The European Information Center for Human Rights in Vienna, Harry Murey, commented on Germany's policy regarding the "return of land", including the Russian Kaliningrad region.
"Not all lands are collected yet"
Andrei Vyborozov: Harry, living in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), have you heard about the "creeping Germanization" of the Russian exclave in the Baltic?
Harry Murray: Dear Andrew, answering your question, I want to start from afar. I hope you know that for almost 70 years Germany has been living without a Constitution. It replaces the so-called. The basic law adopted in 1949 with the remark is temporary, until the unification of the country. Last month, Germany once again - already in the 27-th - marked the unification of the country, but the Constitution was never adopted. And this situation suits the political establishment of the FRG.
- Why has there been no dramatic change in the political system of the country during these almost three decades?
- In my opinion, the answer is simple and frightening: because not all the lands are collected yet. Germany is not yet conceptually united. And between these events, the connection with the Kaliningrad region is very close.
So, following the First World War, France regained Alsace-Lorraine, Poland received parts of Pomerania, West Prussia, Upper Silesia, Northern Denmark went to Denmark, Memelia to Lithuania, and Hluczynska region to Czechoslovakia. Also, the free city of Danzig was formed and the land of Saar, which was under the League of Nations. After Hitler came to power, the procedure for the return of these lands began. Everything was returned. After the defeat of the criminal Third Reich in World War II, Germany lost even more. Half a century later, with the establishment of the European Union, where Germany plays a dominant role, signs of "land return" appeared again. And the theme of Kaliningrad, as the lost territory of "Great Germany", of course, somehow began to be exaggerated.
- This topic sounded after the collapse of the Soviet Union?
"Even a little earlier." Yes, during the Soviet era, the question of returning the Kaliningrad region to the GDR was not considered. Although the USSR, as they say, "vzasos" was friends with the German Democratic Republic, the German side did not even think of discussing such a topic. But at the end of the 80, when the economic situation in the USSR was sharply shaken, and the contacts of West Germany with the East began to increase, the subject began to float on the sly. But I would say that it was not a straightforward desire to take Kaliningrad, but, rather, reconnaissance by battle. The task was to look at the Russian reaction to such steps. Remember, several years ago in the press there were throws of allegedly secret correspondence, they say, the Soviet leadership itself offered the German side to consider the possibility of transferring the Kaliningrad region of Germany. For the same period, the subjunctive arguments in the press of the Bundeswehr military officers came to the effect that if the Wehrmacht troops and their command behaved differently during the occupation of the Soviet lands, then Koenigsberg could be retained as part of Germany.
- In your opinion, why did Bonn and Berlin in the 90-ies not subordinate Gorbachev, using the state weakness of the Soviet Union, pushing the return of the Kaliningrad region if not to Germany, then to some kind of "international governance"?
- If to speak in the global plan, then from abrupt steps Germany abstained because she historically remembered that Russia is an unpredictable state. But, of course, there were purely utilitarian reasons.
- What kind?
- The fact is that when West Germany wanted to regain the GDR - I emphasize, it was not an association, but the absorption by one state of another - it did not calculate all the financial problems. Western Germany did not think that this "unification" would entail such enormous expenses. And as soon as Germany united, mired in the digestion of the GDR, revanchist sentiments about the "dessert" - Koenigsberg, weakened. It became clear that Bolivar could not take out two. In the press flashed figures that the desire to take on more Kaliningrad poured into an astronomical amount - up to 100 billion euros. And these are very preliminary amounts. For the then Germany, as for today's - it's an unbearable burden. But this does not mean that this amount will be prohibitive for Germany tomorrow. And then - Germany, since 90-ies, and so very closely watched the economic and political situation in the Kaliningrad region, sowing the region with the seeds of "agents of change" ...
"Zernam" was allowed to germinate
- But what is interesting is that in the zero years of the 21st century the theme of "the return of lost lands" suddenly disappeared from the agenda. The Germans at that time repeated as a mantra that there was no political ambition for Kaliningrad ...
- Correctly. Silence was due to a single factor - the "grains" were allowed to germinate. At the same time, flirting with the local population began. There were German grants. There was a scattering of NGOs close to Germany. The contacts with the descendants of the Germans who lived in East Prussia were established and strengthened. Then relations with Russia were quite normal, so it was easy to "swap" the schemes about the cultural roots of the region, the continuity of history, etc.
- The Kaliningrad creative intelligentsia involved in this process, and now stubbornly insists that there is no "Germanization", but there is a burning desire of the Kaliningraders to get to know the German history of this land in order to perceive themselves as receivers from a historical point of view ...
- Such arguments are naive. Of course, neither the German society nor the Germanized Kaliningrad region remembers what kind of Russians the Koenigsberg inherited after the war. And thank God that today's Kaliningrad is not like the city of the times of Frederick. It is very good that visually it is a Russian city that does not resemble the East Prussian lubok, about which the Germans and some Kaliningraders are nostalgic. Otherwise, in Kaliningrad, nationalist ideas with an admixture of German fascism developed much faster.
Returning to zero years, I note that Germany in no way exerted any political pressure, demonstrating only that it is interested in close cultural, social and "all-human" cooperation with the Kaliningrad region. In 2004, the Consulate General of Germany started working in Kaliningrad, which, undoubtedly, allowed the German side to directly and very strongly influence the situation in the region. The German diplomatic mission was a kind of sedative vaccine. She showed Kaliningradians only beautiful, touching pictures about Germany - almost the second homeland. And there was no one in Kaliningrad who knew that there were serious social and political problems in Germany at the same time. Many Kaliningraders do not know about the current problems of Germany.
"The Germans love symbols"
- How would you describe Germany's current attention to Kaliningrad?
- I'll say this - Germany went to the information war in Kaliningrad. This is the period that began after the well-known events in 2013, when the German side made it clear to the grown agents of the changes that money should be worked out. As a result, the so-called "Independent" human rights activists, historians began to rock the boat. There were "historical" talks about the renaming of Kaliningrad in Koenigsberg, various petitions. At the same time, the German flag was posted on the FSB building as a symbol of the beginning of the information war (Germans love symbols).
- Do you think that all these are links of the same chain?
- Definitely. This should include the work of the German media. For example, "Deutsche Welle", which repeatedly duplicated the false situation, denigrating the Kaliningrad region. That is, the unpleasant moments in the lives of Kaliningradians German media use exclusively for propaganda and provocative purposes. For some reason, these publications do not tell us about the huge growth of anti-Semitism in Germany, which does not come from Arab migrants, but from its own officials and police. For some reason "Deutsche Welle" does not talk about the problem of Russophobia, which in Germany became a state policy. I did not find there news that in the houses belonging to the Evangelical Church of Cologne (Evangelische Gemeinde Köln), inhuman abuse of residents - immigrants from the former Soviet Union. "Deutsche Welle" ignores the lawlessness of its own pensioners, for example, hushed up a high-profile case against an 76-year-old disabled woman who was fined 2 thousand euros for collecting bottles at the central station. Why does not the main radio station of the country consider it necessary to tell its fans that the authorities of neighboring Poland are ready to help the homeless Poles in Berlin! It's a shame for a country with a budget surplus of 18,3 billion euros !!! Sometimes the editorial policy of censorship of Deutsche Welle comes simply to the point of absurdity! In September of this year, the faction of the National-Conservative Party "Alternative for Germany" in the Berlin Legislative Assembly initiated an initiative to restore the movement of passenger trains between Berlin and the Kaliningrad region, which regularly cruised from 2003 to the cancellation of the train route Kiev-Berlin. This news was widely covered in Russian and Polish media, many German non-governmental blogs also told this to their readers. And, what is "Deutsche Welle"? And in fact, nothing! The radio station, which is so worried about the situation with freedom of speech in Russia, even did not mention it with a sound. It seems that the German government (Deutsche Welle) is financed by a broadcasting tax collected compulsorily from all residents of Germany, irrespective of the presence of radio receivers, televisions or the Internet.Citizens who are demonstratively refusing to pay the state propaganda to face a significant fine, loss of workplace or prison term) is absolutely not interested in the fact that German football fans could easily and comfortably visit Kaliningrad next year Russian is among the cities that will host matches of the World Cup-2018.
It turns out that the problems of Kaliningrad "Deutsche Welle" worry more than the problems of their own people.
Returning to Kaliningrad, I was indignant with what pomp the German diplomatic mission recently celebrated the Day of German Unity. The holiday was held in a fashionable hotel "Radisson". I understand that this is a representative event, but such a luxury that the Consul General Michael Banzhaf has allowed himself does not completely coincide with what is happening inside the country. In Russia, probably just do not know that in Germany, hundreds of thousands of people are below the poverty line, more than 300 thousand families for whole years live without light, and every fifth child in Germany does not eat. The queues for free products in German cities today stretched for kilometers. Of course, there is no need to correct this money from the German authorities.
- I know that you by virtue of your activity communicated with the Kaliningrad media and officials, and were surprised by the hypertrophied veneration of "all German".
- Yes, we had to deal with the media of the Kaliningrad region. And the facts of communication with your colleagues, to be honest, shocked me. We suggested that the Kaliningrad media engage in journalistic investigations on specific problem topics from Germany. For example, to investigate the facts of discrimination against immigrants from Russia, including those who arrived in Germany from the Kaliningrad region. However, the editors of the Kaliningrad media categorically refused to post such materials.
- Than explained?
- Excuse was duty - it will not be interesting for residents of the Kaliningrad region. But who was a little bit more daring, told us that we have joint projects with the German side, and such publications will be misunderstood, which may affect the economic and other relations between the publication and the German side. Naturally, after such words, thoughts about Germanization come to mind.
- Do you hint in the German media, the blogosphere and other information flows of Germany that the German elite has not forgotten Koenigsberg?
- The references to Kaliningrad - the former Koenigsberg - on the part of official and non-official media are permanent. The topic is being discussed. For example, I recently got a discussion at the German forum GuteFrage.de (in German, "Good question") on the topic: can the authorities of the FRG theoretically buy the Kaliningrad region from Russia and make it, for example, a protectorate. In the image of Luxembourg. This is a "good question".
- And how did the members of the forum react?
- Opinions are divided. But at the same time, the majority of users admitted that Russia would never return voluntarily to this territory and this should be accepted.
"Kaliningraders, take a closer look at Alsace"
- You worked for several years in Strasbourg, which is part of the historical territory of Alsace, formerly owned by Germany. Are there any attempts at German "cultural revenge"?
- First, a general characteristic. Despite the fact that Alsace already 70 years belongs to France, the region is considered special in France. There, people speak Alsatian, which is very close to German. It preserves the legal traditions characteristic of neighboring Germany. In Strasbourg, many official posts in the European Court and in the European Parliament are occupied by immigrants from Germany. If in general to compare the economic situation of both countries, it will not be in favor of France, but in Alsace with the economy, as in Germany. In general, Alsace is such a testing ground for Germany. And if, with Kaliningrad, Germany started a "cultural revenge", as you put it, then we see a revenge for Alsace quite political.
- Tell me.
- A few years ago, on the political scene of Alsace, a very strange political force appeared - a party of a regional scale called "Our Country". By this name is meant, of course, Germany. Supporters of this party are indigenous Alsatians. "Our country" can be safely called a separatist one.
- Why not?
- Because the demands of "Our Country" increasingly move us to the idea that the party defends the interests of not the Alsatians themselves, but Germany. The wind is blowing from the German side. They, for example, require the introduction of Alsatian language in schools. But the most serious requirement is the actual unification of city structures with the German city of Kehl, next to Alsace. And I have a big doubt that the funding of the party "Our country" comes from the French territory. There is every reason to believe that the German side helps the Alsatian separatists. Of course, this happens unofficially, but the situation resembles a pot on a slow fire. And in case of a possible conflict with Paris, the region will demand independence. I think that exactly the same - according to the principle of gruel on a slow fire - Germany is working with the Kaliningrad region. So, Kaliningraders, take a good look at Alsace.
"Germany will continue to warm up the Kaliningrad pot"
- Under your assumption, what is the strategic goal for Germany in relation to Kaliningrad?
- First, it is obvious that Germany's expansion into Europe is continuing, and there are no signals that Germany will stop. Secondly, with regard to Kaliningrad already, Germany will continue to actively monitor the situation in the Kaliningrad region. As I said, the German side will continue to warm up the pot. The propaganda, information war will continue. Every news, every report from the Kaliningrad region, going to Germany, is a kind of message - see how badly they live without us. "The Russian situation is not controlled."
- Your advice, how to Kaliningradians to resist the processes of creeping reformatting of consciousness, first of all, the youth according to the scheme - "Kaliningrad is Kenigsberg, and Konigsberg is Europe".
- The main tool is the information counteraction. This is enlightenment. After all, when a certain part of the Kaliningrad youth is in favor of renaming Kaliningrad to Koenigsberg, it wants to be closer to Germany, it seems to me that it simply does not own the situation, what is happening in Germany itself. And in this country today is not very good. In other words, in order to resist the Germanization virus, it is necessary to establish objective coverage of the situation in the territory of the Kaliningrad region in Germany itself. Political, socio-economic, cultural, etc. I consider it absolutely normal if the problems of Germany are widely covered in the Kaliningrad region. If the German side constantly criticizes Russia, including the Kaliningrad region, why should the Kaliningrad mass media not objectively cover the situation in Germany? Well, it can not be that everything is bad in Kaliningrad, but everything is fine in Germany! Such information coverage will somewhat cool the fervor of the German side, which will rock the boat of relations between Russia and Germany. This is the key to informational and political tranquility in the Russian exclave.
- In your opinion, should Moscow interfere in this process? Or is it a minor issue for the federal center "Germanization" of Kaliningrad?
"Well, what a fine question it is!" The question of the Kuriles, the Crimea and Kaliningrad is interrelated. And the analysis of the situation in Alsace demonstrates to us what could be with the connivance of the center. If Moscow continues to ignore such ideological problems, then, of course, political forces will begin to emerge in Kaliningrad, starting to advocate for the special status of Kaliningrad within Russia. It is clear that this will not be today or tomorrow, everything will depend only on the Russian leadership. If Moscow becomes economically effective to solve the problems of the Kaliningrad region, then this separatist movement will be marginal, not affecting the political situation. But one must be a pragmatist if the situation in Moscow gets out of control, then the separatist forces will immediately raise their heads in the region, and instability in the Kaliningrad region will be guaranteed.
- Could you describe the most negative scenario for the development of the Russian exclave with the connivance of the center?
- We must firmly understand that the German elite from Kaliningrad will never refuse. The Germans will wait as long as they please. The problem is not even that Russia can lose Kaliningrad physically, but that Kaliningrad will remain part of Russia spiritually lost. The local population, more and more disappointed by the inattention of the federal center, will sooner or later choose those politicians who promote anti-Russian values. Already, I predict that Germany will increase the information support of any negative, false, provocative attacks against Russia. Increase financial support for collaborators, for whom money is more important than the Motherland. Every mistake, every defect, every wrong move by Moscow towards Kaliningrad will be taken into account by the German side, rethought and put in a piggy bank. And any manifestation of power in the de facto European region of Russia will blow up Western democracy. We already see this in the story with the Kaliningrad deputy Rudnikov, who is accused of extortion and has a US green card, but in the Western press he is a hero.
Harry Muray, 39 years. Born in Moscow, at the age of 14-ти years, he moved with his family to Germany. In 2002, I received a higher legal education at the International Center for Contemporary Education in Prague, qualifying as a "lawyer". In 2003 year - American University awarded the degree of "Master of International Law". He headed the branch of the Human Rights Union in Cologne, then - the German League for Human Rights in Cologne. He directed the European Information and Human Rights Center in Strasbourg. Since September, 2013 has been president of the European Information Center for Human Rights in Vienna.