The oblast forms the westernmost part of the Russian Federation, but it has no land connection to the rest of Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union it has been an exclave of Russia surrounded by Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea. Borderless travel to the main part of Russia is only possible by sea or air. This political isolation became more pronounced when Lithuania and Poland both became members of the European Union and NATO, and entered the Schengen Zone, which means that the oblast is surrounded by the territories of these organizations as well.[...]
An entire German city emptied and repopulated, now an outpost of empire.
During World War II the Soviet Red Army entered the eastern-most tip of East Prussia on August 29, 1944 near Goldap and Nemmersdorf. Evidence of the massacre committed by the Soviet troops in the East Prussian village of Nemmersdorf spread panic in the province and urged a mass flight westward. However, in spite of this, the Nazis kept East Prussia's civil population firmly at home by threat of a death-penalty for 'cowardly deserting'. As evacuation was only allowed at the very last moment, many were unable to escape — overrun by Soviet units or caught at home. They were killed by the Soviet army, as well as by the severe frost.
More than two million people were evacuated, many of them via the Baltic Sea. The remaining population was deported after the war ended and the area was repopulated primarily by the Russians and, to a lesser extent, by the Ukrainians and Belarusians.