ABSTRACT

This chapter demonstrates that the construction of identity, whether national or place-based, evokes the construction and naturalization of particular visions of the past. Whereas in most places, the local past appears to stem 'naturally' from the reality of a local community, in Kaliningrad, the former German city Konigsberg, the local past is more obviously a construction and contested product - the weaving in between and among various problematic issues involving the Russian federal state, the local bureaucracy and the grass root cultural activism. This essay utilizes archival materials, original interviews and visual data on the Konigsberg Cathedral restoration as a point of entry into the phenomenon of the monumentalization of the past in the process of identity construction. The methods used in the K6nigsberger Dom restoration and the rhetoric surrounding it bear legacies, ideologies and discourses of the communist past, the Cold War, and the unfolding globalization. This essay looks beyond the premise that local histories are matters only of 'localities'. They are not independent realities, in which identities of local communities are rooted. This text argues instead that both the local pasts and local identities are inevitably constituted by a wider set of social and political relations, such as the restructuring of the Russian nation-state, the expansion of the European Union and the changing meaning of state territories.