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Social Media Joke About Annexing Kaliningrad Goes Viral

@KralovecCzechia / twitter

A joke on social media proposing that Czechs seize the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has gone viral, sparking mirth as well as anger from those taking it as real.

"Time to split Kaliningrad so that our Czech brothers have access to the sea," a Pole identifying himself as "Papiez internetu" (pope of the internet) tweeted last month.

He added a map of the small exclave encircled by Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea, dividing it into a Polish and Czech part.

The capital of the enclave was founded in the 13th century by Teutonic knights and named Königsberg (King's Hill) in honor of then-Czech King Premysl Otakar II.

The area belonged to Germany until 1945 when it was ceded to Russia as compensation after World War II.

Inspired by the annexation of four Ukrainian regions by Russia last week, the tweet sparked a storm of memes and jokes in the Czech Republic and Poland alike.

"Make Kaliningrad Czech Again!" read an appeal inviting Czechs to a happening outside the Russian embassy in Prague next Monday.

Polish Twitter user Tomasz Komentasz depicted an aircraft carrier named "Karel Gott" after a late Czech singer as it "leaves the Kaliningrad base for the Baltic Sea waters."

A viral meme portrays Russian President Vladimir Putin, looking relaxed on the phone, saying: "What is the situation in Kaliningrad?"

In the next picture, he looks alarmed, exclaiming: "What do you mean, ahoj?" — "ahoj" being Czech for "hello."

Some have proposed an underground line connecting the second Czech city of Brno, Warsaw and Kaliningrad.

Others are planning "Beer Stream II" connecting Prague and Kaliningrad, in reference to the Nord Stream gas pipeline and the Czechs' favorite drink.

Czech politician Tomas Zdechovsky, a European Parliament deputy, gave the joke a boost when he shared it on Twitter — but the decision did not go down well in Russia.

The EurAsia Daily news site slammed him for his "revanchist" post, and it later called the authors of a mock petition for the annexation of Kaliningrad "provocateurs."

"Russians don't have much sense of humor," Zdechovsky quipped on Twitter.

The Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, has provided Ukraine with hefty humanitarian and military aid since it was invaded by Russia in February.

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