A Russian city might go back to its old name: Stalingrad.
Volgograd, famous as the site of a major WWII battle, might once again be renamed Stalingrad after a referendum, the chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenkom, said, according to RT.
“This battle is known all over the world as a turning point [in the Second World War],” she said.
And there’s definitely some strong support for this decision: Russia’s Deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin agrees with the idea of a referendum, and last year Vladimir Putin said that renaming the city isn’t out of the question.
“In this case, residents should hold a referendum where they will decide on [the name change],” Putin said according to TASS. “It wasn’t me who changed the name… we’ll mull over how it can be done.”
Interestingly, there’s actually already an unusual rule from 2013 in which Volgograd is already officially sometimes referred to as Stalingrad.
“The city’s renaming [is] on a temporary but permanent basis. That is, all city measures or mayoral proclamations will officially bear the name Stalingrad on May 9 and on four other days. May 9 is celebrated as Victory Day, in commemoration of the USSR’s victory over Nazi Germany,” according to the New American.
Over the last few years, Stalin’s popularity has gone up in Russia. In the mid-2000’s, high school textbooks “praised his work in industrializing Russia” and in 2008 a poll showed the he was the leading historical figure in Russia, according to Newsweek.
And, on top of that, a recent poll showed that a majority of Russians think that the dictator played a “positive role” in Russia’s history.
Still, not everyone is so pro-Stalin. The leader of Russia’s Liberal-Democratic party Vladimir Zhirinovsky has been strongly opposed to renaming Volgograd, noting that “millions of people died in Russia during Stalin’s political repressions before and after WWII,” according to RT.
But despite some opposition, we could see the city once again renamed in honour of a dictator.
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