VOLGOGRAD, February 2. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a visit to the Russian city of Volgograd on February 2 to mark the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier in the week that it would be a one-day trip of President Putin to Volgograd and his visit would be devoted to the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad. Peskov added that "A host of memorial events had been scheduled" for the Russian president during his visit.
Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is a city of over one million residents that is situated along the Volga River. The city and the surrounding areas were the scene of one of the fiercest battles between Nazi and Soviet forces, and is considered to be the turning point in World War 2.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Peskov rejected previously circulated rumors that a decision would be made during Putin’s visit on Thursday to rename Volgograd to Stalingrad again.
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, the 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.