Joining Poland, Lithuania proposes renaming Kaliningrad to Karaliaučiaus
Lithuanian MPs have proposed to move away from using Soviet toponyms and rename Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave as Karaliaučiaus, Lithuanian newspaper Kauno Diena reported on May 12.
Conservative members of the Lithuanian parliament Vilius Semeška and Paulė Kuzmickienė have appealed to the State Commission for the Lithuanian Language to rename Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and the city of Kaliningrad. They propose to change those names to Karaliaučiaus.
The MPs stressed that the current name reflects a Russian narrative: the city was named in honor of the Bolshevik revolutionary Mikhail Kalinin after the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe in the wake of WWII.
Now, the parliamentarians propose to abandon the Soviet heritage and "not to pollute the state language with foreign bodies."
"We stand in solidarity with our Polish neighbors and urge you not to use the artificial names imposed on us in Lithuanian," one of the signatories said.
On May 9, Poland officially recommended that the Russian name of the city of Kaliningrad and Kaliningrad Oblast be abandoned and that Królewiec, Królewiec Oblast, be translated into Polish as the historical name of Konigsberg. Warsaw called the current name of the city "artificial and imposed."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Poland's decision to change the use of the Russian name of Kaliningrad "borders on madness."
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