Formerly named Tasaritsyn, Volgograd is a city in Russia that has experienced a number of name changes over the course of time. One of the more famous of these name changes, Stalingrad, lasted slightly over two dozen years. While this celebrated the popularity of former Soviet Joseph Stalin, it was ultimately deemed to lend value to a dictator. Thus, the city was renamed again and referred to as Volgograd.
Now it appears as if this change may be reversed. Nothing is set in stone, as the matter is being put to a vote. This was revealed on the seventieth anniversary of the Normandy landings, after a former soldier requested the information from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Volgograd may be returned to its former title of Stalingrad due largely to WWII patriotism which is currently taking the region by storm. Putin has assured the people of Russia and Ukraine that he fully supports the return of the former name, as he never had anything to do with changing it in the first place.
Putin is not alone. There are other officials who believe that the return of the name Stalingrad will have positive effects on citizen morale. The general belief is that Stalingrad was the city’s name long enough that many do not even associate the former name of Volgograd with Joseph Stalin at all. Citizens mostly remember the city’s contributions to the Second World War, a war in which the Soviet Union was highly valuable as a member of the Allied Forces, The Guardian reports.
This change has been under discussion for some time, ever since the seventieth anniversary of the WWII battle which cemented Stalingrad as a household name amongst Russian citizens. While the battle was responsible for a large number of Russian deaths, it also kept the Germans out of the Soviet Union. Volgograd has already been referred to by its former name on certain WWII-related holidays, and over fifty thousand citizens have signed a petition stating that they would like to see the name of Stalingrad returned. That does not mean there is no resistance, as those without ties to the war have been largely uninterested in the name change.
Whether or not Volgograd is restored to its former name will likely rest on those without vested interest in the Second World War. Over half of the citizens who actually live there have voted on a poll that they would not support returning the name of Stalingrad. This could have something to do with the fact that the previously mentioned battle saw somewhere in the neighborhood of two million casualties. Due to an apparent reverence for the Second World War, Putin has been gaining some support lately, so he may well influence whether or not Volgograd is renamed.