An online petition is proposing that the city of Kaliningrad in the Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, be annexed to the Czech Republic. According to the authors of the petition, Czech King Ottokar II founded the city in the middle of the 13th century, which means Czechia is entitled to it.
“We, therefore, demand the government of the Czech Republic to send Czech soldiers to Kaliningrad, announce a referendum that will end with a result of 98% in favor of joining the Czech Republic, and subsequently annex Kaliningrad and rename it Královec,” the petition states. The petition also won the favor of the Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský as well as Ivo Lukačovic, the founder of the Seznam.cz search engine.
The petition is meant as a form of criticism directed at Russia for its annexation of Ukrainian territory. The petition text labels the Russian annexation as illegitimate and argues that Russia is trying to justify an illegal land grab. Nevertheless, it has, so far, collected over 5,500 signatures.
“As Russia showed us in Crimea and is now showing in the east of Ukraine, it is perfectly fine to step onto the territory of a foreign state, announce a referendum there, and then annex the territory. We thus have a unique opportunity to expand the Czech territory and finally gain access to the sea,” reads the petition.
“We believe that Russia has been playing with Kaliningrad for too long. It is time to give it to a new state again, as has become the custom in the less than 800 years of its existence. And since the city was founded in honor of a Czech king, it should pass into the hands of the rightful owner – the Czech Republic,” the petition adds.
Královec is the original name of this city, under which it was founded. Since then, it has changed hands a number of times. Long a territory of first Prussia and later Germany, the city was lost to Russia following the Second World War.
As Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský pointed out, several dozen residents of the Kaliningrad region also signed the petition. At the time of this writing, 129 Russians have done so.
Calls for the annexation of Kaliningrad started a few days ago in Poland.
“It’s time to divide Kaliningrad so that our Czech brothers finally have access to the sea,” said a well-known Polish Twitter account.
Since then, many jokes and memes have sprung up on social networks slandering Russia and celebrating the “planned” annexation.
But as Jiří Peňás points out in his commentary for Echo24, Czech King Ottokar II also led an offensive crusade against the Prussians intending to annex foreign territory, the same thing Russia is now accused of.
“Sure, it didn’t mean the same thing in the Middle Ages, but you know…” Peňás added.