Bolshoi colonises occupied territory

Bolshoi colonises occupied territory


norman lebrecht

March 05, 2020

Bolshoi announcement:
On February 25 in Kaliningrad the formal groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bolshoi branch to be built there took place at the construction site of the culture cluster on Oktyabrsky Island, followed by a gala performance of the Bolshoi Choir, Orchestra, and Opera and Ballet soloists at Yantar Hall in Svetlogorsk, Kaliningrad Region.

The Bolshoi Director General Vladimir Urin, Russian Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova, Governor of Kalinigrad region Anton Alikhanov, director of State Tretyakov Gallery Zelfira Tregulova, president of Social and Cultural Projects Foundation “National Cultural Heritage” Natalia Volynskaya attended the events. The branch in the country’s western most region will become the first in the history of the Bolshoi. It is planned to complete its construction within the project of a cultural-educational and museum complex (including branches of the Central Music School of Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Tretyakov Gallery, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, music school, student campus, housing for artists and tutors) in Kaliningrad by 2023.

Kaliningrad is the former Königsberg, capital of East Prussia, conquered by the Russians in January 1945 and occupied by them ever since.

When the United Nations proclaims that ocupation of territory taken in war is illegal, why does that not apply to Russia?

Or, for that matter, China (Tibet) and Turkey (Cyprus)?


  • Mike Schachter says:

    The UN’s principles are as always highly selective

  • AngloGerman says:

    It will always be Königsberg.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      The Soviets essentially removed the original population. It will never be Könisberg again.

      • Belissimo says:

        That’s what they do always, now putin russia does the same … with support of 511 cultural figures. Look at Crimea.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I am sure most reasonable people in Germany (I mean those who are not far right nationalists) would have no interest in regaining the city associated with Immanuel Kant. Germany should never forget the unspeakable crimes that were committed under its own name during the Nazi period. The loss of this city is only a small price to pay & is a reminder that far right politics would only end in disaster if its objectives are carried out in full.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Realistically the military involvement there is so great that there is not the slightest chance of it being restored to Germany and as you suggest most Germans would not be interested.

    • Steven Holloway says:

      Are you suggesting the Germans are anti-Kant? Please don’t tell me you are among those who trace Nazism to the writings of Kant, et al.

  • Glerb says:

    What utterly daft, irredentist nonsense. Treaties were signed at the end of the Second World War and new borders agreed upon, basta. Where would you stop? Do you want Germany to have Silesia back? Or Poland to have its old eastern half back from Belarus? Or Trieste to be Austrian?

    • AngloGerman says:


    • CP says:

      A treaty on this specific issue was never signed. It was mentioned in the Potsdam Agreement (1945) which was not a peace treaty according to international law, although it created accomplished facts:

      “The Conference examined a proposal by the Soviet Government to the effect that pending the final determination of territorial questions at the peace settlement, the section of the western frontier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which is adjacent to the Baltic Sea should pass from a point on the eastern shore of the Bay of Danzig to the east, north of Braunsberg–Goldap, to the meeting point of the frontiers of Lithuania, the Polish Republic and East Prussia. The Conference has agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate transfer to the Soviet Union of the City of Koenigsberg and the area adjacent to it as described above subject to expert examination of the actual frontier.”

      The USA and UK said they would support that. However, this was never actually confirmed in any treaty.

    • Bob says:

      Shameful article, maybe we should revisit German behaviour during the 2nd WW…

  • Tamino says:

    I would say those evil white Americans with European origins have to be thrown back into the Atlantic ocean. Who do these occupiers think they are?

    Why does that not apply to Russia?
    Don’t understand the question. What about Poland, “occupying” the other part of that region, south of the Russian border close to Kaliningrad?
    How in rage with hatred agains boogey man evil Russia must one be, to have such a distorted perspective on history?

    • Brettermeier says:

      “What about Poland, “occupying” the other part of that region, south of the Russian border close to Kaliningrad?”

      Erm. “The other part” is Lithuania and Belarus. Are you sure that’s a post СССР map you have there?

      • Eaglewing says:

        Eastern Prussia was actually divided between Russia and Poland. Lithuania and Belarus were never German territory, as Eastern Prussia was.

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    Another contribution of the city, perhaps one of the most significant and enduring, is the famous problem of the Seven Bridges of Königsberg:önigsberg

  • Akutagawa says:

    The Federal Republic of Germany recognised existing borders in Europe in the Moscow Treaty of 12 August 1970 and also formally waived all territorial claims to the former East Prussia as part of the Two Plus Four Agreement that led to German reunification. To that extent, your comments about Königsberg still being under occupation are nonsense. If you want to talk about illegally occupied territories, there are plenty of other places on the map that you could look at instead.

  • Steven Holloway says:

    Not occupation of the lands — that is a military matter — but the settlement of such territories. And that comes not from the U.N., but rather Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In the case of the West Bank in Israel, e.g., various authorities — the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, the U.N., the International Court of Justice, et al. — have stated their support for the application of the Article to the West Bank. But this is now, and, while there is so much to be learnt from History, no two events or sets of circumstances are exactly the same and so cannot be equated. And the Fourth Geneva Convention came about in 1949, after the occupation of numerous territories following the War. It was not retroactive and no law should be.

  • esfir ross says:

    Richard Wagner worked and got married in Konnigsberg. Woody Allen monument in this town-his original surname-Konigsberg.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    So the Big News here is the building of a new opera house and an ambitious cultural complex, which doesn’t exactly happen every week, does it?

    And instead we’re arguing over whether Russia should give back to Germany territory that it got a the end of World War II?

    Lotsa luck there. All my money’s on the Russians not giving up Kaliningrad (“Konigsberg,” as was) any time soon!

  • Brettermeier says:

    Or Karelia.

    “why does that not apply to Russia?”

    They have nukes. (The only reason we’re talking about NK, too, btw.)

  • Lausitzer says:

    And now let’s talk about Stettin, Danzig, Breslau, Krakau, Kattowitz, …

    Really, is it indeed considered as even a remote possibility that the land border between Poland and the Russian Federation (allegedly known as “Stalin’s slash” that divided Eastern Prussia) could ever become one between Poland and Germany, with only Königsberg being returned but all the other former parts of Germany not? Bemusing at best.

  • Nick says:

    UN vehemently condemns only when it comes to Israel. Other countries are of no concern for UN.

  • LewesBird says:

    I’m sure it’s just by oversight that the following weren’t mentioned: Bessarabia and Bukovina (taken in war by Ukraine and its predecessor), Südtirol/Trentino (taken in war by Italy), Silesia and Pomerania (taken in war by Poland), Corsica (taken in war by France), Gibraltar (taken in war by the United Kingdom), the Mexican Cession (taken in war by the United States), or Schleswig (taken in war by Germany) — to name but a few.

    I have deliberately left out the elephant in this particular room, dear to the heart of the commentator who came up with this “taken in war” specious trope — but working out what that one is is trivial and is left as an exercise to the reader.

  • Uncle Joe says:

    If not for Russians, Norman would be a bar of soap. It’s a never-ending source of entertainment to see him peddling Russophobia daily and supporting Ukrainian Bandera nazi government. Now he is right on que weeping about poor Prussians occupied in Kaliningrad.Kuril islands are probably coming next week.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    As my mom used to say, “Possession is nine-tenths of the law.” Maybe more…..

  • Miguel Cervantes says:

    Regardless of what one thinks about a particular conflict, it is ridiculous to expect the UN to be impartial. Most of the countries in the UN are not democracies to begin with.