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)
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(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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