Kiev moves to strip Russian, Soviet influence from street names

Maps of Kiev went out of date on Thursday as city officials embarked on an effort to rename 95 streets and squares with Russian or Soviet names, according to city Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Streets in the Ukrainian capital named after 19th century Russian writers such as Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev and Mikhail Lermontov have all had their names changed. The same inglorious fate even extends to German-born communist philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, for whom many streets were named throughout the Soviet Union, dpa news agency reported.

Other names to no longer grace the streets of Ukraine’s capital include those of Soviet military leaders from World War II, as well as those pertaining to Russian cities such as Moscow, Rostov on Don and Magnitogorsk.

Despite being born in Kiev, Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, one of the greatest writers of the Soviet Union, has also had his name removed.

All the streets in question are now to receive Ukrainian names, including Heroes of the Azov Regiment Street, a reference to a group of Ukrainian soldiers that held out against Russian forces for weeks in embattled Mariupol earlier this year.

Klitschko said the new names have not all been settled upon.

“This is an important step to reduce the lying manipulation and influence of the Russian aggressors and the interpretation of our history,” he said.

Some of the new names will be picked by the Ukrainian public. Anyone in Ukraine can participate and more than 6.5 million people have access to a government smartphone app for that purpose.

The changes were unveiled to coincide with the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

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