Chernyakhovsk (Russian: Черняхо́вск) – known prior to 1946 by its German name of About this soundInsterburg[7] (Lithuanian: Įsrutis; Polish: Wystruć) – is a town in the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia, where it is the administrative center of Chernyakhovsky District. Located at the confluence of the Instruch and Angrapa rivers, which unite to become the Pregolya River below Chernyakhovsk, the town had a population in 2017 of 36,423.


In Chernyakhovsk
In Chernyakhovsk
Flag of Chernyakhovsk
Coat of arms of Chernyakhovsk
Coat of arms
Location of Chernyakhovsk
Chernyakhovsk is located in Kaliningrad Oblast
Location of Chernyakhovsk
Chernyakhovsk is located in European Russia
Chernyakhovsk (European Russia)
Chernyakhovsk is located in Europe
Chernyakhovsk (Europe)
Coordinates: 54°38′05″N 21°48′43″E / 54.63472°N 21.81194°E / 54.63472; 21.81194Coordinates: 54°38′05″N 21°48′43″E / 54.63472°N 21.81194°E / 54.63472; 21.81194
Federal subjectKaliningrad Oblast[1]
Administrative districtChernyakhovsky District[1]
Town of district significanceChernyakhovsk[1]
Town status since10 October 1583
 • Total58 km2 (22 sq mi)
30 m (100 ft)
 • Estimate 
 • Density628/km2 (1,630/sq mi)
 • Capital ofChernyakhovsky District[1], town of district significance of Chernyakhovsk[1]
 • Municipal districtChernyakhovsky Municipal District[4]
 • Urban settlementChernyakhovskoye Urban Settlement[4]
 • Capital ofChernyakhovsky Municipal District[4], Chernyakhovskoye Urban Settlement[4]
Time zoneUTC+2 (MSK–1 Edit this on Wikidata[5])
Postal code(s)[6]
238150–238154, 238158, 238165, 238169, 238170, 238816
Dialing code(s)+7 40141
OKTMO ID27739000001


Chernyakhovsk was founded in 1336 by the Teutonic Knights on the site of a former Old Prussian fortification when Dietrich von Altenburg, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, built a castle called Insterburg following the Prussian Crusade.[2] During the Teutonic Knights' Northern Crusades campaign against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the town was devastated in 1376 and then again by Polish troops in 1457. The castle had been rebuilt as the seat of a Procurator and a settlement also named Insterburg grew up to serve it.

When the Prussian Duke Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach in 1525 secularized the monastic State of the Teutonic Order, Insterburg became part of the Duchy of Prussia and was granted town privileges on 10 October 1583 by the Prussian regent Margrave George Frederick.[citation needed] Insterburg became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701, and because the area had been depopulated by plague in the early 18th century, King Frederick William I of Prussia invited Protestant refugees who had been expelled from the Archbishopric of Salzburg to settle in Insterburg in 1732.

In 1818, after the Napoleonic Wars, the town became the seat of Insterburg District within the Gumbinnen Region. Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly died at Insterburg in 1818 on his way from his Livonian manor to Germany, where he wanted to renew his health. In 1863, a Polish secret organization was founded and operated in Insterburg, which was involved in arms trafficking to the Russian Partition of Poland during the January Uprising. Since May 1864, the leader of the organization was Józef Racewicz.

A postcard view of Insterburg's Hindenburgstraße in about 1890

Insterburg became a part of the German Empire following the 1871 unification of Germany, and on May 1, 1901, it became an independent city separate from Insterburg District. During World War I the Russian Army seized Insterburg on 24 August 1914, but it was retaken by Germany on 11 September 1914. The Weimar Germany era after World War I saw the town separated from the rest of the country as the province of East Prussia had become an exclave. The association football club Yorck Boyen Insterburg was formed in 1921. During World War II, Insterburg was heavily bombed by the British Royal Air Force on July 27, 1944. The town was stormed by Red Army troops on January 21–22, 1945. As part of the northern part of East Prussia, Insterburg was transferred from Germany to the Soviet Union after the war as previously agreed between the victorious powers at the Potsdam Conference. The German population was either evacuated or expelled and replaced with Russians. On 7 April 1946, Insterburg was renamed as Chernyakhovsk in honor of the Soviet World War II Army General, Ivan Chernyakhovsky, who commanded the army that first entered East Prussia in 1944.[2]

After 1989, a group of people introduced the Akhal-Teke horse breed to the area and opened an Akhal-Teke breeding stable.

Administrative and municipal statusEdit

Within the framework of administrative divisions, Chernyakhovsk serves as the administrative center of Chernyakhovsky District.[1] As an administrative division, it is, together with five rural localities, incorporated within Chernyakhovsky District as the town of district significance of Chernyakhovsk.[1] As a municipal division, the town of district significance of Chernyakhovsk is incorporated within Chernyakhovsky Municipal District as Chernyakhovskoye Urban Settlement.[4]

Population trendsEdit

Year Number
1790 4,972, without military[8]
1875 16,303[9]
1880 18,745[9]
1885 22,227[9]
1890 31,624, incl. 437 Catholics and 348 Jews[9]
1900 27,787, incl. 788 Catholics and 350 Jews[10]
1910 31,624, incl. 29,672 Protestants and 1,040 Catholics[9]
1925 39,311, incl. 36,792 Protestants, 1,174 Catholics, 86 other Christians, and 338 Jews[9]
1933 41,230, incl. 39,458 Protestants, 1,078 Catholics, five other Christians, and 273 Jews[9]
1939 43,620, incl. 40,677 Protestants, 1,388 Catholics, 563 other Christians, and 87 Jews[9]
1959 approx. 29,100[citation needed]
1979 approx. 35,600[citation needed]
1989 Census 39,622[11]
2002 Census 44,323[12]
2010 Census 40,449[13]


Chernyakhovsk is home to the Chernyakhovsk naval air facility.

Coat of Arms ControversyEdit

Coat of arms of Insterburg

On September 2019 the local court ruled[14] that the coat of arms was illegal because it carries "elements of foreign culture." The local court alleged that Russian laws do not allow the use of foreign languages and symbols in Russian state symbols and ordered the town "to remove any violations of the law."

The town's coat of arms, adopted in 2002, was based on the historic coat of arms of the town that before 1946 was known under its original Prussian name - Insterburg.

The full version of coat of arms in question has a picture of a Prussian man with a horn and the Latin initials G.F. for the Regent of Prussia George Frederick, margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1543–1603), who gave Insterburg the status of town and with it his family coat of arms.

The case brought before the court follows a trend among several towns in the region that have announced their intentions to change their coat of arms as tensions mount between Russia and the West following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 and its support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's east.[14]

Notable peopleEdit

Twin towns and sister citiesEdit

Chernyakhovsk is twinned with:



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Resolution #640
  2. ^ a b c Энциклопедия Города России. Moscow: Большая Российская Энциклопедия. 2003. p. 517. ISBN 5-7107-7399-9.
  3. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Law #262
  5. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  6. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  7. ^ Kaemmerer, Margarete (2004). Ortsnamenverzeichnis der Ortschaften jenseits von Oder u. Neiße (in German). p. 65. ISBN 3-7921-0368-0.
  8. ^ A. E. Henning: Topographisch-historische Beschreibung der Stadt Insterburg. Königsberg 1794, p. 44.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Ostpreußen - Kreis Insterburg (2006)
  10. ^ Meyers Koversations-Lexikon. 6. Auflage, Band 9, Leipzig und Wien 1908, p. 873.
  11. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  12. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  13. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  14. ^ a b "Russian Court Finds Illegal 'German' Coat Of Arms Of Town In Far Western Exclave". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved September 18, 2019.


  • Правительство Калининградской области. Постановление №640 от 30 августа 2011 г. «Об утверждении реестра объектов административно-территориального деления Калининградской области», в ред. Постановления №877 от 21 ноября 2011 г «О внесении изменения в Постановление Правительства Калининградской области от 30 августа 2011 г. №640». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Калининградская правда" (вкладыш "Официально"), №170, 15 сентября 2011 г. (Government of Kaliningrad Oblast. Resolution #640 of August 30, 2011 On the Adoption of the Registry of the Objects of the Administrative-Territorial Divisions of Kaliningrad Oblast, as amended by the Resolution #877 of November 21, 2011 On Amending the Resolution of the Government of Kaliningrad Oblast #640 of August 30, 2011. Effective as of the day of the official publication.).
  • Калининградская областная Дума. Закон №262 от 30 июня 2008 г. «Об организации местного самоуправления на территории муниципального образования "Черняховский городской округ"», в ред. Закона №370 от 1 июля 2009 г «О составе территорий муниципальных образований Калининградской области». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Калининградская правда", №124, 11 июля 2008 г. (Kaliningrad Oblast Duma. Law #262 of June 30, 2008 On the Organization of the Local Self-Government on the Territory of the Municipal Formation of "Chernyakhovsky Urban Okrug", as amended by the Law #370 of July 1, 2009 On the Composition of the Territories of the Municipal Formations of Kaliningrad Oblast. Effective as of the day of the official publication.).

External linksEdit

Mikhaylovsky Cathedral in Chernyakhovsk