Soviets Considered Renaming Moscow a Minimum of Four Times
September 3 – Three times, Soviet officials wanted to rename Moscow in honor of
USSR leaders. Twice, Stalin personally intervened to prevent that from
happening; and once, after his death, his successors intervened to block the
idea given the historical importance of the name.
The second attempt
came in 1938 when NKVD chief Nikolay Yezhov had his subordinates prepare a plan
for renaming Moscow “Stalinodar.” Stalin apparently was both amused and angered
and declared that he would never allow the Soviet capital to be renamed. Two
years later, Yezhov was shot, although not primarily because of this proposal.
were two additional efforts to rename the capital in honor of Stalin, first,
after World War II in honor of the victory and then after Stalin’s death. In 1945,
Stalin again rejected the idea, although the archives lack details on just who made
this proposal or whether it was ever a formal one, and the second after Stalin’s
passing, many Soviet officials called for renaming Moscow in his honor. Some
went even further and suggested that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
should be renamed the Union of Soviet Stalinist republics -- which would have had
the advantage of being more honest -- and that the Georgian SSR should henceforth
be called the Stalin SSR.