MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. Chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Relations and European Integration, Leonid Slutsky, has dismissed a decision by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada national parliament to rename more than 70 populated localities in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as a witless publicity stunt on the part of Kiev authorities.
"The Rada’s decision to rename more than 70 populated localities in Donbass is a sheer publicity stunt but a rather witless one," he said.
"It looks like the Rada timed its decision for the second anniversary since the declaration of independence by the Lugansk and Donetsk republics," Slutsky said. "We understand that instead of making appropriate efforts for the implementation of the Minsk accords Kiev is trying to create a counterweight of a totally different nature."
"The Ukraine authorities can rename all those localities as long as they please but this won’t produce anything except marginalization of the Rada deputies," he said.
Slutsky indicated it was highly regrettable that the Rada was ruling out any constructive elements in relations with Donetsk and Lugansk and was preoccupied exceptionally with publicity moves that did not imply any steps in line with the Minsk accords or normalization of the situation in Donbass.
The Verkhovna Rada on Thursday authorized the renaming of 73 populated localities in the parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions outside of the zone controlled by Kiev. A draft resolution on the issue was supported by 245 votes - nineteen votes more than what is necessary for endorsing a decision.
The renaming is part and parcel of the so-called policy of ‘decommunization’ specified by Ukraine’s law on condemnation of the Communist and National Socialist totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and on banning the promotion of their symbols.