German national past for Kaliningrad. We wish to examine how the mean-ings of Kaliningrad’s boundaries have been discursively constructed and askthe question if and how they were remade through the anniversaries of 2005and 2006.
Social memory had a particularly important role to play in thoseanniversaries, which rested on diverse and often conﬂicting constructions of an identitarian past for Kaliningrad
Königsberg. Social memory is strongly connected to narrativity: mnemonic practices seek to establish workable nar-ratives giving continuity and meaning. The evocation of Kaliningrad’s past was to give meaning to the present. Traditions are remembered throughcommemorative practices and the repetition of these practices heightensthe awareness of objects and places endowed with identitarian meaning.However, in cases of traumatic memory, such continuity and meaning is farmore difﬁcult to achieve. And in the case of Kaliningrad, the memory of the past, for Russians and Germans alike, is certainly very traumatic, divisiveand discontinuous. The question in this case is whether mnemonic bridgescan be built between the pre- and post-traumatic worlds to come to a work-able memory of territorial space. How can one avoid the Russian symbolicappropriation of Königsberg becoming a thorn in the side of German coun-termemories? Is social memory not suited to identity construction, as it is toocontested, conﬂict-ridden and endowed with unequal power relationships? What we are dealing with when we analyse commemorations, like the onesin Kaliningrad in 2005 and 2006, are not uniﬁed memories, but a set of mnemonic practices which operate in a given mnemonic ﬁeld, where nar-ratives are in an ongoing dialogue with other narratives.
Commemorationslike the one that we examine here can be understood as ‘constitutive nar-ratives’, which are crucial to the functioning of social memory. As Geoffrey Cubitt has argued: ‘commemorative occasions and ceremonies do indeedcontribute distinctively, and in many social settings vitally, to making the pastan active rather than a merely passive element in people’s social awareness. . . they are instrumental in constituting the past that is to be remembered,and the collectivity that is expected to do the remembering. . . . They offeroccasions for communities to take stock of, to debate, and perhaps to adjustthe meanings they ﬁnd in their own history and the shapes they give to theircollective identity . . .’
Commemorative occasions in the oblast of Kaliningrad underwent a variety of permutations since the late 1980s, and this article will shed lighton most attempts to reconstruct a usable past that are associated with thedouble anniversary that the city celebrated in 2005 and 2006. The work of Olga Sezneva has reminded us that since the second half of the 1980s many Kaliningraders have rediscovered the German past of their city as an appeal-ing alternative to the grey drabness of Soviet Communism.
Ever since theend of the Cold War and the independence of the three Baltic republics,the enclave status of Kaliningrad has led to wild discussion, sometimes
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