Russian City Changes Name —6 Days a Year
Volgograd will be known as Stalingrad again ... sometimes
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 1, 2013 9:04 AM CST
Vladimir Putin adjusts a ribbon as he lays a wreath at the Eternal Flame while visiting the Battle of Stalingrad memorial, ahead of May 9 Victory Day, in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, May 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)

(Newser) – Tomorrow, the Russian city of Volgograd will be Stalingrad once again—temporarily. That's because the city's government unanimously voted to change the city's name six days a year to mark milestones in the country's victory in World War II. Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the 1943 defeat of the Nazis in the city, which will officially be called the "hero-city Stalingrad." Sergei Zabednov, the lawmaker behind the measure, reveals a quirky way in which the name will surface tomorrow: Weathermen will be able to use it in their evening broadcasts.

The New York Times notes that a certain nostalgia for Stalin and the Soviet Union seems to be taking hold across the country. Last year, just 22% of Russians saw Stalin as having a "negative role" in Russian history, compared to 60% in 1998. Still, many in Volgograd aren't too keen on the change. But Zabednov isn't buying it. "They say: 'How can you talk about Stalin? He was a despot.' Excuse me, but Peter the First was also a despot, just as bad as Stalin, but the name Petersburg has been preserved. Now, Stalingrad has been preserved as the symbol of victory." Putin will visit the city tomorrow, where WWII vets plan to ask him to make the name change a permanent one.

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Feb 2, 2013 4:34 AM CST
Man,what the hell,he caused the deaths of more soviets than the germans did. Commemorate?
Feb 1, 2013 11:48 AM CST
To compare Peter the Great to Stalin is absurd. Peter may have been despotic, but all aristocrats were so in the 16th century. Peter brought Russia forward in countless ways, while Stalin cared only about Bolshevik Party power.
Feb 1, 2013 11:28 AM CST
It's because he was strong. While might doesn't necessarily make right, to sheeple it is impressive nonetheless. Combined with a general lack of knowledge or caring about history, this follower mentality causes many powerful former leaders to end up being admired regardless of the sins they committed. Perhaps, after enough time has passed, even a majority of Germans will gloss over Hitler's atrocities when waxing poetic about the nation's former position of power and how he brought said power to the nation. Time heals most wounds, but, it unfortunately also causes selective amnesia.