The old town of Sovetsk, with German-era buildings
|Federal subject||Kaliningrad Oblast|
|Town status since||1552|
|• Head||Viktor Smilgin|
|• Total||44.4 km2 (17.1 sq mi)|
|Elevation||10 m (30 ft)|
|• Estimate||39,752 (-4.7%)|
|• Density||940/km2 (2,400/sq mi)|
|• Subordinated to||town of oblast significance of Sovetsk|
|• Capital of||town of oblast significance of Sovetsk|
|• Urban okrug||Sovetsky Urban Okrug|
|• Capital of||Sovetsky Urban Okrug|
|Time zone|| UTC+2 (MSK–1 |
|Dialing code(s)||+7 40161|
|Twin towns|| Tauragė, Kiel, Bełchatów |
Sovetsk (Russian : Сове́тск), before 1946 known as Tilsit (Lithuanian : Tilžė; Polish : Tylża; German : Tilsit) in East Prussia, is a town in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the south bank of the Neman River.
Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.
Lithuanian is a Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Lithuanians and the official language of Lithuania as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.9 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 200,000 abroad.
Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Sovetsk lies at the confluence of the Tilse River (Russian: Тыльжа Tylzha, Lithuanian Tilžė) with the Neman.
Tilsit, which received civic rights from Albert, Duke of Prussia in 1552, grew up around a castle of the Teutonic Knights, known as the Schalauer Haus, founded in 1288.
The German town law or German municipal concerns was a set of early town privileges based on the Magdeburg rights developed by Otto I. The Magdeburg Law became the inspiration for regional town charters not only in Germany, but also in Central and Eastern Europe who modified it during the Middle Ages. The German town law was used in the founding of many German cities, towns, and villages beginning in the 13th century.
Albert of Prussia was the 37th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, who after converting to Lutheranism, became the first ruler of the Duchy of Prussia, the secularized state that emerged from the former Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights. Albert was the first European ruler to establish Lutheranism, and thus Protestantism, as the official state religion of his lands. He proved instrumental in the political spread of Protestantism in its early stage, ruling the Prussian lands for nearly six decades (1510–1568).
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.
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties were made at the expense of the Prussian king, who had already agreed to a truce on 25 June after the Grande Armée had captured Berlin and pursued him to the easternmost frontier of his realm. In Tilsit, he ceded about half of his pre-war territories.
Alexander I reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first Russian King of "Congress" Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.
The Kingdom of Westphalia was a kingdom in Germany, with a population of 2.6 million, that existed from 1807 to 1813. It included territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire and was ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte. It was named after Westphalia, but this was a misnomer since the kingdom had little territory in common with that area; rather the kingdom mostly covered territory formerly known as Eastphalia.
This short-lived peace-treaty is also remarkable for quite another reason. Three days before its signing, 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 greatly 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. 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. It 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.
Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe. He was determined to unify the Protestant churches, to homogenize their liturgy, their organization and even their architecture. The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches in the Prussian Union of Churches.
Gottlob Ferdinand Maximilian Gottfried von Schenkendorf was a German poet, born in Tilsit and educated at Königsberg. During the War of Liberation, in which he took an active part, Schenkendorf was associated with Arndt and Körner in the writing of patriotic songs. His poems were published as Gedichte (1815), Poetischer Nachlass (1832), and Sämtliche Gedichte. For his Life, consult Hagen ; Knaake ; E. von Klein, M. von Schenkendorf.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
According to German data in 1890 35% of the Tilsit district (which Tilsit was not part of) population was composed of Prussian Lithuanians.[ citation needed ]
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 by the new communist rulers, in honor of Soviet rule.
Modern Sovetsk has sought to take advantage of Tilsit's rich traditions 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, given its significance in Russian history.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 Nemen 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. 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.
In April 2007, government restrictions on visits to border areas have been 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.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.
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.As a municipal division, the town of oblast significance of Sovetsk is incorporated as Sovetsky Urban Okrug.
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.
Ethnic composition in 2010:[ citation needed ]
Sovetsk is twinned with:
Gusev, previously known by its German name Gumbinnen, is a town and the administrative center of Gusevsky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Pissa and Krasnaya Rivers, near the border with Poland and Lithuania, east of Chernyakhovsk. Population: 28,260 (2010 Census); 28,467 (2002 Census); 27,031 (1989 Census).
Zelenogradsk, prior to 1946 known by its German name Cranz, is a town and the administrative center of Zelenogradsky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located 34 kilometers (21 mi) north of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast, on the Sambian coastline near the Curonian Spit on the Baltic Sea. Population: 13,026 (2010 Census); 12,509 (2002 Census); 10,786 (1989 Census).
Neman, prior to 1946 known by its German name Ragnit, is a town and the administrative center of Nemansky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located in the historic East Prussia, on the steep southern bank of the Neman River, where it forms the Russian border with the Klaipėda Region in Lithuania, and 130 kilometers (81 mi) northeast of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 11,798 (2010 Census); 12,714 (2002 Census); 13,821 (1989 Census).
Gvardeysk, known prior to 1946 by its German name
Pravdinsk, prior to 1946 known by its German name Friedland is a town and the administrative center of Pravdinsky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the Lava River, approximately 30 kilometers (19 mi) east of Bagrationovsk and 53 kilometers (33 mi) southeast of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 4,323 (2010 Census); 4,480 (2002 Census); 4,143 (1989 Census).
Primorsk, prior to 1946 known by its German name Fischhausen, is a town in Baltiysky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the Vistula Lagoon.
Polessk, prior to 1946 known by its German name Labiau, is a town and the administrative center of Polessky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located 49 kilometers (30 mi) northeast of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast, at the junction of a main road and a railroad at the Deyma River, shortly before it enters the Curonian Lagoon. Population: 7,581 (2010 Census); 7,681 (2002 Census); 6,859 (1989 Census); 4,744 (1885).
Ladushkin, formerly known as Ludwigsort in German, is a town in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located between Kaliningrad and the Polish border. Population: 3,787 (2010 Census); 3,796 (2002 Census); 3,108 (1989 Census).
Slavsk, prior to 1946 known by its German name Heinrichswalde, is a town and the administrative center of Slavsky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located 105 kilometers (65 mi) northeast of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 4,614 (2010 Census); 5,172 (2002 Census); 4,682 (1989 Census).
Mamonovo, prior to 1945 known by its German name Heiligenbeil, is a town in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. Population: 7,761 (2010 Census); 7,393 (2002 Census); 7,816 (1989 Census).
Krasnoznamensk, formerly Lasdehnen and Haselberg (1938-1946), is a town and the administrative center of Krasnoznamensky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the Sheshupe River, 163 kilometers (101 mi) northeast of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast, and approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) to the south of the border with Lithuania. Population: 3,522 (2010 Census).
Pionersky is a town in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located along the Baltic Sea on the Sambian Peninsula, between Zelenogradsk and Svetlogorsk. Population: 11,016 (2010 Census); 11,816 (2002 Census); 11,635 (1989 Census). In the town there are a Residence of the President of the Russian Federation "Yantar" and the only Federal Children's orthopedic sanatorium in Russia "Pionersk".
Yantarny, previously known in German as
Bagrationovsky District is an administrative district (raion), one of the fifteen in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. As a municipal division, it is incorporated as Bagrationovsky Municipal District. It is located in the southwest of the oblast. The area of the district is 1,146 square kilometers (442 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Bagrationovsk. Population: 32,352 (2010 Census); 45,672 ; 39,724 (1989 Census). The population of Bagrationovsk accounts for 19.8% of the district's total population.
Chernyakhovsky District is an administrative district (raion), one of the fifteen in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. As a municipal division, it is incorporated as Chernyakhovsky Municipal District. It is located in the center of the oblast. The area of the district is 1,285.75 square kilometers (496.43 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Chernyakhovsk. Population: 51,936 (2010 Census); 57,521 ; 12,806 (1989 Census). The population of Chernyakhovsk accounts for 77.9% of the district's total population.
Nemansky District is an administrative district (raion), one of the fifteen in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. As a municipal division, it is incorporated as Nemansky Municipal District. It is located in the north of the oblast. The area of the district is 699.3 square kilometers (270.0 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Neman. Population: 20,132 (2010 Census); 22,536 ; 8,904 (1989 Census). The population of Neman accounts for 58.6% of the district's total population.
Nesterovsky District is an administrative district (raion), one of the fifteen in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. As a municipal division, it is incorporated as Nesterovsky Municipal District. It is located in the southeast of the oblast and borders with Krasnoznamensky District in the north, Lithuania in the east, Poland in the south, and with Gusevsky and Ozyorsky Districts in the west. The area of the district is 1,062 square kilometers (410 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Nesterov. Population: 16,213 (2010 Census); 17,250 ; 15,181 (1989 Census). The population of Nesterov accounts for 28.3% of the district's total population.
Guryevsk, previously known by its German name Neuhausen, is a town and the administrative center of Guryevsky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) northeast of Kaliningrad. Population: 12,431 (2010 Census); 10,913 (2002 Census); 7,934 (1989 Census).
Nesterov, until 1938 known by its German name Stallupönen and in 1938-1946 as Ebenrode, is a town and the administrative center of Nesterovsky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located 140 kilometers (87 mi) east of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast, near the Russian-Lithuanian border on the railway connecting Kaliningrad Oblast with Moscow. Population: 4,595 (2010 Census); 5,049 (2002 Census); 4,826 (1989 Census).
Baltiysky District is an administrative district (raion), one of the fifteen in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. As a municipal division, it is incorporated as Baltiysky Municipal District. Its administrative center is the town of Baltiysk, which accounts for 90.7% of the district's total population of 36,047 (2010 Census). It is the westernmost district in Russia, with the abandoned village of Narmeln being the westernmost point.