THE RENAMING OF STREETS IN POST-REVOLUTIONARY UKRAINE: REGIONAL STRATEGIES TO CONSTRUCT A NEW NATIONAL IDENTITY

  • Oleksiy Gnatiuk Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
Keywords: urban toponymy, renaming of streets, identity, ideology, Ukraine

Abstract

After the 2014 revolution, a massive renaming of toponyms related to the communist ideology took place in Ukraine. The results
of this renaming help understand the essentiality of Ukrainian delayed post-socialist and post-colonial transition and, in particular,
national and regional identities that Ukrainians are going to build, and ideology that local and national authorities are going to
impose. This study covers the 36 largest cities in Ukraine with a population of more than 100,000 and focuses on the new street
names that appeared as the result of de-communization. It was found that in south-eastern Ukraine, the renaming strategy was
targeted to avoid the commemorative names, especially those related to military-political events and personalities, as well as to
depoliticize urban toponyms, by using non-commemorative categories of street names, like topographical or poetic ones, or restoring
the historical toponyms. On the contrary, new toponyms in western and central Ukraine reflect the legacy of the national liberation
movements of the 20th century. However, urban toponyms in the most eastern regions, including Donbas, continue to retain
close links with the Soviet period. The memory of the Cossack era and Ukrainian Peoples Republic seems to be the well-perceived
and common-shared strata of national identity. At the same time, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Soviet legacy remain topics
dividing the Ukrainian society. The street renaming process in post-revolutionary Ukraine shares some common characteristics with
other post-socialist European countries, such as the appeal to the pre-socialist period in order to reinforce the national identity,
replacement of political and military place-names with those related to local and national culture and heritage, and the increased
importance of local and regional toponyms.

Published
2018-12-21
How to Cite
Gnatiuk, O. (2018). THE RENAMING OF STREETS IN POST-REVOLUTIONARY UKRAINE: REGIONAL STRATEGIES TO CONSTRUCT A NEW NATIONAL IDENTITY. AUC Geographica, 53(2), 119-136. https://doi.org/10.14712/23361980.2018.13
Section
Original Articles