globalized cultural strategy to use history in the service of
redevelopment. Upon closer inspection, however, it reveals

form, as such,
enables the Russian state to insert itself into the city’s history. Thus,

it is hardly suff
to suggest that

“themed” architecture
merely has

little to do with the locality itself,
as my
particular case can be seen to demonstrate

the opposite.
It is p
specific in its political
it augments the post
imperial politics of
territorial possession

in conveying an idealized “European” atmosphere, it obfuscates the violence
inflicted on the place.

The latter point may explain the reasons why The Fish Village was successfully
realized, while Luisenwahl remains in th
e form of a blueprint. The municipal government
and the office of planning boast about design innovations and progressive views on their
city’s troubled history, but capital investment flows from mainland Russia and satisfies
the requirements of state secu
rity and control over the territory. Their
differences notwithstanding,
these two examples are insightful for offering general
: The projects play role in organizing collective genealogies and bringing


them into accord with the imagin
atively conceived biography of place.
The spirited
building of historical imitations and revival

often, the invention

of vernacular
in part for the international audience

people in place and support

their senses of entitlement
to property.

More research has to be done, and comparisons undertaken, but the idea

architecture of descent

beyond one repossessed city. It offers the potential for
understanding the politics of the past and its invention in places that rang
e from being
resettled in th
e course of colonial encounters
to places that were gentrified. Luisenwahl
and The Fish Village are products of a generalized condition of displacement.

displacement is an effect of

markets, as in the case of core
list cities, or politics, as
in the former Soviet block,

in massive disturbances in the cultural and cognitive
order of things, precipitating a search for historical continuities, tradition and “real”
selves. As the “corporate city” advanced in
the capitalist core in the 1980s, history and
became the key values that

to preserve
. As the
Soviet project uprooted, moved and resettled millions of people

and floundered,
bringing disarray to geographical maps of
the region, recovery of the lost or repressed
past was equated with inclusion into new, supra
local communities and return to (ethno
national) origins. In both instances, the “common inability to grasp the shifting meaning
of space and time” prompted “the
search for sources of our own ‘real’ identity”
, and
past, memory and history served as its building stones.


David C.

Heritage Pasts and Heritage Presents: Temporality, Meaning an
d the
Scope of Heritage Stu

International Journal of Heritage Studies
, 7


320, 321.



, “Undesirable Heritage: Fascist Material Culture and Historical
Consciousness in Nuremberg,”
International Journal of Heritage Studies

12, no. 1
(2006): 9


An analogy can be drawn here between such examples and t
he Soviet
time housing

Both are instances where the ideas of continuity constructed

physical remains of a specific identity are deeply problematic. In both cases, buildings

urban landscapes objectify histories and identities from which many individuals have
actively asserted detachment or distance. At the same time, the Nazi

or Soviet
buildings and identities are still acknowledged as elements of a collective history


Yukiko Kogo, “‘The Atmosphere of a Foreign Country’: Harbin’s

Inheritance,” in

Consuming the Entrepreneurial City: Image, Memory, Spectacle
, ed. A
Cronin and K Hetherington (London, New York: Routledge, 2008), 223.

Steve Watson and Emma
Waterton, “Heritage and community engagement,”
International Journal of Heritage Studies

16, no. 1
2 (January 2010): 1


Elizabeth Crooke, “The politics of community heritage: motivations, authority and
International Journal of Heritage Studie

16, no. 1
2 (January 2010): 16


Ibid., 17.


Theodor Adorno,
“Veblen’s Attack on Culture. Remarks Occasioned by the Theory of
Leisure Class,”
Studies in Philosophy and Society

IX, no. 3 (1943): 402.


John L. Comaroff and Jane Comaroff,

(Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 2009), 23.


Bob Jessop and N.L Sum, “An Entrepreneurial City in Action:

Hong Kong’s Emerging
Strategies in and for (Inter)urban Competition,”
Urban Studies

37 (2000): 2287
Bob Jessop, “The Narrative of Ent
erprise and the Enterprise of Narrative: Place
Marketing and the Entrepreneurial City,” in
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Politics, Regime and Representation
, ed. T Hall and P Hubbard (Chichester: John Willey
and Sons, 1998), 77


Richard Llo
yd, “The Neighborhood in Cultural Production: Material and Symbolic
Resources in the New Bohemia,”
City & Community

3 (2004): 343
372; Rei Xuefei,
“Forward to the Past: historical preservation in globalizing Shanghai,”
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7, no. 1 (2008): 23
43; Fulong Wu, “The (Post
) Socialist Entrepreneurial City as a State
Project: Shanghai’s Reglobalization in Question,”
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40, no. 9 (2003): 1673
1698; Sharon Zukin,
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(Berkeley, CA:
University of
California Press, 1991); Sharon Zukin,
The Culture of Cities

Cambridge University Press, 1995).


Xuefei, “Forward to the Past: historical preservation in globalizing Shanghai,” 36.


Sharon Zukin, “Changing Landscapes of Power: Opulence
and the Urge for
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33, no. 2, Debates
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Andreas Huyssen, “Monumental Seduction,”
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200; Andreas Huyssen,

pasts: urban palimpsests and the politics of

(Stanford University Press, 2003); Brian Ladd,
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Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape

(University Of Chicago Press,



Virag Molnar, “The Cultural Production of Loc
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in Post
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34, no. 2
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Denis Kozlov, “The Historical Turn in Late Soviet Culture: Retrospectivism,
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no. 3 (2001): 578.


Ibid., 578.

Ibid., 20.


Gil Eyal, “Identity and Trauma: Two Forms of the Will to Memory,”
History &

16, no. 1 (2004): 5


John Czaplicka, Nida Gelasis, and Blair Ruble
, “Introduction: What Time Is This
Place? Locating the Postsocialist City,” in
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Reshaping Cultural Landscape and European Identity
, ed. John Czaplicka, Nida Gelazis,
and Blair Ruble (Washington, D.C. and Baltimore: Woodro
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The John Hopkins University Press, 2008), 9.



Cultural Landscapes of Post
Socialist Cities: Representation of
Powers and Needs

(Hampshire, UK: Ashgate, 2008); Czaplicka, Gelasis, and Ruble,
“Introduction: What

Time Is This Place? Locating the P
ostsocialist City”;
Rubie Watson,
“Memory, History and Opposition Under State Socialism: an Introduction,” in
History and Opposition Under State Socialism
, ed. Rubie Watson (Santa Fe, N.M.:
School of American Rese
arch, 1994), 1
20; Craig Young and Sylvia Kaczmarek, “The
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15, no. 1 (2008): 53
70; Arvo
Gospodini, “Urban Morpholo
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Innovative Design,”
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2004, no. 9 (2004): 225
48; Gregor Thum,
“Wroclaw’s Search for New Historical Narrative: From Polonocentrism to
Postmodernism,” in
Cities After the Fal
l of Communism: Reshaping Cultural Landscape
and European Identity
, ed. John Czaplicka, Nida Gelasis, and Blair Ruble (Washington,
D.C. and Baltimore: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and The John Hopkins University
Press, 2008), 75


Young and
Kaczmarek, “The Socialist Past and Postsocialist Urban
Identity in Central and Eastern Europe. The Case of Lodz, Poland.”

European Urban and
Regional Studies

15, no. 1 (2008);
Ashworth, G. & Tunbridge, J. E. (1999) 'Old Cities,
New Pasts: Heritage Plann
ing in Selected Cities of Central Europe', GeoJournal, 49, 105


Maurizio Marinelli, “The ‘New I
Style Town’: From Italiam concession to commercial
China Heritage Quarterly

21 (March 2010)


Sergei Kargopolov et al.,
XXI Vek: Svobodnaya

Zona i Osobyi Status

Yantar Skaz, 2001), 9.


V. Ya. Dykhanov, “Aktual’nye problemy sotcial’noy politiki kaliningradskioy oblasti v
kontekste raspredeleniya otvetstvennosti mezhdu ee sub’ektami,”
Vestnik Rossiyskogo
Gosudarstvennogo Universi

3 (2005): 49, 56.


Neil Brenner,
‘Building Euro
regions’: Locational Politics and the Political Geography
of Neoliberalism in Post
unification Germany
European Urban and Regional Studies

no. 4 (2000):




, “Калинингра
дский анклав в Европе: заплыв против
Диагностика состояния и возможностей экономического развития,”
Association of International Experts on the Development of the Kaliningrad Region,
2003, http://kaliningradexpert.ru/node/4.
The presence of the UK
capital, which may
appear as a surprise, is due to the investment of the offshore Russian capital. As such, it is
a sign of the presence of Russian, rather than British, businesses.



Smorodinskaya, “Калининградский анклав в Европе: заплыв против
ечения. Диагностика состояния и возможностей экономического развития.
// The
Kaliningrad Anklave in Europe. Diagnostics of the present and the cuture economic

kaliningradexpert.ru/node/4. Last accessed 26


This does not exclude the
framework of “heritage” all together

the registry of the
Office of Landmark Preservation in

Kaliningrad contains today over 1,200 objects of pre
war origins

compared to 12 in1968. Rather, it calls for a special subcategory.


The Past

Is a Foreign Countr

Cambridge: Cambridge University
, 1985),


Ibid., xxiv.


Stefan Berger,
Kaliningrad in Europa: Nachbarschaftliche Perspektiven nach dem

de Kalten Krieges

(Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010).


Practically all documents pertai
ning to development surveyed in the course of this

research contained this
similar formulation.


An excerpt from the annotation of the Luisenwahl

one of two to be examined
here in deta

Project Annotation// Luisen
wahl, Projektnaya sp


Bert Hoppe,
Auf den Trümmern von Königsberg/Kaliningrad 1946

Oldenbourg Verlag, 2000).



Yurchak, “The Cynical Reason of Late Socialism: Power, Pretense, and the
Public Culture

, no. 2 (January 1997): 161



estate and construction markets in Kaliningrad are known to be non
and criminalized. In the period in question, 2000
2005, prices on real estate increased
four times. Land was rapidly becoming a commodity, but property relations lagged

behind rather dramatically. With over 90% of land in federal (state) and municipal
ownership, the various levels of administration lacked the basic tools

regulation and
control. Although in most recent legal

land in Russia has been defined a
s either
under “lease” or in “private property,” in actuality

in Kaliningrad’s real estate market 17
defining documents circulated, some of which dated back to
1946 Master
Plan of Urban Development,
which had been
in the workings for nearly
a decade
. This


broad zoning definitions and bore an advisory

rather than a
legislative function. The dominant practice was to allocate a lot to specific contractors for
a pre
defined design project: tender as a norm did not yet tak
e root. (



Alan Pred


quoted in
Jane M. Jacobs,
Edge of Empire: Postcolonialism and the


(London and New York: Routledge, 2002), 39.


Interview with architect Vasyutin, O. Recorde
d 06


There is a great deal of complexity vested in the rubric of resistance in Russian/Soviet
historical studies. It comes not only with the character of the phenomenon itself: Soviet
style “domination and subordination could so clearly be exper
ienced simultaneously,


depending on whether one looked up or down on various levels of various hierarchies”
Fox, 2000: 163). Resistance comes to us in the eye of the beholder; the
explanatory prism

an institution, a group or a subjectivity. For th
e full discussion of this

see: Michael David
Fox, Peter Holquist, Marshall Poe (Editors). The Resistance
Debate in Russian and Soviet History
. Slavica Pub, 2003.
The way in which “resistance”
is used in this paper, however, is different. The notion

is treated as a category of social
practice (of the discussion club and the design team), and not of social analysis.


Aleksandr Popadin

in. Luisenwahl, Project Anno
tation// Luisenw
Projektnaya spravka. 2002.


Sezneva, “Living in the Russian
Present with a German Past: The Problems of Identity
in the City of Kaliningrad.”


Young and Kaczmarek, “The Socialist Past and Postsocialist Urban Identity in
Central and Eastern Europe. The Case of Lodz, Poland,” 55


Kevin K. F. Wong and Phoeb
e W. Y. Cheung, “Strategic theming in theme park
Journal of Vacation


(October 1, 1999): 319
332 vol. 5:.


Christian Boyer,
The City of Collective Memory: Its Historical Imagery and
Architectural Entertainment.

(Cambridge, Mass: MIT

Press, 1996).

Country’: Harbin’s Architectural Inheritance.”


A. Yaroshuk in
Tourguide to Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad: OOO “Gorodskoi
” 2010. In Russian and English.


The Fish Village: Project Annotati
on// Projektnaya Spravka, p. 12


The Fish
Village: Project Annotati
on// Projektnaya Spravka, p. 1.


A researcher working in Kaliningrad today reported to me that

of the planners’
have been
realized. Bars and restaurants stand empty and the hotel under
Instead of
becoming an

traction for businesses and foreign tourists, The Fish Village
turned into a lively site for local stroll
, tak

children to play, for the elderly to sit by
the river
enjoy its quiet, and for teenage women to pose for photographs against the
unusual b
ackdrop of imitation architecture

the pictures to be posted on social
networking sites. Leisure very much defines the area in its use today

only in

fferent from that intended.


geometries and the Politics of Space


Hitler’s Voice


Some of the many
language studies of Russian antisemitism include: Andreas

“Concepts of Fascism in C
ontemporary Russia and the West

Political Studies
3:1 (2005) 34
Russian Antisemitism, Pamyat, and the
Demonology of Zionism

Marlene Laruelle,
“The Two Fac
es of
Contemporary Eurasianism”
Nationality Papers: the Journal of Nationalism and
32:2 (2004) 115

Stella Rock, “Russian Revi
sionism: Holocaust Denial and
the New Nationalist Historiography

Patterns of Prejudice
35 (4) 64
76 (2001).


Saracino, “Social Preservationists and the Quest for Authentic Community.”


Zukin, “Consuming Authenticity: From Outposts of Difference to Means of
Exclusion,” 545.