Poland has decided to use the historical name for the Russian city and administrative region, Kaliningrad, which is located on its border. The new name, Krolewiec, will now be used on Polish maps as recommended by the government commission for geographic names abroad.
The Kremlin has expressed anger at this decision, with spokesperson Dmitry Peskov calling it a process that goes beyond Russophobia and borders on insanity. The city was originally named Koenigsberg and was part of Germany until it was ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II. In 1946, it was renamed Kaliningrad after one of the Bolshevik revolution leaders, Mikhail Kalinin.
The Polish authorities have highlighted that Kalinin was one of six Soviet officials who ordered the execution of over 21,000 Polish prisoners of war at Katyn and other locations in 1940. They have argued that the current name, Kaliningrad, is artificial and lacks any connection to the city or the region. Instead, they believe that the centuries-old name of Krolewiec is part of Poland's cultural heritage.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has further strained the already tense relationship between Russia and Poland. Poland has been a strong ally of Kyiv, providing military support to Ukraine and advocating for greater international support for the country.
Recently, Russian politicians and some public figures have made inflammatory statements directed towards Poland.
Last week, a Russian fighter jet performed dangerous maneuvers near a Polish plane patrolling for the European border and coastal guard, FRONTEX, in the Black Sea region. As a result, Russia's ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, was summoned to Poland's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to address the incident.
On May 9, which is celebrated as Victory Day in Russia, Andreev faced opposition from Ukrainian and Polish activists who prevented him from laying a wreath at a monument in Warsaw that commemorates Soviet soldiers who died fighting the Nazis.