2019, Volume 16, Issue 3

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Yulia A. Kachalkova
Maria E. Ruth

Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

“Ideological” Urban Place Names and the Renaming of City Streets

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp. 179–192 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.3.038

Received 5 June 2019

Abstract: The paper addresses a topical problem of renaming city objects, arising from repeated claims for removing a large number of names and titles associated with the most odious figures of the Soviet era. The three major subject groups lobbying the process are the citizenry (local residents and society as a whole), official bodies (toponymic commissions under city administrations), and the religious community (urban clergy) that has grown active over the past 10–15 years. In the 21st century, each renaming case becomes more debatable and receives mixed reception. Public polls seem to present a solution to emerging problems. Typically, such surveys are conducted among the residents of a given street that is a subject of renaming, but the public opinion tends to be shaped by factors unrelated to the place name itself: individual respondents are often unenthusiastic about changing the passport due to a change in registration and local business owners begrudge the inevitable complications of changing the legal address. Renaming disputes are a common thing for social networks, but these are hard to track and not easily quantifiable, due to the spontaneous and overemotional nature of information. The article discusses the results of a pilot survey conducted among students of two Ural universities on the problems of renaming the streets of Ekaterinburg. It aimed to measure their attitude to the ideological names of the Soviet era, the option of restoring pre-revolutionary street names, etc. The choice of students a focus group is explained by several factors: first, young people are usually more receptive to change, secondly, many of them are non-residents, therefore they are not accustomed to the old names. An analysis of the results reveals new aspects of the problem.

Keywords: proper name, urbanonyms, ideological component of urbanonyms, functions of urbanonyms, renaming of city objects, city toponymic commission, sociological survey.

The study is supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant number 18-012-00586 “Urbanonyms as a Part of the Language Landscape of the City: Traditions and Prospects for Rational Development”).


Kachalkova, Yu. A. (2013). Urbanonimicheskoe prostranstvo sovremennogo Ekaterinburga (ofitsial’nye nazvaniia) [Urbanonymic Space of Contemporary Ekaterinburg (Official Names)]. Voprosy onomastiki, 1, 88–104.