2021, January 31

Author: Algirdas Bakas

In 2015, the travelling photographer Algirdas Bakas visited the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation, which is a mere 24 kilometers away from his hometown of Jurbarkas. This territory, stretching between Lithuania and Poland, turned from Königsberg, the spearhead of Prussian German grandeur, into the most militarized part of the Soviet Union – Kaliningrad.

In Kaliningrad, the amalgam of East and West is obvious not only in the public space but also in the portraits of the people the photographer met during his journey. Ironically, the locals value anything vaguely Western, even if it is just inauthentic “Euro renovation”, low-quality garments, selfies and so on. On the other hand, Soviet legacy, especially that which is of interest to Westerners, is admired just as fervently as the “novelties” brought by Western culture. Thus, in Kaliningrad nostalgia for the West is mixed with nostalgia for the East.

Bakas’ Kaliningrad series acts as an anthropological and social research into Soviet legacy, which reveals both the facade and the peripheral faces of Kaliningrad.

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