Kaliningrad Under New Management
On October 4 of 2022, the formerly Russian held territory of Kaliningrad and the Czech Republic proudly announced that the Baltic sea enclave had seceded from Russia to become a Czech governed region.
The secession follows a referendum where more than 97% of Kaliningrad residents voted in favour of leaving Russia. In becoming part of the Czech Republic, the region’s name has been officially changed from Kaliningrad to Královec.
What Does the Change Mean?
The first changes have already taken place in Královec as Czech flags have been raised where Russian flags once flew, and most municipalities have officially changed their names to Czech forms rather than Russian ones.
Other changes currently in progress are the shift to the Czech koruna as the official currency and an increase in the availability of Czech language courses in private language schools.
Czech will eventually become the official language in all public schools in the region, as it will become the official language of Královec. Generous financial incentives have been offered by the Czech government to teachers of the Czech language who are willing to relocate to Královec and expedite the Czech language learning process there.
Of course, changes are underway in the main part of the Czech Republic as well.
The new territory means that the Czech Republic now has its own coast, with well established ports and seaside resorts ready for an influx of Czech tourists eager for a seaside holiday within their own borders.
One of the first changes has been the establishment of a high speed rail link between Prague and the capital city of Královec. More rail links from other Czech cities, as well as air links, to points in the new territory are currently in the planning stages.
Of course, the security of the new region is of paramount importance. Units of the Czech army and air force have taken up permanent station in Královec and the establishment of a naval element of the Czech military is being given top priority.
In these early days, Czech military vehicles and aircraft going into Královec have been painted with a large “Ř”, a letter unique to the Czech language, in addition to their standard markings to ease quick identification of them as Czech.
The Beer Must Flow
Along with the transportation and military infrastructure going into place, a beer pipeline from the Czech mainland to Královec is under construction and will ensure that quality Czech beer is always available there.
The first stage of the pipeline, known as Beer Stream 1, will run from Prague to Královec via Poland. There is a major junction in the line at Warsaw, with a plan to run Beer Stream 2 to Tallin, Estonia in the future. Latvia and Lithuania have agreed in principle to allowing Beer Stream 2 through their territories.
Paying a Visit and Learning More
If you’re in Prague and wish to visit Královec, the high speed rail link mentioned earlier in this article is ceratinly an option for you.
A visit to the official tourism website of Královec, visitkralovec.cz, will give you a good idea of what’s there to see and do. Keep in mind, these are early days and the website is a work in progress so not all functions may be working yet.
If you have a Twitter account, you can visit them at KralovecCzechia.
This article at the Radio Prague International website will give you more information on how Královec became Czech. It includes a quite interesting section detailing how the Czech Republic could have a genuine historical claim to the region. Rather than seceding from Russia, Královec may just be “coming home”.