Olga Sezneva, University of Amsterdam

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Dec 8, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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


Olga Sezneva, University of Amsterdam




Abstract:

The focus of this paper is on the relationship between history, identity and archit
ectural
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
light
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,
this

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

the relationship
between people and the
city

demands constant
re
-
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
develops
a new subcategory

within a more general notion “heritage”:

the
architecture of
descent
. It is especially applicable in

c
ases of disrupted
urban development and
repossession
.


Keywords
:
displacement,

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
Sezneva
, O.


Architecture of

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

Journal of Urban History,

forthcoming,

July 2013



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Introduction

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
khruschevka
,
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
nuel
Kant, in the ruins of 17th
and 18th century
fortification and the dotting of low
-
rise 19th and early 20th centur
y
town houses across
the city.

The schism
s

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

3

political
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
confron
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
rupture
--

in historical and geographic terms
--

play in these designs? Furthermore, how
do social
memor
ies

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,
revealing

different agencies
behind them.

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

4

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
development
do

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
that

are implied by
most of the analysis
.
This
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
.
It

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
,

implications
and
social significance
of the historiciz
ed architecture, even in the face of
a

lack of authenticity and
its

explicitly
manipulated character.


5

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
-
plann
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

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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
ly

embedded process of
“heritageisation”
1
??7KH?³HYROXWLRQ?RI?KHULWDJH?SURFHVV´??WR?ERUURZ?+DUYH\¶V?SKUDVH??LV?
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
Macdonald
2

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
-
bui
lding opportunities and serves as a point
of reference for reflexive thinking. It gives rise to a societal process of memory
-
work
3
.

“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
-

7

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
unseen”
4
.
Inheriting

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
--

“community”
--

is also being
critically reconsidered. The contributions
in the
special issue of
the
Internat
ional Journal
of Heritage Studies
5
, and Elizabeth Crooke’s paper in particular
6
, 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
7
.


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

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

a relation
ship in which the constitution

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


8

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
saw
their
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
consumption
8
. 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
are
ever
absolute”
9
. 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”
10
. Speculative movements of financial capital
changed the modes of place
-
making to place
-
marketing and place
-
b
randing
11
. 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”
12
. As business
developments crush traditional neighborhoods and displace their residents, their pasts,

9

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

and the media


as “the aesthetic code of a new urban lifesty
le”
13
.

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
ne
w construction plans had became a media spectacle


as they did in Berlin during the
1990s
--

fierce battles among urban professionals betrayed depth beyond image
-
making
and real estate development
14
. Virag Molnar, citing Sewig, Haila and Hyussen, observes
that “The relentless discussions

indicate that the symbolic aspect of urban planning
carry enormous weight”
15
. Molnar convincingly demonstrates that, in defining the
“European city” in Berlin, the mobilization of culture and “tradition” actually pursued
g
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.

Post
-
socialist cities provide a wealth of evidence that counter
s the post
-
industrial
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
-
S
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
continuities
16
.


10

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”

17
. 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”

18
. 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
-
communist
demontage”
--

as John Czaplicka et al
19

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”
20
. Those cities that did not have a tradition
to boast positively about revalued the Soviet past and incorporated it into their urban
identit
ies
21
.

In summary, hist
orical and “historically flavored architecture”, to appropriate the
term of Maurizio Marinelly
22
,
is

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.


11

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
-
oriented
con
sciousness, although, as it became apparent later, detrimental to the Soviet economic
legacy of the region”
23
. The earlier stage of economic reforms left Kaliningrad in a
disadvantaged position: in 1995, the decline of industrial output in Kaliningrad was
r
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
budgetary

spending per capita was the lowest in Kaliningrad among all the cities of the
North
-
Western Region of Russia, encouraging illicit and unaccounted business
activities
24
. 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
introduced
some organizational and institutional
changes for
the promotion of structural competitiveness of the region by lifting customs

and

lowering
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
25
. Throughout th
e 2000s, the Federal
government continuously took more powerful measures to reverse and retract the status
,


12

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
26
.

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
relied

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
27
,
comprised 68% of total foreign investment in the Kaliningrad region, and although
throughout the start of the 21
st

century the size of German investment ha
d

been reduced
by half, it remains
considerable
28
. Boasting the “European” and foreign flavor of the city
via its distinct architecture became a strategy of place
-
branding for many of the local
elites.

This promotion of the distinctiveness (
osobost’
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
laboriousl
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

13

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
measur
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
n
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”
is
thinking against the grain. First, in no sensible way were the city and its infrastructure
“inherited” but
were, instead,
violently repossessed
;

moreover,

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
as
“the
revival of tradition”, but
whom this tradition belongs to

and
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

vernacular
architecture,
which means

that

in many instances,

“heritage” has to be remade
--

as
was

the case of the
Schloss

(the Royal Castle),
which was
demolish
ed and
then
recently
revived in its virtual form. Clearly, rhetoric of heritage and
the
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

14

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”
29
. A
contemporary westerner experiences her own past as a foreign countr
y
, fascinated by
differences

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
o
rework it creatively. We admire its relics, but they do not inspire our own acts and
works”
30
.

But
,

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
the

evolution of the

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

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

alon
gside

the
multiple discontinuities that mark
ed

Kaliningrad as a place
,

produced collective anxiet
ies

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

sens
e of place
-
attachment
and led to
a

rise in awareness about
its

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


as opposed to
a
national


scale of

identification
31
. What was
deemed

negatively

as

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

15

a positively valued source of socio
-
spatial distinction
, the
“different”. Emotional
attachment to the place went hand
-
in
-
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
buildings

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

a

“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
.


16

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”
32
, 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
instig
ated

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
them.
33


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
“inheritance”.

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
operties


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,

17

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,
however
, did not bear much persuasion for the first Soviet settlers
.

T
hey were motivated by present needs for material assistance

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

plans for

“little Moscow” in the
western frontier city
34
.

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”
35
. Whi
le the militarized “frontier”
imaginary dominated official representations of the city, urban intelligentsia emphasized
its “
western
-
most” characteristics and promoted its roots in “Europe”.

Disturbances and adjustments in previously formed systems of mea
ning,
which
included

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

18

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
-
longer
-
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
th

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

th
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
explicit
ly

intend to offer models of historical contin
uity.

Figure 1.
Urban

areas
in which

Luisenwahl and

The Fish Village/Lomse would
appear

on the historical map of Konigsberg.


Luisenwahl



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
-
of
-
the
-
century
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

19

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
methodology

for future urban development.
36

The work on the project was
commissioned to
a

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
Luise.”

Luisenwahl repre
sents the ambition of “becoming” while “remaining”
37
: 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
ew
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
Luise
-
Gedächtinskirche

(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

20

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


Sputnik



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
--

the
module
--

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
f
ormulation of spatial organization that is expressed in a mathematical formula,
the
module
: 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”
38
. 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

21

benches

and
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
-
buil
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
ons
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
borhood
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
intelligentsia.
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
s

I followed the planning meetings of the Club ‘Urban
Environment’

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

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

Sputnik
. The project designers

22

aimed to assess
opinions on
whether
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
retorted:

Sp
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
-
period
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,
Sputnik
and
Mayak,
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


23

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

the compromised
architectures.

Another trope of authentication that the
C
lub participants deployed was the act of
popular resistance
39
. 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”
40
. 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
ge
neration of chess
-
players.

In Kaliningrad, the choice
between

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
residents
would

take on a negative role as historical agents. This would also compromise
the connection between the city and Russia.
41

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

24

more easily, and the pasts “do not lead to questions about ‘authenticity’ of post
-
socialist
identities”
42
. 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

relationship
between a locality
to
a

national community,
that
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.
Theming
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”
43
.

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

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
--

the
Ethnographic Center of Entertainment
an
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.
meter
s of office, retail and entertainment space.
By

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
-
based

25

c
ompany specializing in real estate development was hired to bring in additional
investors.

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

the
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

26

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
-
specific
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”
44
. 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
nat
ion
-
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
intends

to elicit a part
icular

27

interpretation in which the self and the other are distinct yet
compatible
. 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
nter
-
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
conception.

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 (
vitrina
) of
Russia in Europe”
45
. The paradigm called for a new approach to urban design and
planning:


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
city
-
planning and building, moving toward a future image of Kaliningrad
-
Königsberg

.
46

A breaking with the recent past and a re
-
fashion
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)
,

and
it
sought to

28

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
communication”
47
. 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.
I
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
baroque
-
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.
48


Y
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
49
. There are a number of strategies
th
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,
Schloss

(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
his

son served C
atherine the Great,
the


29

less known father was appointed governor of Königsberg in 1761, the last one during the
seven
-
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
--

the
only
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
-
Zerbst
-
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
Preußenschlag

(the "Prussian coup") of 1932 and t
he subsequent rise of NSDAP to
power
50
. 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)
51
,
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

30

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
as
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
the
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.


31

Discussion and Conclu
sion

In this paper, I focused on the problems implicated
by

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
-
the
-
grain of nationa
listic claims concerning
the past and heritage, as it is a case in which
what

is “inherited” is of foreign origin, and
how

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

the
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
place.

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

32

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
histor
y as icons; or, as a globalized cultural strategy to use history in the service of
redevelopment. Upon closer inspection, however, it reveals
how

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

it is hardly suff
icient
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
lace
-
specific in its political
significance,
and
it augments the post
-
imperial politics of
territorial possession
;
furthermore,

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
particular
differences notwithstanding,
these two examples are insightful for offering general
conclusions
: The projects play role in organizing collective genealogies and bringing

33

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


often, the invention
--

of vernacular
architecture
,
in part for the international audience
,
ground
s

people in place and support
s

their senses of entitlement
to property.

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

of
an
architecture of descent
extends

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.
W
hether

displacement is an effect of

markets, as in the case of core
-
capita
list cities, or politics, as
in the former Soviet block,
it
result
s

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
authenticity
became the key values that
neighborhoods
attempted

to preserve
52
. 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”
53
, and
past, memory and history served as its building stones.





1

David C.
Harvey
,


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

,
International Journal of Heritage Studies
, 7

(2001)
,

319
-
338
:
320, 321.


34






2

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

12, no. 1
(2006): 9
-
28

3

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

Both are instances where the ideas of continuity constructed
through

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

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

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

4

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

Architectural
Inheritance,” in

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

5
Steve Watson and Emma
Waterton, “Heritage and community engagement,”
International Journal of Heritage Studies

16, no. 1
-
2 (January 2010): 1
-
3.

6

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

16, no. 1
-
2 (January 2010): 16
-
29.

7

Ibid., 17.

8

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.


9

John L. Comaroff and Jane Comaroff,
Ethnicity,
Inc.

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

10

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
-
2313;
Bob Jessop, “The Narrative of Ent
erprise and the Enterprise of Narrative: Place
Marketing and the Entrepreneurial City,” in
The Entrepreneurial City: Geographies of
Politics, Regime and Representation
, ed. T Hall and P Hubbard (Chichester: John Willey
and Sons, 1998), 77
-
99.

11

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,”
City & Community

7, no. 1 (2008): 23
-
43; Fulong Wu, “The (Post
-
) Socialist Entrepreneurial City as a State
Project: Shanghai’s Reglobalization in Question,”
Urban Studies

40, no. 9 (2003): 1673
-
1698; Sharon Zukin,
Landscapes of Power: from Detroit to Disney World

(Berkeley, CA:
University of
California Press, 1991); Sharon Zukin,
The Culture of Cities

(Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1995).


12

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


13

Sharon Zukin, “Changing Landscapes of Power: Opulence
and the Urge for
Authenticity,”
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

33, no. 2, Debates
and Development (2009): 549.

14

Andreas Huyssen, “Monumental Seduction,”
New German Critique
, no. 69 (October 1,
1996): 181
-
200; Andreas Huyssen,
Present

pasts: urban palimpsests and the politics of
memory

(Stanford University Press, 2003); Brian Ladd,
The Ghosts of Berlin:
Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape

(University Of Chicago Press,
1998).


35






15

Virag Molnar, “The Cultural Production of Loc
ality: Reclaiming the ‘European City’
in Post
-
Wall Berlin,”
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

34, no. 2
(February 2010): 282.

16

Denis Kozlov, “The Historical Turn in Late Soviet Culture: Retrospectivism,
Factography, Doubt, 1953
-
91,”
Kri
tika. Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History

2,
no. 3 (2001): 578.

16

Ibid., 578.

17
Ibid., 20.

18

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

16, no. 1 (2004): 5
-
36.


19

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

20

M
arius

Czepczynski,
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
Memory,
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
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): 53
-
70; Arvo
Gospodini, “Urban Morpholo
gy and Place Identity in European Cities: Built Heritage and
Innovative Design,”
Journal of Urban Design

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
-
101.


21

Craig
Young and
Sylv
ia
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
-
116.


22

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

21 (March 2010)
.

23

Sergei Kargopolov et al.,
XXI Vek: Svobodnaya

Zona i Osobyi Status

(Kaliningrad:
Yantar Skaz, 2001), 9.

24

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

3 (2005): 49, 56.

25

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

7,
no. 4 (2000):
319
-
345
.


36






26

Natalia

Smorodinskaya
, “Калинингра
дский анклав в Европе: заплыв против
течения.
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.

27

Natalia

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


kaliningradexpert.ru/node/4. Last accessed 26
-
04
-
2012

28

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.

29

David
Lowenthal,
The Past

Is a Foreign Countr
y

(
Cambridge: Cambridge University
Pr
ess
, 1985),
xix.

30

Ibid., xxiv.

31

Stefan Berger,
Kaliningrad in Europa: Nachbarschaftliche Perspektiven nach dem
End
e

de Kalten Krieges

(Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010).

32

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

research contained this
kind
or
a
similar formulation.

33

An excerpt from the annotation of the Luisenwahl
-
project


one of two to be examined
here in deta
il:

Project Annotation// Luisen
wahl, Projektnaya sp
ravka.
2002.

34

Bert Hoppe,
Auf den Trümmern von Königsberg/Kaliningrad 1946
-
1970

(München:
Oldenbourg Verlag, 2000).

35

Alexei

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

9
, no. 2 (January 1997): 161
-
188
.

36

Real

estate and construction markets in Kaliningrad are known to be non
-
transparent
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
for

regulation and
control. Although in most recent legal
parlance,

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

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

merely
provid
ed

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. (
http://www.expe

rt.ru/printissues/northwest/2005/28/28no
-
srin/
).

37

Alan Pred

(1986)

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

City

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

38

Interview with architect Vasyutin, O. Recorde
d 06
-
25
-
2002.

39

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,

37






depending on whether one looked up or down on various levels of various hierarchies”
(David
-
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
issue
,

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.

40

Aleksandr Popadin

and
Oleg
Vasyut
in. Luisenwahl, Project Anno
tation// Luisenw
ahl,
Projektnaya spravka. 2002.

41

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

42

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

56.

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

Marketing,

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

44

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

(Cambridge, Mass: MIT

Press, 1996).


Country’: Harbin’s Architectural Inheritance.”

45

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

46

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

47

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

48

A researcher working in Kaliningrad today reported to me that
few

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

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

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


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


only in
a

form
di
fferent from that intended.

49

Massey,
Power
-
geometries and the Politics of Space
-
time
.

50

Mühlberger,
Hitler’s Voice
.


51

Some of the many
English
-
language studies of Russian antisemitism include: Andreas
Umland
,

“Concepts of Fascism in C
ontemporary Russia and the West


Political Studies
Review
3:1 (2005) 34
-
49
;
William
Korey,
Russian Antisemitism, Pamyat, and the
Demonology of Zionism

(
Routledge,
1995)
;
Marlene Laruelle,
“The Two Fac
es of
Contemporary Eurasianism”
Nationality Papers: the Journal of Nationalism and
Ethnicity
32:2 (2004) 115
-
136;

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


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

52

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

53

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