Rezeda Lyykorpi is a doctoral researcher in the International Research Training Group “Baltic Peripeties” at the University of Greifswald and a student in the Doctoral Programme in Social and Cultural Encounters at the University of Eastern Finland. Her research interests include memory and migration studies. In the qualitative study on the Königsberg’s memory in Kaliningrad her ex-Kaliningrader background helps her to apply both insider and outsider positions while dealing with the multivocality of perspectives on the respective phenomenon.
A Place with a Powerful Past: Representations of Königsberg’s Memory in Kaliningrad
My PhD project is focused on the memory of German Königsberg in today’s Kaliningrad – Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea. The main aim of this research is to explore how memory of Königsberg is represented and interpreted by Kaliningraders, who are mostly ethnic Russians. After the end of World War II, the territory of Königsberg and the adjacent areas were transferred to the Soviet Union. This was followed by the expulsion of the German population, which was replaced by settlers from the different parts of the Soviet Union. The Soviet administration tried to control the interest in remains of German culture and pre-war history of the region among Soviet settlers of Kaliningrad Oblast. With rare exceptions, open expression of interest in memory of Königsberg and East Prussia became possible only after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Today, interest in Königsberg’s memory is visible among the local residents of Kaliningrad. I am going to approach Kaliningraders’ interest and attitude towards pre-war memory of the region through examination of representations of German culture in urban space and museum exhibitions. Also, I am going to collect and analyze oral stories about material objects related to Königsberg. In the latest conceptualization of this research, memory of Königsberg is characterized as cultural memory. Thus, memory of Königsberg is transmitted to Kaliningraders predominantly through such media as texts and images, instead of communications with the residents of Königsberg.
- “Königsberg Is Not Forgotten: Exhibiting German Past in Kaliningrad Museums,” panel Re/creating Belonging in and through Museums, Memory Studies Association (MSA) 7th annual conference Communities and Change, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, July 3-7, 2023.
- Project presentation, PhD colloquium organised by Prof. Dr Stefan Berger, Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr University Bochum, June 28, 2023.
- “The Explosive Power of Hidden Peripeties – the Application of the Concept of Peripety and Memory of Königsberg in Kaliningrad,” international workshop The Same Event? Morphologies, Reflections, Disseminations, organised by the IRTG Baltic Peripeties. Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes, Institute for Cultural Research, University of Tartu, December 15-17, 2022.
- Project presentation at the Eastern European Memory Studies Summer School Translating Memories in Literature, Film, Museums, and Monuments, organised by the ERC-project Translating Memories: The Eastern European Past in the Global Arena, Roosta/Estonia, July 11-15, 2022.
- “Creeping Germanisation and Debates over Königsberg’s Memory in Kaliningrad,” Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO) annual conference Baltic Sea in Exchange. Transformations between Conflict and Cooperation, University of Greifswald, July 7-9, 2022.
- “The Myth of Königsberg in Kaliningrad. Reconfiguring History in Museums and Urban Space,” 28th Biennial AABS Conference Baltic Studies at a Crossroads, organized by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS), Seattle, WA, May 27-29, 2022.
- Panel participation: “Borders, Memories and Europe: Transnational Memory Politics from the Historical and Contemporary Perspective II,” Bomocult seminar Engaging Borders as a Site of Encounters: New Directions in Interdisciplinary Research, Joensuu, October 13, 2017.
University studies and degrees
- Since April 2021
- Doctoral Researcher at the International Research Training Group “Baltic Peripeties. Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes” at the University of Greifswald.
- 09/2017 – 06/2025 (estimation)
- Doctoral Programme in Social and Cultural Encounters. Major: Social and Public Policy, University of Eastern Finland.
- 09/2014 – 09/2016
- Master’s Degree programme in the Social Sciences, programme: Border Crossings: Global and Local Societies in Transition. Major: Borders, Society and Cultural Diversity (Sociology), University of Eastern Finland.
- 09/2005 – 05/2010
- Specialist Degree in Psychology, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Faculty of Psychology and Social work (Kaliningrad, Russia).
- 10/2016 – 11/2016
- Research Assistant in the project “Environmental History fo the Finnish-Russian Green Belt,” Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, University of Eastern Finland.
- 03/2015 – 06/2015
- Internship at the Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland; Research Assistant in the project “Career Mobility of Russian Healthcare Professionals in Finland: Trends, Patterns and Effects”.