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Ukraine’s parliament to ban geographical names dating back to Czarist Russia

October 30, 2015, 8:17 UTC+3 KIEV
In April, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law banning the symbols of Communism
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© Mikhail Markiv/Ukrainian press service/TASS

KIEV, October 30. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada on Thursday registered a bill prohibiting the names of cities and streets that date back to the times of Czarist Russia, that is, before March 1917, the parliamentary secretariat said.

The bill was initiated by deputies of all the four factions of the ruling nationalistic coalition - the Petro Proshenko bloc, the People’s Front, Samopomich, and Batkivshchina.

The bill prohibits giving the names or pseudo-names of Russian monarchs, statesmen, politicians, or military of the Russian state of the period from the 14th through to the 20th century or the names derived from them, as well as the names consonant with or including the elements of the titles of Russian monarchs to geographic objects on the territory of Ukraine.

"To bring the laws concerning totalitarian regimes and fighters for independence into conformity with European practices, it stands to reason to ban the geographic names linked to the propaganda of Russian imperialism, the Russian Kingdom and Muscovy, the Russian Empire of the 14th through to the 20th century, and the period of Ukraine’s colonial depends, as they may be fueling the plans to misappropriate Ukrainian territories," the bill says.

Experts say the bill aims to prevent the return of the historic name Yelisavetgrad to Kirovograd, which the incumbent Ukrainian politicians think to be alluding to Empress Elizabeth, who ruled in Russia from 1741 through to 1762. The true fact of history, however, is the city’s original name relates to St Elizabeth.

In April, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law banning the symbols of Communism. It demands that the local authorities rename the regions, districts, cities, villages, and other geographic objects having Soviet names.

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