จีคลับคาสิโน สมัครคาสิโ 2018 City Guide: Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad at a Glance
Population: 430,000
Stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium
Number of matches: 4

Croatia – Nigeria
Serbia – Switzerland
Spain – Morocco
England – Belgium

Kaliningrad is somewhat different and isolated to any of the other eleven host cities; it is quite simply in an enclave wholly surrounded by Lithuania, Poland, and crucially, the Baltic Sea. However, the city plays host to arguably one of the most intriguing and highly-anticipated matchups of the whole group stages; England – Belgium. On the other hand, it is also just one of three of the host cities to miss out on hosting any of the knockout stage games.

The จีคลับคาสิโน สมัครคาสิโ Stadia

Kaliningrad Stadium

Known as the monicker above for the duration of the tournament, the projected 35,212 capacity stadium will change name to the Baltika Arena once the tournament is over, named after the club who will move in their new home; Baltika Kaliningrad. However, by the time Baltika move in, the capacity of the stadium to a much more manageable 25,000 – minimising the risk of the beautiful, two-tiered stadium becoming a white elephant.

Specifically designed and built for the 2018 จีคลับคาสิโน สมัครคาสิโ on Oktyabrsky Island, right in the centre of the city. The location site has long been an unused wasteland for much of its history, but achieving host city status prompted the Kaliningrad Oblast local government to develop the area into a centrepiece of footballing culture. Ironically, as a result, the stadium itself is located 26 miles from the Polish border, and over 670 miles from Moscow.

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The actual stadium infrastructure broke ground in July 2015, and still stands unfinished – the delay was due to a number of factors; numerous funders and building companies such as Mostovik going out of business, the extensive soil compacting work that was necessary pre-build in order to prevent frequent flooding in winters and actually discovering pre-WW2 building during excavation that required archeological study and topographical surveying while the stadium construction itself was delayed for months.

Although initially planned to have been completed and opened by November 2017, the stadium has now cost over $300m and is set  on 22 March when Baltika face Schalke, according to the deputy Prime Minister of the Kaliningrad regional government, Aleksandr Shenderuk-Zhidkov.

Kaliningrad’s History

Isolated from the mainland, and German until 1933, Kaliningrad is an unusual place to many Russians, and likewise to just as many Europeans due to the interesting clash of cultures.

Until 1255, the area was a built-up fort and town known as Twangste, a Sambian Old Prussian fort which was taken over by the Teutonic Knights and renamed Königsberg in 1855. The area has since been under control of the Kingdom of Poland, the Teutonic Knights again, various different forms of Prussia, the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany – only actually under control of the Russian Empire from 1758-64 and Soviet/Russian rule now since 1945.

A devastated Königsberg after the Germans surrendered in April 1945. | Source: History Images.

Königsberg was occupied by the Red Army on 9 April 1945 and became a Russian city in a Decree of 4 July 1946, named after Communist Party apparatchik Mikhail Kalinin who had died just a month earlier from cancer. Renamed along with Tver, and Korolyov (the latter in 1938, previously Podlipki) and is now the only one of the three that has kept Kalinin’s name following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Ever since 4 July 1946, the region has been more than just a constituent part of the country, but has been (unofficially) granted elevated status as the ‘Baltic Republic within the Russian Federation’.

Despite being located in an enclave between Poland and Lithuania, entirely cut off from the rest of Russia, and thus an outside member of both Russia in general and the world of Russian football. However, it is very important to Russia’s national interests as the whole region is a key political site within the Russian Federation (and more importantly to Putin himself) as an important military base on the Baltic Sea. Baltiysk, located in the Baltyisk Strait on the Baltic Sea is the only Russian north-eastern seaport which is ice-free all-year and maintains the whole of the Baltic fleet.

Baltiysk Seaport | Source: CruiseMapper

This has solved a problem which has dogged the nation since the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. Ironically, from 1900 the Baltiysk strait could inhabit ships drawing more than two meters (6 ft 7 in) of water thanks to the building of a new boat canal, just before the war. Therefore, for the whole century, this has been marked territory, and will likely now remain Russian for the foreseeable. This important geopolitical status is precisely why Kaliningrad is one of the 2018 จีคลับคาสิโน สมัครคาสิโ venues, despite being so far from anywhere and seemingly non-Russian to the non-European eye.

Football in Kaliningrad

Football in the area is dominated by Baltika Kaliningrad, who is the only Russian professional football team for 515 miles (Zenit and Dinamo in St. Petersburg). They were originally formed in 1954 as Pishchevik Kaliningrad. Renamed Baltika in 1957, the club dotted around Class B of the Vershaya Liga, played in the second group of Class A in the 70s, before winning their regional tournament in the Soviet Second League in 1984.

Against the political and economic upheaval of the collapse of the USSR, Baltika qualitatively reorganised in 1992 and became one of the most successful teams of the Russian First League, finishing third in 1994 and under Ukrainian honoured coach Leonid Tkachenko, won the First League in 1995 and even partook in the Intertoto Cup during the mid-90s.

However,, its golden period fell apart just before the turn of the millennium, as they changed head coach 20 times from 1999-2011 and spent this whole period in the Football National League (FNL), the Russian second tier, bar three season back in the Premier League from 2006-2010, finishing 14th, 15th, 7th, 9th and finally were relegated back into the FNL.

The club currently lies sixth in the FNL at the time of writing, five points behind the relegation play-off places. The Kaliningrad Stadium replaces Baltika’s ageing home, the 14,000-seater Baltika Stadium is run down after over 100 years of constant use.

Kaliningrad’s current Baltika Stadium, to be repalced by the new venue. | Source: FIFA.

Baltika’s attendances averaged out at 3,394 last season, filling only 23% of their current home which is less than half the size of the prospective Kaliningrad Stadium. The club will likely struggle to maintain maintenance costs of their new home but have been given the stadium even while under great risk of relegation to the Professional Football League, the third tier. Rumours of former Lokomotiv Moscow president Olga Smordskaya taking over as CEO refuse to go away, and the threat of relegation had lingered previously. But the club has started this season’s FNL successfully. The Kaliningrad-based team balance either on the edge of success or failure and if they sway towards the latter may become another dissolved team with a giant empty stadium like the snow leopards of Alania Vladikavkaz.

What to do in Kaliningrad

A mix of historic Baltic and Soviet natures, Kaliningrad is a true cultural clash. This will most certainly be the most recognisable city to any Western European travelling to Russia for the first time during the จีคลับคาสิโน สมัครคาสิโ, with typical Stalinist brutalist architecture interwoven with cosmopolitan enclaves typical of Germany today.

Of the latter, the most impressive and immediately recognisable are arguably Kaliningrad Cathedral, the 17th Century red-brick bastion walls and gates such as the Friedland Gate and Altes Haus. On the other hand, typical Soviet culture can be experienced through going to see the Bunker Museum – the site on which Axis Commander Otto Lasch capitulated to the Soviet invading force from a buried command post on 9 April 1945, following the bloody Battle of Königsberg.

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Dom Sovietov (House of Soviets) is another spectacle to behold. The massive, dilapidated but grand building replaced the old Kaliningrad Castle in the mid-sixties after the Soviet authorities decided to destroy the old castle. Left abandoned since construction due to the discovery of a hollow, flooded crevice right underneath, it is an eponymous and oxymoronic image resonating the Soviet Union itself; materially magnificent and monolithic but rotten and decayed beneath the layers.

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A variety of different cuisines can be enjoyed in the city, from Italian to French, and Russian to Hungarian. The food spans all of the European diets, but one restaurant which comes highly recommended in Khmel. If one wishes to enjoy the typical Soviet and Russian cuisine, look no farther. It looks like an old brewery but features a menu including the usual array of pickled and salted foods, duck, fish, caviar and anything else you may expect. The alcoholic dark-Kvass come’s is a particular highlight.

The city has bus, trolleybus, minibus and tram networks, but the best and most efficient way to travel within Kaliningrad is easily by the former. Over half of the 400,000-strong population live inside the city limits, and therefore the transport in the area is good – but it’ll be interesting to see how it is strained with the influx of tourists a relatively small city like Kaliningrad could hardly withstand. Fares are kept low, at a flat rate of RUB 20, but may increase during WC time, and shorts are relatively low. As with any non-Russian speaker travelling in the country, the transport system may be somewhat daunting, but I’d highly recommend the Yandex Transport app, which shows both Latin and Cyrillic translations of busses, stops etc.

Kaliningrad is a small, but historic and interesting city – I’d hugely recommend a trip here for anyone hesitant to enter Russia proper and brave the huge distances between cities.

If you have any questions about Kaliningrad or the จีคลับคาสิโน สมัครคาสิโ, feel free to contact us on Twitter (@), on or simply leave a comment beneath this article, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

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Born and raised in South Shields, the direct mid-point between Sunderland and Newcastle in North-East England during an era of sustained success and European football for the Magpies, while the Black Cats floundered in the lower divisions, so naturally I decided to support Sunderland. I’ve developed an interest in Russian football over the last decade or so, but it piqued while studying for my Masters’ Degree in Russian and Soviet History, and I’ve been hooked by Spartak Moscow ever since. Considers Eduard Streltsov the best of his generation, and a fond proponent of his repatriation.

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