Rus Articles Journal

How the cities change names? Whether the St. Petersburg blockade and the Volgograd fight are possible...

our history for the last 100 years is especially rich with examples of renaming of the cities. Of course, it is connected with rough historical changes and radical changes of political policies.

“Hey, Leningrad, St. Petersburg, Petrogradishche!“ (Yu. Shevchuk)

Ya already wrote that the name of the city is, first of all, history. And once you pronounce the word “St. Petersburg“, from it blows not as the Russian, but the Western European spirit at once - first of all, German and Dutch. Peter I really was under a great influence of Dutches, and the name of the new Russian capital initially sounded “Sankt - Peter - Burkh“. Though the tsar also called the city in honor of the “heavenly patron“ - the apostle Petr, it was clear to all - the governor immortalized the name.

The bulky foreign name to the people did not attract at once, and among themselves people christened the city of St. Petersburg long ago. And at the beginning of World War I the anti-German moods were so strong that the name was decided “to be become Russified“ officially. However, then history changed so promptly that the word “Petrograd“ began to be associated not so much with war, how many with Great October revolution, a volley of “Aurora“ and groups of the armed sailors.

Realities and idols considerably changed by then. And when in 1924 the leader of Bolsheviks died, the city was renamed into Leningrad. And, it is necessary to tell, the new name got accustomed. In - the first, because of purely phonetic harmony. In - the second, because of the historical events which connected a city name with terrible blockade. Therefore even at the time of reorganization and the next feverish renaming (now back), only 54% of inhabitants voted for return of an old name to Leningrad. About communication of a name with history the bard A. Gorodnitsky well wrote:

“... Stories human annoying emission, -
But I was just born in it and grew up, -
All my life in tens of these years,
I however many lived under clouds,
Ya I remember the Leningrad blockade, St. Petersburg I will not remember
A, is not present“.

“About Stalingrad, in an hour of your anger accept bow to the ground from Leningrad...“ (O. Berggolts)

the Aforesaid still more concerns present Volgograd renamed two times - and both times are inappropriate. Of course, the old name - Tsaritsyn - would hardly remain in the Soviet Russia. But Stalin (in 1925 yet not the man of weight of the state) was categorically against assignment to the city of the name.

Stalin`s letter to the secretary of the Tsaritsynsky gubkom of All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) Sheboldayev where he writes remained:
“I learned that Tsaritsyn is wanted to be renamed into Stalingrad. Learned also that Minin (one of active participants of defense of Tsaritsyno in civil war) tries to obtain its renaming into Miningrad. I know also that you postponed congress of councils from - for my no-show, and you think to make procedure of renaming at my presence. All this creates an awkward situation and for you, and especially for me. Very much I ask to mean that: 1) I did not try to obtain and I do not try to obtain renaming of Tsaritsyno into Stalingrad; 2) Business it is begun without me and besides me; 3) If so it is necessary to rename Tsaritsyn, name him Miningrad or as - nibud differently; 4) If too trumpeted about Stalingrad and now it is difficult for you to refuse the begun business, do not involve me in this business and do not demand my presence at congress of councils, - otherwise the impression can turn out that I try to obtain renaming; 5) Believe, the companion that I do not try to obtain either glory, or honor and would not like that there was the return impression“.

But Stalin were answered that everything is already approved and coordinated, and Tsaritsyn and some more the cities found names of the Soviet figures.

Stalin`s discredit at Khrushchev deprived many cities of their names. And in renaming of Stalingrad there would be nothing terrible if not the well-known Battle of Stalingrad which broke the course of war and forever entered a city name in nice pages of our history. And modern school students can quite be perplexed why the Battle of Stalingrad, and the hero town of Volgograd?
President V. Putin already renamed on Stella of the Alexander Garden the name “Volgograd“ to “Stalingrad“, but disputes on return to the city of a name fanned by glory are conducted still.

“And in mine not to festive processions...“ (V. Vysotsky)

my native Donbass - probably, one of the most affected regions of Ukraine from renamings. The certain cities changed names four, and even five times. Reasons for that a little. Except political also the fact that the majority of the modern cities of Donbass initially represented working settlements around plants matters. They had often simple names and not really suitable for large industrial centers which they became then.

For example, to the name “Voroshilovgrad“ I in the childhood had a double relation. On the one hand - the name seemed bulky (very badly was located on a line of a written envelope the phrase “Voroshilovgrad area“). On the other hand - it sounded far more solidly simple “Luhansk“ (from the small river of Lugan). The Soviet figure Kliment Voroshilov was from these places therefore his name depending on a political situation appeared, disappeared on the card. Voroshilov opposed Khrushchev - the city right there turned into Luhansk, came loyal to Clement Efremovich Brezhnev - and in a year of death of Voroshilov his name to the city was returned, censure of the Soviet figures in reorganization began - Luhansk appeared again.

The same confusion was also with Alchevsk which changed a name of 5 times! At first it was the settlement near railway station (both station and the settlement called Yuryevk). Then the industrialist A. Alchevsky founded steel works there, but in 1901 was ruined and rushed under the train at the same railway station. In 1903. industrialists honored his memory, having submitted the application on renaming of the settlement into Alchevsk. As at plant of Alchevsk there began the activity the mentioned Voroshilov, the city which in 1931 grew called Voroshilovsk. And Khrushchev already replaced the name of the city with Kommunarsk. When the country started back from communism and Communards, on the card there was Alchevsk again. So on a question to residents of Alchevsk - “Where you were born?“ - we can quite receive three different answers.

Big disputes went also near the name “Stakhanov“., It seems, what claims can be to a name of the hero of work and the miner - the drummer? Here matter in another: Stakhanov worked and established the record in Irmino`s mine. In 1936 in honor of anniversary of a Stakhanov record the settlement at mine was given the status of the city with the same name. Then the small town was united with nearby Kadiyevkaya. And in 1977 the cities “separated“ again - thus being Irmino called Heatmountain, and to Kadiyevk - Stakhanov. Many in Teplogorsk were offended by similar “distribution“ of names - Stakhanov worked for them, in Central - Irmino mine, but not in Kadiyevke! And what history at a name Teplogorsk? Yes any! As a result initiators everything are achieved in 2010 that they returned to the city at least the historical name “Irmino“, time the name “Stakhanov“ is occupied.

Instead of an epilog

What conclusions can draw from the aforesaid? The first: it is necessary to think hundred times and to weigh everything before giving to the city a new name or to return old. Change of the name of the city is always attempt to change either its status, or historical memory of the people. In old times Germans quite often used the last method at occupation of Slavic territories. Whether many remember that Leipzig once was Lipetsk, and Dresden - Drazhdyanami? In due time on the German harmony also names of other cities were distorted - Karlovy Vary was Carlsbad, Lviv - Lemberg, Poznan - Pozen (we revenged Germans exactly once, having called Kenninsberg Kaliningrad). Here and Ossetians insist to return to Tskhinvali remade on the Georgian harmony his native name “Tskhinvali“.

On the other hand - no change of the name in itself will change the image of the city. Whether Leningrad became much more better, having turned into St. Petersburg? Of course, nobody wants to live in the place with Soplyovk`s name or Propoysk. Donetsk, having the beautiful non-political name, will hardly want to return old and provincial - “Yuzovka“. But as a result it becomes clear that all - acts paint a city name, and not vice versa. Nobody will think to rename Oxford and Dusseldorf though the first name means “The bull ford“, and the second - “the village on the river Dyussel“.