A joke on social media proposing that Czechs seize the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has gone viral, sparking mirth as well as anger from those taking it as real.
Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský took to Twitter to share a map of Kaliningrad split down the middle into two zones occupied by Poland and the Czech Republic, ironically celebrating Czechs’ newfound access to the sea.
The trolling quickly took off from there. On Tuesday morning, Czech search engine Seznam.cz took it one step further, adding Královecký kraj to its list of Czech regions people can search for houses and properties in.
Later that same day, a newly created Twitter account @KralovecCzechia announced the success of the initiative: “After a successful referendum, 97,9% of Kaliningrad residents decided to merge with the Czech Republic and rename Kaliningrad to Královec.”
The activists will hold a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Prague to demonstrate “the seriousness of their intentions”.
The rally “Make Královec Czech Again!” will take place today (Monday, October 10). Participants will gather at 16:30 in Boris Nemtsov Square to deliver an official letter to the Russian Ambassador demanding to immediately announce a referendum in the Kaliningrad region on joining the Czech Republic.
“To date, 1,900 people have expressed their intention to attend the event. Another 7,000 users have given him the status of “interest”.
“Would you like to follow Russia’s example and use democratic instruments to secure the future of the Czech Republic based on the right of people to self-determination? Then join us on Monday to formally demand a referendum in the Kaliningrad region to join the Czech Republic. This territory is historically Czech, and the city of Kaliningrad was founded in honor of the Czech king Přemysl Otakar II. It is time for it to return to the bosom of Mother Bohemia,” states the event.
The capital of the enclave was founded in the 13th century by Teutonic knights and named Königsberg (King’s Hill) in honor of then-Czech King Premysl Otakar II.
The area belonged to Germany until 1945 when it was ceded to Russia as compensation after World War II.
Now bordering the two EU and NATO countries Poland and Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave has remained under the control of the Russian Federation since the collapse of the USSR. But Moscow’s recent illegal annexation of Ukrainian districts appears to have opened Pandora’s finicky territorial box.