Decommunization of toponymic: the concept of the historical names’ return to the map of UkraineJournal: Problems of Continuous Geographic Education and Cartography (Vol.26, No. 0)
Publication Date: 2017-09-14
Authors : Irina Drogushevska;
Page : 22-27
Keywords : decommunization; toponymy; mapping;
Decommunization is a system of measures, theoretical and practical activities aimed at the liberation from the influence and impact of Communist ideology in all spheres of life after the fall of the ruling Communist regimes. In April 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted 4 laws on decommunization. During the six-month period public authorities and local self-government had to hold public hearings and submit proposals on the renaming of place names containing symbols of the Communist regime to the Verkhovna Rada. Ukraine is not the first country that has condemned the Communist totalitarian regime, and its legacy. The Communist regime has been condemned in many former socialist countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland. The situation in which Ukraine finds itself today, has defined new conditions for social development. As the toponymic is a specific instrument to assert the state sovereignty and national identity of the population, the country faces an important choice. It is the introduction of Ukrainian toponymic in its territories and return of the historical names to geographical objects. Several principles have made the basis for de-communization concept. The main among them are: scientific, comprehensive, system, the combination of national and regional approaches, publicity. The hottest controversy was centred around renaming of the regional centres – cities of Dnipropetrovsk and Kirovograd. In general, more than 900 settlements have been renamed in Ukraine during the year. As a result of de-communization there were renamed: 858 (92%) villages, 48 towns (5%) and 31 cities (3% of all renamed localities). The main findings are the following: 1. The de-communization of Ukrainian place names is a necessary step towards the restoration of national justice, an integral part of the toponymic heritage return. 2. The process of de-communization, which began in the Western regions after 1991, took place on the whole territory of Ukraine. 3. New geographical names do not contain the political context and mainly relate to the historical realities or geographic features of the objects. 4. About 60 toponyms-russisms require renaming and restoration of historical names. For example, the town of Pervomaisk of Mykolaiv region was formed through the merger of three settlements – towns of Bogomil and Olviopol and the village of Golta, and in 1919 was named Pervomaisk, which is not original. According to the author, it would be advisable to return the settlement one of its historical names.
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