Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast

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Sovetsk

Советск
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The old town of Sovetsk, with German-era buildings
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Flag
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Coat of arms
Location of Sovetsk
Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast
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Sovetsk
Location of Sovetsk
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Sovetsk
Sovetsk (European Russia)
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Sovetsk
Sovetsk (Europe)
Coordinates: 55°05′N21°53′E / 55.083°N 21.883°E / 55.083; 21.883 Coordinates: 55°05′N21°53′E / 55.083°N 21.883°E / 55.083; 21.883
Country Russia
Federal subject Kaliningrad Oblast
Founded1288
Town status since1552
Government
  HeadViktor Smilgin
Elevation
10 m (30 ft)
Population
  Total41,705
  Estimate 
(2018) [2]
39,752 (−4.7%)
  Subordinated to town of oblast significance of Sovetsk [3]
   Capital oftown of oblast significance of Sovetsk [3]
  Urban okrugSovetsky Urban Okrug [4]
   Capital ofSovetsky Urban Okrug [4]
Time zone UTC+2 (MSK–1   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg [5] )
Postal code(s) [6]
238750
Dialing code(s) +7 40161
OKTMO ID27730000001
Website sovetsk-tilsit.ru

Sovetsk (Russian : Сове́тск) is a town in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the south bank of the Neman River which forms the border with Lithuania. Before 1946, the town was Tilsit in German [7] (Lithuanian : Tilžė; Polish : Tylża) in East Prussia.

Contents

Geography

Sovetsk lies at the confluence of the Tilse and Neman rivers. Panemunė in Lithuania was formerly a suburb of the town; after Germany's defeat in World War I, the trans-Memel suburb was detached from Tilsit (with the rest of the Klaipėda Region (Memelland), created from the Province of East Prussia) in 1920.

History

Napoleon, Alexander I, Queen Louise, and Frederick William III in Tilsit, 1807; painted by Nicolas Gosse Treaty of Tilsit.jpg
Napoleon, Alexander I, Queen Louise, and Frederick William III in Tilsit, 1807; painted by Nicolas Gosse

Tilsit, which received civic rights from Albert, Duke of Prussia in 1552, developed around a castle of the Teutonic Knights, known as the Schalauer Haus, founded in 1288.

The Treaties of Tilsit were signed here in July 1807, the preliminaries of which were settled by the emperors Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France on a raft moored in the Neman River. This treaty, which created the Kingdom of Westphalia and the Duchy of Warsaw, completed Napoleon's humiliation of the Kingdom of Prussia, when it was deprived of one half of its dominions. Three days before its signing, the Prussian queen Louise (1776–1810) tried to persuade Napoleon in a private conversation to ease his hard conditions on Prussia; though unsuccessful, Louise's effort endeared her to the Prussian people.

Until 1945, a marble tablet marked the house in which King Frederick William III of Prussia and Queen Louise resided. Also, in the former Schenkendorf Platz was a monument to the poet Max von Schenkendorf (1783–1817), a native of Tilsit; a statue of Lenin was erected in its place in 1967.

During the 19th century when the Lithuanian language in Latin characters was banned within the Russian Empire, Tilsit was an important centre for printing Lithuanian books which then were smuggled by Knygnešiai to the Russian-controlled part of Lithuania. In general, Tilsit thrived and was an important Prussian town. By 1900 it had electric tramways and 34,500 inhabitants; a direct railway line linked it to Königsberg and Labiau and steamers docked there daily. According to the Prussian census of 1905, the city of Tilsit had a population of 37,148, of which 96% were Germans and 4% were Lithuanians. [8] The bridge was built in 1907 and rebuilt in 1946. The town was occupied by Russian troops between 26 August 1914 and 12 September 1914 during World War I. The Act of Tilsit was signed here by leaders of the Lietuvininks in 1918.

Hitler visited the town just before World War II, and a photo was taken of him on the famous bridge over the Memel River. Tilsit was occupied by the Red Army on January 20, 1945, and was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1945. The remaining Germans who had not evacuated were subsequently forcibly expelled and replaced with Soviet citizens. The town was renamed Sovetsk in honor of Soviet rule.

Modern Sovetsk has sought to take advantage of Tilsit's tradition of cheese production (Tilsit cheese), but the new name ("Sovetsky cheese") has not inherited its predecessor's reputation.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been some discussion about the possibility of restoring the town's original name. [9] In 2010, the Kaliningrad Oblast's then-governor Georgy Boos of the ruling United Russia Party proposed restoring the original name and combining the town with the Neman and Slavsk Districts to form a new Tilsit District. Boos emphasized that this move would stimulate development and economic growth, but that it could happen only through a referendum. [10] The idea was opposed by the Communist Party of Russia; in particular, Igor Revin, the Kaliningrad Secretary of the Communist Party, accused Boos and United Russia of Germanophilia. [11]

In April 2007, government restrictions on visits to border areas were tightened, and for foreigners, and Russians living outside the border zone, travel to the Sovetsk and Bagrationovsk areas required advance permission from the Border Guard Service (in some cases up to 30 days beforehand). It was alleged that this procedure slowed the development of these potentially thriving border towns. [12] In June 2012, these restrictions were lifted (the only restricted area is the Neman river shoreline), which gave a boost to local and international tourism.

Administrative and municipal status

Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the town of oblast significance of Sovetsk—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. [3] As a municipal division, the town of oblast significance of Sovetsk is incorporated as Sovetsky Urban Okrug. [4]

Architecture

Many of the town's buildings were destroyed during World War II. However, the old town centre still includes several German buildings, including those of Jugendstil design. The Queen Louise Bridge, now connecting the town to Panemunė/Übermemel in Lithuania, retains an arch – all that is left of a more complex pre-war bridge structure built in 1907. The carved relief portrait of Queen Louise above the arch still exists; however, the German inscription "KÖNIGIN LUISE-BRÜCKE" was removed after the Soviets took over the town.

Historical population

Ethnic composition in 2010:[ citation needed ]

Twin towns – sister cities

Sovetsk is twinned with: [15]

Notable people

Max von Schenkendorf Schenkendorf stahlstich.jpg
Max von Schenkendorf
Frank Wisbar 1959 Frank Wisbar 910-4572.jpg
Frank Wisbar 1959
John Kay John Kay.JPG
John Kay
Coat of arms of Tilsit (1905) Wappen von Tilsit.gif
Coat of arms of Tilsit (1905)

The town is the location of a scene in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (Book Two Part Two Chapter 21). [17]

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  2. "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 Resolution #639
  4. 1 2 3 Law #376
  5. "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  6. Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  7. M. Kaemmerer (2004). Ortsnamenverzeichnis der Ortschaften jenseits von Oder u. Neiße (in German). ISBN   3-7921-0368-0.
  8. Belzyt, Leszek (1998). Sprachliche Minderheiten im preussischen Staat: 1815 - 1914 ; die preußische Sprachenstatistik in Bearbeitung und Kommentar. Marburg: Herder-Inst. ISBN   978-3-87969-267-5.
  9. Karabeshkin, Leonid; Wellmann, Christian (2004). The Russian Domestic Debate on Kaliningrad: Integrity, Identity and Economy. Münster: LIT Verlag. p. 35. ISBN   9783825879525.
  10. На карте Калининградской области появится Тильзитский район?. Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). March 24, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  11. Stolyarov, Bulat (March 25, 2010). Переименовать город дорого, нужно четко понимать зачем. Snob.ru (in Russian). Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  12. PONARS Eurasia Memo #16. "EU–Russian Border Security. Stereotypes and Realities." (PDF). (55 Kb])
  13. "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 via Demoscope Weekly.
  14. Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000](XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  15. "Наши партнеры". sovetsk.gov39.ru (in Russian). Sovetsk. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  16. Armin Mueller-Stahl Ehrenbürger seiner Heimatstadt Berliner Zeitung, 8 December 2011 (in German)
  17. Tolstoy, Leo (1949). War and Peace. Garden City: International Collectors Library. pp. 204, 235.

Sources