Following the recent celebrations of D-Day around the world, Putin has acknowledged the desire of some to rename the city of Volgograd to Stalingrad. While I do not hold Putin in high regards whatsoever, I believe this is an important point in reference to the people’s respect and reverence for the era of socialist construction and the defeat of fascism. The article I am sharing is from the Moscow Times and thus does not acknowledge the possible name change as such, but only refers to the Battle of Stalingrad, the single most important battle of WWII, when the Soviet forces successfully defeated the Nazi bombardment and began its push west to end the oppressive reign of Nazism which was plaguing the peoples of Europe.
Though the article is of course biased against Stalin(as most Russian media has been since 1956 after Kruschev’s betrayal), it should be noted that there are many indications that this is desire of the Russian people to honor the name of Stalingrad is not simply commemorative of the great battle, but likely has much to do with the fondness of the Stalin-era that many of the generation that actually remembers it hold. Let’s not forget that over 70% of the Russian population voted against the dissolution of the USSR and many today still hold dear to the memories of a Russia by and for the working people, as opposed to the oligarchal hellhole it has become. This could be an important moment, despite Putin and his media trying to play it off as something having little to do with the Stalin-era Soviet Union and pretending to care about the opinions of his people. His acceptance of the possible name change is little more than populism, and his claims of separating Stalingrad with Stalin show his lack of willingness to truly support a people’s Russia. However, it is not Putin’s feelings and motives I am considering, but those of the people who obviously have a strong fondness for the days of socialism.
Putin is simply playing the game of exploiting the people’s desire for socialism. But the desire of the people is there nonetheless.
Here is the article:
“If the people of Volgograd want to change their city’s name to Stalingrad, Russia will respect their choice, President Vladimir Putin said when a war veteran asked about the issue during a D-Day memorial in Normandy.
“We will do as the residents [of Volgograd] say,” Putin told a crowd of veterans on Friday, Itar-Tass reported.
Volgograd authorities announced on Saturday that the city council had not yet received any proposals for a name change referendum. Last year, municipal authorities voted for the city to adopt its former name for six days each year for commemorative purposes.
Volgograd was the site of the momentous Battle of Stalingrad, which took place between 1942 and 1943, and is widely viewed as one of World War II’s most decisive battles.
The city adopted the name of Stalingrad in 1925 to honor Soviet leader Josef Stalin. In 1961, Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushschev, changed the city’s name to Volgograd in connection with the de-Stalinization process.
Following Putin’s announcement, Russian political and spiritual leaders expressed support for a potential name change.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted on Friday that he “never doubted the necessity of a return to great Stalingrad’s name” but insisted it would be done “not for the sake of Stalin but for that of Stalingraders.”
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin of the Moscow Patriarchate said on Sunday he would not object to a referendum on the city’s name change, although he noted a preference for the name “Tsaryn,” the city’s appellation prior to 1925.
“The word ‘Stalingrad’ already lives independently of the word ‘Stalin.’ It is associated with a victory in a famous battle, with a part of our history,” Chaplin said, Interfax reported.
Stalin’s legacy, which encompasses both mass political repression and the defeat of Nazi Germany, remains a contentious issue in Russia to this day.”