MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has rejected rumors that during President Vladimir Putin’s forthcoming trip to the Volgograd Region on February 2 to mark the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad a decision will be made to rename Volgograd to Stalingrad.
"No, I can't confirm anything," Peskov told the media on Tuesday, when asked whether there were discussions in the Kremlin about the possibility of renaming the city. Rumors of this sort have repeatedly surfaced on Telegram channels and social media networks lately.
Rumors about Volgograd getting renamed have emerged in the media and in public discussion from time to time. Earlier, Sergey Stepashin, a former prime minister, ex-chairman of the Accounts Chamber, and head of the Board of Trustees of the Territorial Development Fund, said he was in favor of renaming Volgograd in memory of the Battle of Stalingrad, which turned the tide of the Great Patriotic War.
Volgograd’s World War 2 veterans came up with a similar initiative on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazi-led forces in the Battle of Stalingrad. In response to their request, Governor Andrey Bocharov of the Volgograd Region announced the creation of a civic council to study public opinion on this matter. Later, the co-chairman of the civic council, head of the Volgograd city council of veterans, Alexander Strukov, told TASS that a decision to hold a referendum on renaming Volgograd to Stalingrad would be made by the summer of 2023.
Starting from its inception in 1589, the city went by the name of Tsaritsyn, but in 1925 it was renamed Stalingrad, in honor of the then Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. However, in 1961 its name was changed to Volgograd. On January 30, 2013, the Volgograd City Duma decided to establish the name "Stalingrad" as the symbol of Volgograd, this symbolic name can be officially used during mass events six times a year.