A History of Klaipėda City, written by historian Vasilijus Safronovas, the head of the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archeology, and first published in Lithuanian last winter, was sold out at lightning speed. To meet the demand, the second edition was published in summer, and soon the book will be available to Russian-speaking people as well.
The publisher, the History Museum of Lithuania Minor, plans to translate the incredibly successful book, which won the title of the Most Popular in the Klaipėda Book Elections, into both English and German.
According to Vasilijus Safronovas, the author of the book, translation into other languages was considered while writing A History of Klaipėda City. Together with the publisher, the History Museum of Lithuania Minor, the decision was taken to first translate the book into Russian. The decision was predetermined by several practical reasons: in 2019, when the idea of writing A History of Klaipėda City was born, KU admitted the first students to degree programmes in Russian, which were intended for the Eastern Partnership countries of the European Union. One of them was a degree programme History of Europe. Today, KU enrolls students in five programmes of that type. It is important for Russian-speaking students not only in history, but also in other fields of study to get to know the city they come to study in.
“Another thing, although the proportion of Russian-speaking people in Klaip4da has been steadily declining over the last three decades, they make up a relatively large part of the city’s population. The data from the last census demonstrate that in 2021, Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians accounted for 19% of Klaipėda population. The absolute majority of them are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who once came here or were born and raised in the country. I know that it is easier for many of them to read in Russian, especially since there are still six comprehensive education schools in Klaipėda where the language of instruction is Russian. The history of their hometown must be accessible to them,” says the author of the book.”
Safronovas notes that the Russian-speaking audience has been disadvantaged in this regard, as there are almost no publications in Russian about the past of the country and city; most of the historical texts published so far were aimed at Lithuanian or German audiences. “I believe Lithuanan historians have long understood that if we ourselves do not write about the history of Lithuania in other languages, others will do that for us,” says Vasilijus Safronovas.
The publishing of the book was funded by the History Museum of Lithuania Minor. From next week, it can be purchased at the History Museum of Lithuania Minor and the KU Bookstore.