War in Ukraine, the streets of Kiev erase Russian names: this is how they change

Hundreds of streets in Kiev have changed names since 2014, many of them since 2022: in recent years, the Ukrainian capital has seen the street toponymy associated with Russia almost completely disappear. This is reported by an in-depth study shared by the European Data Journalism Network, created by Yevheniia Drozdova for TEXTY.ORG, according to which almost 500 streets in Kiev have changed their names. In the interactive map visible below it is possible to observe how many streets had a name connected to Russia in 2014 (in red) and how many today have a name linked to Ukrainian or international figures (blue and yellow).

The “De-Russification” of the streets of Kiev

The operation, defined as “De-Russification” and therefore “Ukrainization”, is transforming the city of Kiev: for example the “Road of reunification” – whose reference is to the union between Ukraine and Russia in the Soviet Union – is now called “Unity Street” – citing the reunification of Eastern and Western Ukraine in 1919. Other streets – which used to be named after Russian cities such as Magnitogorsk, Taganrog and Novorossiysk – are now named after Ukrainian cities. Still others are named after people who died in the war against Russia. And “Path of Collectivization” – in reference to one of the policies of Stalin’s five-year plan – has been renamed in memory of James Mace, a historian who has devoted important research to the Holodomor, the famine caused in Ukraine by the Soviet government which led to the death of several million people.

The roads dedicated to the West

Some important streets in Kiev, on the other hand, today have taken on the names of foreign cities and states, especially of the West. Thus “Via St. Petersburg” became “Via London”, and others were dedicated to Brussels, Paris, Portugal and Finland. Still others now bear the name of famous people, such as the English poet Lord Byron, the Israeli-born Ukrainian politician and first woman to lead the Tel Aviv government, Golda Meir, or the former senator and Republican candidate in the White House John McCain. The complete list of streets that have been renamed is available in a brochure distributed by the Kyiv Municipality. To date, there are still streets in the city that bear Russian names, but according to the author of the study, these too are likely to disappear from the map in the near future.

The information contained in this article has been published on the European Data Journalism Network website