Kaliningrad, located between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea, is a city in Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave. At the time of the 2010 Russian census, Kaliningrad’s population stood at around 471,000.
According to 2010 Russian census data, the demographics of Kaliningrad are:
- Russian: 84.7%
- Ukrainian: 4%
- Belarusian: 3.7%
- Armenian: 0.8%
- Tatar: 0.5%
- Lithuanian: 0.4%
- German: 0.4%
- Polish: 0.3%
- Other nationalities: 2.5%
Originally an Old Prussian (Sambian) fort known as Twangste, this was destroyed in 1255. A new fortress called Königsberg was built in its place. The Old Prussian culture became extinct in the 1600s. Surviving Old Prussians were integrated into the new culture.
Once the area had become predominantly German over the 700 years since its foundation, the city was flourishing, and many of Köningsberg’s iconic landmarks were built. At this time, the city had around 370,000 people, and was an administrative and cultural center of the German Empire and Prussia.
When World War II came to an end in 1945, the city was annexed into the Soviet Union, and in 1946 renamed the city Kaliningrad. The surviving German population was forcibly expelled over the following three years, and Soviet citizens repopulated Kaliningrad.
As the westernmost region of the USSR, the Kaliningrad Oblast became an important strategic area during the Cold War. The Soviet Baltic Fleet was headquartered here during the 1950s and closed to all foreign visitors.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the area became an exclave, geographically separated from the rest of Russia due to its location between the borders of Belarus and Poland.
Up until its annexation and eventual renaming by the Soviet Union, the city of Köningsberg was seeing steady population growth.
Going back as far back as 1400, the city had a population of 10,000. Over 200 years later, in 1663, this had quadroupled to 40,000. Almost 200 years on from then, the city had reached around 84,000. At the turn of the 20th century, the population of Königsberg had risen to 189,000, including stationed military. By 1939, Königsberg had reached its peak, at 372,000. Six years later, however, by the end of the Second World War, this had dropped drastically to only 73,000.
Following the end of World War II, the original German population of Kaliningrad either fled or were expelled when the territory was annexed by the Soviet Union. As of 1945, only about 5,000 Soviet citizens were living in the territory. Between October of 1947 and October 1948, around 100,000 Germans were forcibly removed from the city and sent to Germany, and during this time around 400,000 Soviet citizens arrived in the Oblast.
Today, Kaliningrad has an estimated population of 471,000 people.