Staunton, April 27 – The impact of Soviet and Russian imperialism on the daily life of Ukrainians is measured in part by the toponyms Moscow imposed in their cities and towns. Since 1991, Ukrainians have changed many of these names but many more must be to escape from the noxious influence of Moscow.
According to Tymish Martynenko-Kushlyansky, a member of the Kyiv city toponomy agency, almost 500 of the 3,000 place names in the Ukrainian capital are associated with Russian or Soviet history rather than Ukrainian life (nv.ua/kyiv/derusifikacii-v-kieve-mogut-izmenit-nazvaniya-467-obektov-novosti-kieva-50236990.htmlnv.ua/kyiv/pereimenovanie-ulic-kieva-i-drugih-gorodov-intervyu-nv-s-ekspertom-novosti-ukrainy-50237960.html).
In Soviet times, such names were imposed by fiat with little or no concern for history or the feelings of the local population. They need to be changed, he argues; but this process must be transparent and honest. Ukrainians must have a chance to express their views, and historians must examine each case.
In short, they must not answer a Bolshevik approach with something similar, Martynenko-Kushlyansky says. That means the process will take time, and it also means that some names on the list will be found to be entirely legitimate, such as the names of those who were Russian but were positively associated with the Ukrainian nation.