Mock Czech Annexation of Kaliningrad / Královec
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The Mock Czech Annexation of Kaliningrad refers to an online trolling campaign led by people from the Czech Republic (Czechia) who signed a petition to annex the isolated Kaliningrad region of Russia and rename it Královec in retaliation to Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine. A petition was created for the annexation and received almost 15,000 signatures in late September 2022. A Twitter "referendum" was also created, and the movement was supported by Czech officials in the European Parliament. It originally started via NAFO influences. In turn, the event led to widespread memes and discussions across social media into early October 2022.
On September 20th, 2022, Twitter user mr_mieps tweeted, "I am hereby declaring a referendum will be held in #Kaliningrad tomorrow," further stating that the North Atlantic Fella Organization (NAFO) was to declare Russia's isolated territory Kaliningrad a protectorate. Kaliningrad notably resides along the Baltic Sea away from Russia's borders. The tweet received roughly 1,400 likes in 16 days (shown below, left). In turn, the tweet generated NAFO-associated memes in its replies, like one tweeted by Twitter user mr_mieps themself that featured Cheems (shown below, right).
NAFO was prompted to "annex" Kaliningrad due to Russia's then-recent mobilization in the region. Plus, Russia's movement of nuclear devices amid the conflict in late September 2022 sparked protests in Kaliningrad, portraying how the region was politically and ideologically strayed from mainland Russia.
Hours later on September 20th, 2022, Twitter user Professor_SE0 tweeted a referendum poll that asked, "What country / institution would you like to belong to?" After 24 hours, the poll received 495 votes with 94 percent of them voting for NAFO's annexation. Over the course of 16 days, the tweet received 15 likes (shown below).
Inspired by NAFO's antics and concept, on September 28th, 2022, Czech Twitter user mihaszek tweeted, "Czas podzielić Kaliningrad tak, aby nasi bracia Czesi mieli w końcu dostęp do morza," which in English translates to, "It's time to divide Kaliningrad so that our Czech brothers finally have access to the sea." The tweet attached a map of Russia's Kaliningrad, suggesting that Czechia should annex half of Kaliningrad, thereby mocking President Putin's decision to annex parts of eastern Ukraine. Over the course of eight days, the tweet received roughly 32,700 likes (shown below).
On September 29th, 2022, the Russian military reportedly moved 80 percent of its troops in Kaliningrad to its frontlines in Ukraine in order to make up for its losses there, inspiring more unrest and discussion within and about Kaliningrad.
Also on September 29th, Twitter user and Czech member of the European Parliament Tomáš Zdechovský quote retweeted mihaszek's tweet, stating, "'Je čas rozdělit Kaliningrad, aby naši čeští bratři měli konečně přístup k moři' A pak nemilujte Polaky 😄," which translates in English to, "'It's time to divide Kaliningrad so that our Czech brothers finally have access to the sea' And then don't love Poles 😄." The QT received roughly 10,500 likes in one week (shown below, left). Additionally, that same day, Twitter user JindraTheClumsy tweeted a reply to mihaszek's tweet, stating, "Make Kaliningrad Královec Again!" earning over 840 likes in one week (shown below, right).
On September 29th, 2022, a petition was created on the website Petice.com titled, "Petice za vyhlášení referenda o připojení Kaliningradu k České republice." In one week, the petition received roughly 15,000 Czech signatures. News outlets like The New York Post covered the growing story in early October 2022 due to the influx of memes that occurred following the petition's virality.
 Twitter – @Professor_SE0
 Twitter – @SamRamani2
 Twitter – @JackDetsch
 Twitter – @TomasZdechovsky
 Twitter – @JindraTheClumsy
 Petice – Petice za vyhlášení referenda o připojení Kaliningradu k České republice
 Twitter – @Sigmund_Fellaud
 New York Post – Czechs troll Russia with mock annexation of Kaliningrad
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