Stalingrad on the Maps Once More

The name of Stalingrad has been relatively non-existent for many years. While it was still used during certain Russian events in reference to the former name of major Russian city Volgograd, the name had been changed to eliminate ties to former Soviet leader Stalin. Now, a call to action has been sweeping the Russian nation as many officials aim to increase a sense of national pride by restoring the name of Stalingrad.

The reason the city is so famous, and would potentially increase national morale as well as a sense of patriotic pride, is that one of the most major battles of the Second World War that took place on Soviet terrain was in fact the Battle of Stalingrad. The battle marked one of the first major German losses in the Second World War, and helped to clear the Nazi forces out of the surrounding area. It is in the spirit of that victory that men such as President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin would like to see the name restored.

Putin has been one of the biggest proponents of the idea that the return of the city’s former title would be good for its people, and has previously addressed the idea of putting it to a vote. However, the week before D-Day’s anniversary, the issue of Stalingrad was addressed by Rogozin who demanded that such plans be put into action as immediately as possible. He claimed to have no hesitation on the matter whatsoever, believing wholeheartedly that it would be best for the people of the city, the Zee News reports.

Rogozin’s request does not mean that the matter will precede without a vote, as it is primarily an issue for the people to decide. The government support on the matter may sway such votes, and the fact that Stalingrad was seen as not only a site of military victory but also a place of reconstruction may also have an impact on popular opinion. Such reconstruction might be deemed ideal given the recent suicide bombings that have brought harm and destruction to the city after years of peace.

Stalingrad, both as a city and as a name, connotes peace and restoration in the eyes of many. There are certainly many who are also opposed to the restoration of a name which brings to mind a man who brought harm to his own people. Whether or not the name of Stalingrad returns will likely be dependent on whether more people see it as a connotation of death or a symbol of political reconstruction in peacetime.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE