Saturday, December 16, 2023

Volgograd Deputies Unlikely to Do More than Attract of Kremlin and Distract Attention of Their Voters by Calling for Renaming City Stalingrad. Observers Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 11 – At the end of November, deputies in the Volgograd Oblast Duma passed a measure that would allow for a referendum on restoring the name “Stalingrad” to the capital of their region. But this action is unlikely to succeed, although it may attract some older voters and distract the attention of others from current problems, observers say.

            Both activists from the region and political analysts more generally say that there is little popular support for actually renaming the city and that the costs of conducting a referendum about this subject are so high that Volgograd would find  it difficult to fund (

            Moreover, there seems to be little support from the idea from the Kremlin at least at present, given that Vladimir Putin has carefully dosed his support for the revival of the image of Stalin and that renaming the city in his honor would go beyond what he has done up to now, these observers say.

            Consequently, it is likely the case that this is a PR effort intended to win votes for Volgograd deputies by linking them to the patriotism around World War II, to attract the attention of Moscow to their region, and to distract attention of residents from the real problems the deputies seem to have little or no interest in addressing.

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