Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast

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Sovetsk

Советск
Sovetsk2.png
The old town of Sovetsk, with German-era buildings
Flag of Sovetsk (Kaliningrad oblast).png
Flag
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Coat of arms
Location of Sovetsk
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Sovetsk
Location of Sovetsk
Russia Kaliningrad location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Sovetsk
Sovetsk (Kaliningrad Oblast)
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
Area
  Total44.4 km2 (17.1 sq mi)
Elevation
10 m (30 ft)
Population
  Total41,705
  Estimate 
(2018) [2]
39,752 (-4.7%)
  Density940/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
  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 Blue pencil.svg [5] )
Postal code(s) [6]
238750
Dialing code(s) +7 40161
Twin towns Tauragė, Kiel, Bełchatów Blue pencil.svg
OKTMO ID27730000001
Website sovetsk-tilsit.ru

Sovetsk (Russian : Сове́тск), before 1946 known as Tilsit [7] (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 language East Slavic language

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 language language spoken in Lithuania

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 language West Slavic language spoken in Poland

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.

Contents

Geography

Sovetsk lies at the confluence of the Tilse River (Russian: Тыльжа Tylzha, Lithuanian Tilžė) with the Neman.

History

Napoleon, Alexander I, Queen Louise, and Frederick William III in Tilsit Treaty of Tilsit.jpg
Napoleon, Alexander I, Queen Louise, and Frederick William III in Tilsit

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.

German town law

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, Duke of Prussia last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, first Duke of Prussia

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.

Treaties of Tilsit peace treaties between Napoleonic France and (a) Russia and (b) Prussia

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 of Russia Emperor of Russia

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.

Kingdom of Westphalia former country

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 of Prussia King of Prussia

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.

Max von Schenkendorf Prussian poet, song-writer and soldier

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.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

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. [8] 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. [9] 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. [10]

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. [11] 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.

Historical population

Ethnic composition in 2010:[ citation needed ]

Twin towns and sister cities

Sovetsk is twinned with:

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)

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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 23 January 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 Resolution #639
  4. 1 2 3 Law #376
  5. "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). 3 June 2011. Retrieved 19 January 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. Karabeshkin, Leonid; Wellmann, Christian (2004). The Russian Domestic Debate on Kaliningrad: Integrity, Identity and Economy. Münster: LIT Verlag. p. 35. ISBN   9783825879525.
  9. (in Russian) "На карте Калининградской области появится Тильзитский район?". Komsomolskaya Pravda . 24 March 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  10. (in Russian)Stolyarov, Bulat (25 March 2010). "Переименовать город дорого, нужно четко понимать зачем". Snob.ru. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  11. PONARS Eurasia Memo #16. "EU–Russian Border Security. Stereotypes and Realities." (PDF). (55 Kb])
  12. Russian Federal State Statistics Service (21 May 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).
  13. "Portal Bełchatów" [Bełchatów - Partnership Cities]. Miasto Bełchatów [Bełchatów town council] belchatow.pl (in Polish). 2010. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  14. Armin Mueller-Stahl Ehrenbürger seiner Heimatstadt Berliner Zeitung, 8 December 2011 (in German)

Sources