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Eliminate Russian names from our streets, says Ukraine’s president.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on cities, towns and villages across Ukraine to rename streets and squares to get rid of all references to Russia and to its Communist or Soviet past.


Renaming streets and squares began some years back, but that was aimed at the territory’s Communist past as part of the Soviet Union.   

This week the Kyiv City Council decided to “de-communise” a huge city landmark, the Arch of the Peoples’ Friendship — which refers to the supposedly close relationship between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples.


“Now it is the Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian people,”  the capital city’s mayor, former world champion heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko, wrote on his social media channel.

At the same time, he said the deputies also approved a list of more than 40 monuments and memorial signs that would be removed from the streets and buildings of the capital and transferred to the Museum of Totalitarianism.

 When I drove last week through Lenin Square in Chornomorsk, a port town south-west of Odessa, I found it had been renamed, and the statue of the founder of the Soviet Communist state had been replaced — by a grey lamp-post.

Zelensky, who is Jewish, urged towns and villages to rename streets and squares after righteous Ukrainians who had saved persecuted Jews during World War II.

He made no mention of the atrocities conducted by Ukrainian soldiers or paramilitaries against Jews in that World War — just as he had avoided doing so during his live video-linked speech from Kyiv to the Knesset in March.  That omission, and his apparent comparison of Russia’s current behaviour with the Holocaust, were criticised extensively by Israeli political and religious leaders.

However, Ukrainians have expressed bewilderment that Israel, a state founded as a haven for the persecuted, has not been more supportive of its military needs.

“My advice is to turn to the stories of the Ukrainian Righteous and perpetuate their memory,” Zelensky said in a social media post highlighting a new public holiday, launched last year to commemorate the Righteous.

He said the renaming should take place “because it’s about the courage and humanity of Ukrainians who have already proved that the evil that comes to our land will inevitably lose.”

He said the bravery of people who hid or supported Jews during World War II was now being echoed by many Ukrainians who have taken massive risks in protecting civilians from Russian attack.

Zelensky noted that 2659 Ukrainian men and women had received the title of Righteous Among the Nations, which he said was the 4th highest number of any nation.

He added: “[These were] people who risked their lives, the lives of their loved ones, but still saved those who were threatened with imminent death at the hands of the Nazis. Rescued children, adults, whole families.”
Zelensky said some children who were rescued were too young to know who helped them, adding: “We do not know all the stories of salvation.”
He drew a parallel with Ukraine’s current tenacious fight to avoid domination.

“There was total evil around, and people still kept good in their hearts. It strengthens our belief that humanity will still win [here] despite the occupation and the power of the Nazis [at that time].”


The president ended his comment with the by-now-familiar declaration: “Eternal glory to all our defenders! Eternal memory to all who gave lives for Ukraine! Glory to Ukraine!”


……………………..Below is the comment Z made:

President Zelensky, 14 May 2022

Wise people of our bravest country!

All our defenders!

Last year, on May 14, the Day of Remembrance of Ukrainians who saved Jews during World War II was celebrated in our country for the first time. 2659 Ukrainian men and women received the title of Righteous Among the Nations. Our country is the fourth in the world in the number of the Righteous. People who risked their lives, the lives of their loved ones, but still saved those who were threatened with imminent death at the hands of the Nazis. Rescued children, adults, whole families.

Each of these rescue stories is impressive. It strikes with courage, because there was total evil around, and people still kept good in their hearts. It strikes with belief that humanity will still win despite the then occupation and the power of the Nazis.

The Righteous were in all regions of our state – from Zakarpattia to Crimea, from Odesa to Kharkiv. And we do not know all the stories of salvation. There were many who simply did not have time to tell thanks to whom their life was saved. They also rescued very young children who simply could not understand what was really happening to them.

We must always remember that our people have such Righteous among them and that even in the darkest circumstances there are people who carry light. This is exactly the same striving for good that we see today in Ukrainian men and women who help save people from the occupiers, from the same Nazis.

I am grateful to all journalists and just all caring people who document modern stories of salvation and record for all generations of our people what Ukraine has to go through and how people show their best qualities by saving others – acquaintances and strangers, relatives, children, adults.

I held talks today with a delegation of US senators led by Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitchell McConnell in Kyiv. I believe that this visit once again demonstrates the strength of bipartisan support for our state, and the strength of ties between the Ukrainian and American nations.

We discussed various areas of support for our state, including defensive and financial. As well as tightening sanctions on Russia. I expressed gratitude for the historic decision to renew the Lend-Lease program. I called for the official recognition of Russia as a terrorist state.

One of the issues I deal with on a daily basis is food security. More and more countries around the world are realizing that Russia, by blocking the Black Sea for us and continuing this war, puts dozens of other countries at risk of a price crisis in the food market and even famine. This is another incentive for our anti-war coalition to act more decisively together.

Now support for Ukraine – and especially with weapons – means working to prevent global famine. The sooner we liberate our land and guarantee Ukraine’s security, the sooner the normal state of the food market can be restored.

The situation in Donbas remains very difficult. Russian troops are still trying to show at least some victory. On the 80th day of the full-scale invasion, it looks especially insane, but they do not stop all these efforts.

I am grateful to everyone who holds the line and brings closer to Donbas, Pryazovia and Kherson the same thing that is happening now in the Kharkiv region. Step by step we are forcing the occupiers to leave our land. We will make them leave the Ukrainian sea as well.

By the way, now in many cities and communities of Ukraine there are discussions about renaming streets and squares. My advice is to turn to the stories of the Ukrainian Righteous and perpetuate their memory. Because it is about the courage and humanity of Ukrainians who have already proved that the evil that comes to our land will inevitably lose.

Eternal glory to all our defenders! Eternal memory to all who gave lives for Ukraine! Glory to Ukraine!