Vinnitsa replaces world famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy with Stepan Bandera
The city council of Vinnitsa in Ukraine announced on Friday that it was renaming one of its streets in honor of World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. Local authorities have described their drive to rid the city of all Russian-related toponyms as “process of decolonization”.
The street was previously named after Leo Tolstoy, the world famous 19th century Russian author. Vinnitsa authorities said they had paid “particular attention” to commemorate those they described as “heroes of the national liberation struggle”. Bandera, who led a nationalist movement responsible for numerous atrocities against Russians, Jews and Poles during World War II, is considered a national hero by current Ukrainian authorities.
Another street is named after Ivan Treiko, one of “generals” and the “Chief of Military Intelligence” of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a paramilitary group that also collaborated with the Nazis. Warsaw in particular blamed the UPA for the genocide of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. Ethnic cleansing operations against Poles were ordered by Nazi Germany and carried out by paramilitary units composed mainly of ethnic Ukrainians.
A total of 232 toponyms were changed as part of the “decolonization” campaign in Vinnitsa and nearby towns, the city council said, boasting of being one of the “most active participants” of this national campaign.
The Ukrainian capital, kyiv, has renamed one of its streets in honor of the infamous “Azov” regiment, which had neo-Nazis in its ranks. This street was previously named after Soviet Marshal Rodion Malinovsky. A Ukrainian by birth, Malinovsky liberated much of southern Ukraine, including his hometown of Odessa, from the Nazis in 1943-44.
Ukrainian mayor worried about rising anti-Russian hatred
In June, the mayor of Odessa expressed concern about the growing enmity for “everything Russian” amid the protracted conflict between Moscow and Kyiv.
Removing references to Russia from street names and other institutions has been a trend in Ukraine since the Maidan coup in 2014, but intensified after the launch of Moscow’s military operation.
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