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UrbanRubric 12:15 19 Aug 2022

Ukrainian way: how renaming streets and squares abroad helps Ukraine

We talk about renaming toponyms abroad, why it is crucial, and how to initiate similar processes in your city.

Renaming to Ukrainian means neutralizing russia and de-putinizing the world. And it also brings us closer to victory at the front and the return of all Ukrainian territories.

What is the problem?

russia is a terrorist state

On February 24, 2022, at 5 am, russia launched a vile full-scale attack on Ukraine. It became the most shocking and brutal event for the entire civilized world since the Second World War. Today, Western soldiers and politicians, volunteers, and ordinary people from dozens of countries are helping Ukrainians to resist russian aggression.

Living far from Ukraine, it is essential to know everything about how you can support people who are under attack from a murderous country, a terrorist country. These are donations to the Ukrainian army and humanitarian missions, aid to refugees, actions of unity, and informational and media support. However, there is another way in which you can also support Ukraine.

What is the solution?

Renaming of streets and squares

After russia's invasion of Ukraine, the One Philosophy consulting group, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, launched a campaign called Ukraine Street, which calls on foreigners to change the names of streets where russian embassies or consulates are located to "Ukraine Street." Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the campaign part of an attempt to "isolate russia and de-putinize the world."

The calls to change the names of these streets really work and, most importantly, bring the results Ukraine needs. After all, the more streets are renamed in honor of Ukraine, the more Ukraine is heard, and the more difficult it is for foreigners to forget that we need help in the fight against the aggressor — here and now.

How does it work?

Albania — Free Ukraine Street

Албанія — Вулиця Вільної України

Albania was one of the first to respond to the call of the Ukrainians. A street in Albania's capital, Tirana, where the russian embassy is located, was renamed to Free Ukraine. This intention was announced by the mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliai, on March 6, 2022. "This bloody Russian aggression will mark our generation, and in our public places, we should remember the heroic resistance of Ukraine," the mayor said.

He also noted that the new name will serve as a reminder to the employees of the russian embassy that now russians will have to work, live and receive mail at the address of Free Ukraine. The embassies of russia, Ukraine, Serbia, and Kosovo are located on the street with the new name.

Norway — Ukraine square

Норвегія, Осло — Площа України

In the capital of Norway, in the diplomatic quarter of Frogner in Oslo, Ukraine Square appeared. In honor of Ukraine, the Frogner district renamed the square where the russian Embassy is located on March 7, 2022. This is a sign of support for Ukraine's freedom in response to russia's military invasion of Ukraine.

Lithuania — Ukrainian Heroes' Street

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

In Vilnius, the street where the embassy of the russian federation is located was named Ukrainian Heroes' Street. The mayor of the Lithuanian capital, Remigius Šimašius, announced this on his Facebook page in March. "Embassy of russia, change business cards: Ukrainos didvyrių, 2. I will help with translation: Ukrainian Heroes' Street," he wrote.

"From now on, the business card of every employee of the russian embassy must pay tribute to the Heroes of Ukraine. And the one who writes a letter to the embassy will have to think about the victims of russia's aggression and the heroes of Ukraine," Šimašius added.

Latvia — Ukraine's Independence Street

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

At the same time, in Riga, the section of Antonijas Street, where the russian embassy in Latvia is located, was renamed Ukraine's Independence Street. The Riga authorities obliged the russian embassy in Latvia to hang a sign with the new name within three months.

The Latvians did not stop there. They continued with the de-russification of their capital. The authorities of Riga have decided to rename the "moscow Garden." As reported by Delfi, several societies applied to change the park's name. The park, founded in the late 1930s, was originally known as Latgales Park. After the Soviet occupation, the park was renamed. Now the historical name has been returned to the Riga park. And on May 13, the Riga city council decided to dismantle the monument to Soviet soldiers in Victory Park.

Canada — Free Ukraine Square

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

On March 20, the street in front of the russian consulate in Toronto, Canada, became the Free Ukraine Square. Although the street's name has not officially changed, the authorities of the Canadian capital of Ottawa attached yellow and blue signs "Free Ukraine" next to other road signs on the street where the russian Embassy is located.

And now, in the Canadian city of Montreal, the "Committee to Help Ukraine" is opening a Ukrainian cafe, "KRYIVKA на БОБ'ЄН." Rest for you. Help for ZSU. 

Sweden — Fria Ukrainas plats

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

Sweden became another country that renamed the area near the russian embassy in honor of Ukraine. From now on, the part of the park opposite the diplomatic mission of the russian Federation in Stockholm is called "Fria Ukrainas plats." The Stockholm City Council supported this decision.

"The renaming of the park is a lasting symbol of Stockholm's solidarity with the Ukrainian people and an important sign of opposition to the russian regime. We hope this step will irritate the embassy staff and demonstrate our anger over the violence russia is perpetrating in Ukraine," said the Mayor of Stockholm, Anna König Järlmire.

Czech Republic — Ukrainian Heroes Street and Vitalii Skakun Bridge

Чехія — Вулиця Українських Героїв

In Prague, a bridge and a street were renamed in honor of Ukrainian heroes. The street on which the consulate and embassy of the russian federation are located is now called Ukrainian Heroes Street. The navigation signs have already been replaced there, and the street used to be called Korunovacni.

The bridge, which is closely adjacent to the consular department of the occupying country, was also renamed. Now it is the bridge of the Hero of Ukraine, Vitalii Skakun, who died during the explosion of the Henichesky bridge to stop the advance of a tank column of russian troops.

Iceland — Kænugarður/Kýiv-torg

Ісландія — Київська Площа

The authorities of the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, decided to name one of the city squares in honor of Kyiv. The official place received a double name – "Kænugarður/Kýiv-torg," and in English, it will be called Kyiv Square. The name of the square in the old Icelandic language, "Kænugarður," is intended to emphasize Kyiv's thousand-year history.

Kyiv Square is located at the intersection of streets where there are many international embassies, including the russian one. "In this way, Reykjavik sends a clear signal of support to the Ukrainian people and at the same time reminds of the age-old relationship between Iceland and Kyiv," a city government representative commented.


Poland has more and more streets with new names that refer to Ukrainian

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

The largest number of renamings in honor of Ukraine took place in our friendly Poland. Thus, the square in the center of Gdynia was named Free Ukraine.

In Gdańsk, the square near the russian Consulate General is now called Heroic Mariupol Square.

And the Defenders of Ukraine Square appeared in Poznan. The text of the resolution of the Poznań City Council states that "the square will become a symbolic place of remembrance of the events of the heroic defense of Ukraine. A place where the Ukrainian community living in Poznań could hold meetings, pray, and also pay respect to compatriots who died for a free Ukraine."

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

On July 16, the area in the Old Town between Krovoderska Street and Biborski Square was solemnly renamed "Free Ukraine" Square in Krakow. "Giving this place the name of Free Ukraine is our humble gesture in the face of the great strength and indomitability of the Ukrainian people," the head of the Kraków City Council, Rafal Komarewicz, said.

And the intersection of Jasnogórskiej and Stawowej streets will be renamed in honor of the Ukrainian commander, Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny. The Krakow City Council has already decided to change the name. The event is also symbolic for the city because, in the Wawel Royal Castle museum exposition, the sword of Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny is kept.

They decided to Ukrainize one of the streets of Warsaw. We are talking about a small segment that previously did not have an appropriate name, but now such a particle in the title will be Ukraińska. The street is located in the Praga-Południe district, not far from Dworca Wschodniego (Warsaw East Kyiv railway station).

Ukraine — all over the world!

The Ukrainian wave is spreading around the world. In Cannes, the square was renamed in honor of Taras Shevchenko. In Edinburgh, one of the streets was renamed in honor of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The other day, the municipality of Luxembourg announced that a new street in the city would be named in honor of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, "Boulevard de Kyiv.".

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

In the spring, the metro station "Europe" in Paris was temporarily called "Europe-Ukraine" as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine.

перейменування вулиць за кордоном

And in Spain, in honor of the support of Ukrainians, the entire city of Fuentes de Andalucía was renamed "Ukraine" for a week. Several streets of the city were also renamed to Kyivska, Mariupolska, Kharkivska, Khersonska and Odeska. About 7 thousand people live in the city. Fuentes de Andalucia is near Seville. It is symbolic that the city flag is also yellow and blue.

Перехрестя в районі Брайтон-Біч

One of the latest decisions became trolling not only of russian embassy employees but also of all fans of the "russian world." In New York, they want to name an intersection in the Brighton Beach area (the city's largest center of the russian diaspora) after Ukraine. And the New York City Council decided to rename Brighton Beach and Coney Island avenues in Brooklyn to Ukrainian Way. In Brighton Beach, the largest number of immigrants from the USSR lives, who are still sympathizers of russia. The language there is primarily russian. Many locals do not even know English. Brighton Beach is home to the largest russian infrastructure in New York — institutions, radio stations, shops, newspapers, schools, and much more. Now even in this "reserve," Ukraine will rule.

More will follow. The Ukraine Street campaign is taking place in 34 countries around the world. Currently, 53 cities are planning to change the name of streets!

Will it really work?

Now we have a unique opportunity to explain to the world why Ukraine is not a part of the USSR or russia, but an independent country with European values, Oleg Slabospitsky, public activist, member of the board of the National Ukrainian Youth Association, which deals with projects of national memory and de-russification believes.

"Let's be honest: for most developed countries, Ukraine is something incomprehensible and dangerous somewhere near russia. At most, someone has heard of Andriy Shevchenko, the Klitschko brothers, or the Euromaidan. Now we have a unique chance to make a loud statement about ourselves worldwide before our state disappears from the columns of newspapers and TV channels and everything Ukrainian is in trend. One of these tools is toponymy — in particular, the names of streets, squares, and parks. First of all, this is a powerful step to spread the truth about the war of the russian federation against Ukraine so that every person who will ever find themselves on this street or in the park once again becomes interested in Ukrainian history and culture and, perhaps, wants to help our army. Also, street names return us to the European and world democratic family, demonstrating solidarity and support."

Oleg Slabospytsky emphasizes that the international information front is now critical because a colossal russian propaganda machine with unlimited financial resources for paid articles, journalists, and bots is working against Ukraine. Ukrainians abroad should be the only shield for the state's protection in every country, wherever they are. "We always admire the solidarity and mutual support of Poles, Irish, Italians, and Jews worldwide. Now is an important time for Ukrainians to be active, join forces and fight even for such seemingly small things as streets in honor of Ukraine and our defenders. Because every such small victory abroad brings us closer to victory at the front and the return of all territories."

More useful solutions!

How to initiate street renaming abroad?

To initiate the issue of renaming or naming a street or some object in honor of Ukraine, Oleg Slabospitsky advises joining forces with the local Ukrainian diaspora and the Ukrainian embassy. After all, each country may have its own legislation regarding renaming, which must be considered before starting an information campaign. Usually, first, it is necessary to collect as many signatures as possible from both public organizations and individuals, then officially submit them to the city council with proposals for renaming. And in parallel, for greater publicity, create electronic petitions, and spread information on social networks and local mass media.

Every Ukrainian living in another country can join this process right now. On the website of the Ukraine Street campaign, it is enough to perform a few simple steps:

  • Find a link to the petition for your city and sign it. And if it is not on the list, inform the organizers about the need to create it;
  • Contact your municipality and local deputies with a request to rename the street;
  • Share the petition with your friends and the local community.

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