Kaliningrad: former name is Königsberg. I always wondered about why and how Russia kept Kaliningrad (located between Poland and Lithuania on the seaside). I see the strategic point of the city, it can hold some flotilla, and also I see its population mainly now is Russian. But how it comes that the territory was never questioned, since Russia (more precisely USSR) gained this territory by the second world war. Does anybody have a clue why it never joined to the neighbouring countries or to Germany? Just because Russian population?

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    Probably fits better on History SE.
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 13, 2013 at 16:07
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    True, partly, they still own the territory :) Commented Feb 13, 2013 at 16:12
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    Yes, but they own it for historical reasons.
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 21:37
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    The whole modern history of the Russia is the fight to gain access never-frozing sea ports on Balticum. Who actually would question the annexation of Kaliningrad? Germany was in no position to do that. Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 14:50
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    You can as well ask why Breslau (now Polish Wroclaw) didn't join Germany. Or Lithuanian Klaipeda (former German Memel)
    – CITBL
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 11:21

4 Answers 4


As stated in the question, Prussian Konigsberg was in fact depopulated by the Russians after WWII, and annexed. This was part of the terms of surrender, as the region around Gdansk in particular, had long been sore point. (The Gdansk corridor, in particular, was given to Poland after WWI as part of the terms of surrender too.)

Desiring an additional warm water port on the Baltic, Russia chose to place a naval base there. As the remaining Baltics had by then been incorporated into the USSR there was never any questioned opposition by, say, Lithuania. Poland had already been greatly enhanced by the addition of Pomerania and Silesia. As such, territoriality, there were no other claimants.


Unless you consider the "Prussians," the Russians have as good a claim on Kalingrad, and the area around it, as anybody.

"Prussia" used to be the fourth Baltic state, (after Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), occupied by a people called the Prussians. It became "German" because the "Teutonic" knights returned from the Crusades in the 13th century, and wanted a new "challenge." Prussia was the furthest south of Baltic territories occupied by "heathen" people, which is why the Teutons captured it, and not the others. Between "execution" and intermarriage, the Prussians melded with the Teutons and lost their identity, unlike the other Baltic peoples.

The Soviet Union occupied Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 1940, and then (East) Prussia in 1945 as spoils of war. Germans were expelled from all these lands, but this had the greatest impact on "Prussia," who by then, had lost its "native" population. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the other three Baltic states had people to reclaim their homelands, but there were no "Prussians" (other than Germans) to reclaim Prussia, so Russia basically kept it by "default."

  • @Tom Au I think technically it could not be any claims from former soviet republics because USSR dissolution was along administrative division lines. Kaliningrad was always part of RSFSR and thus became part of Russia. Unlike baltic states which (fortunately) were having status of union republics in USSR.
    – lowtech
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 18:35
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    "expelled" ? Sounds peaceful. However, deported, massacred, abused, robbed, and made homeless refugees is closer to reality. About 12 to 15 millions. Of which 3 or 4 died on the "voluntary westward hike/migration".
    – Quandary
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 11:20
  • Latvia and Estonia were ruled by the knightly orders, with the ruling class of those areas also being German-Baltics. But they became part of Russia eventually (with Swedish times), while Prussia was inherited by Brandenburg and thus formed closer ties with Germany.
    – Chieron
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 13:36
  • @Chieron: Yes, Latvia and Estonia belonged to Sweden in the 17th century, but Russia defeated them in a war in 1718, and captured those two territories. Russia conquered Lithuania (and more) in the three partitions of "Poland" in the late 18th century. But Russia didn't defeat Germany until 1945, which is why Kalingrad was the last to become Russian.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 23:38
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    @Quandary Only a tiny part of those 15 million were expelled from Kaliningrad oblast. You forgot about Silesia and Pomerania (which are now Poland) and 2/3 of East Prussia (now Poland), Also from Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary,Yugoslavia etc. As for "3 or 4 died" you are repeating Nazi propaganda.
    – CITBL
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 11:18

I will try to answer from another angle. As stated in the question, after WWII Kaliningrad and the area around became part of USSR. However, an important point is that Kaliningrad became the part of RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which was the main part of USSR), while Lithuania was LSSR (Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic) and Poland was and is another country. After the fall of USSR, former Soviet Republics became separate countries. E.g., LSSR became Lithuania, BSSR became Belarus and so on. And Kaliningrad, as part of RSFSR continued to be part of Russia. So there is no reason to question this territory.


At the end of World War II in 1945, the city became part of the Soviet Union pending the final determination of territorial questions at the peace settlement (as part of the Russian SFSR) as agreed upon by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference:

The Conference agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate transfer to the Soviet Union of the city of Koenigsberg and the area adjacent to it as described above, subject to expert examination of the actual frontier.

The President of the United States and the British Prime Minister declared that they support the proposal of the Conference at the forthcoming peace settlement.

Nowadays it is beautiful Russian city almost named as Russian fore-post in Europe.


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