On June 21, the City of Kyiv published the results of an Online vote, in which Ukrainians were invited to select new names for streets and other public places in the capital that were formerly suggestive of Russia or the Soviet Union.
Voting took place June 15-19 using the mobile application Digital Kyiv. Voters’ banking information was used to verify their identities. All Ukrainians – not just citizens of the capital – were allowed to propose new names.
Around 6.5 million Ukrainians took part in the voting to rename almost 300 streets and squares in the capital, the city said.
“The process of de-Russifying place names in Kyiv is of important historical and national significance. In particular, it will help reduce the cultural influence of the Russian Federation on the consciousness of Ukrainians and perpetuate the memory of significant historical events, famous figures and heroes of Ukraine,” the Kyiv City State Administration said in a press release.
“Place names are a very important component in the formation of national and civic identity,” Danylo Koval, the director of Orientyr publishing house in Kyiv, told the Kyiv Post.
“If one walks along, for example, Lenin Street, or takes a taxi to Leo Tolstoy Square, we subconsciously perceive these people as positive and significant. Therefore, Ukrainian cities, villages and streets should be named in honor of Ukrainian heroes, past and present: for example, princes of Kyiv Rus, Cossacks, Ukrainian nationalists and modern Azov fighters,” he added.
The voting results were first submitted to the Kyiv City Council for consideration by an expert commission, which will then take a final decision on which street or square will be renamed and to what, upon consultation with a panel of experts.
The panel includes experts from the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, the Institute of Ukrainian History, the Hrushevsky Institute of Ukrainian Archeology and Source Studies, the Potebnya Institute of Linguistics, the Institute of the Ukrainian Language, and other institutions.
Even the most celebrated of Russian cultural icons are subject to be removed from street signs and the plaques over squares.
Pushkinska street in the center of Kyiv, for example, is set to be renamed after Yevhen Chykalenko, a Ukrainian social activist from the early 20th Century who helped found Ukraine’s first parliament. Pushkin after all, great Russian poet that he was, was also in his later years a defender of Russian imperialism, who attacked Ukrainian national narratives in his notorious pome “Mazepa,” and casitigated “Ruropean slanderers” for defending Poland’s fight for freedom againd the Russian Empire.
“A walk down Pushkinska Street does not make you a connoisseur of Russian literature. Chykalenko, on the other hand, was a patron of Ukrainian culture and a patriot,” Zhyvosyl Vasyl Lyuty, a song writer and political activist, told the Kyiv Post.
Kyiv’s Volhohradska Street is to be renamed after Roman Ratushny, a Kyiv environmental activist and soldier recently killed in battle in Donbas. The street is located in a part of Kyiv called Protasiv Yar, which the now venerated Ratushny spent years defending from real estate developers.
Other Ukrainian themes and personages that will appears on the street signs of the capital include Ukrainian pop music singers, Ukrainian military units, and Ukrainian cities that heroically held out against Russian invasion.
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