DECOMMUNIZATION OF THE NAMES OF THE SETTLEMENTS AND REGIONS IN UKRAINE: THE BASIS, THE PROCESS, AND THE RESULTS
Keywords:decommunisation, renaming, commemoration, totalitarian regimes
For almost eight months - from November 2015 to July 2016 - the most significant number of settlements in Ukraine since independence got new names. The names were changed following the Law of Ukraine “On Condemnation of Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) Totalitarian Regimes and Prohibition of Propaganda of Their Symbolism" (No. 317-VIII of April 9, 2015). This article describes the grounds, the course of preparation for the decommunization of the names of settlements and districts of Ukraine, renaming principles, analyzes their quantitative and qualitative indicators, as well as summarizes the experience of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINP) - a government body that prepared for the Verkhovna Rada Ukraine's recommendations. The authors state that during the specified time, the Verkhovna Rada adopted 13 resolutions renaming 987 settlements and 25 districts.
The authors note that the most significant number of renamed units of the administrative and territorial structure is in the territory of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions (oblast). Named in honour of the October Revolution of 1917, the names disappeared from the map of Ukraine; V. Lenin, G. Petrovsky, S. Kirov, V. Chapayev and others.
However, more than 300 historical names have been restored, of which about 70 belong to the cultural heritage of the national communities of Ukraine - Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Greeks, Jews, etc.
At the same time, authors emphasize that the proposals of new names that commemorate the events of Revolution 1917-1921 or the Ukrainian soldiers killed in the ATO were submitted by the Expert Commission at the Ukrainian National Memory Institute. Local self-government bodies and local executive bodies were not keen to preserve the local cultural and historical heritage, they were mostly guided by the principle of harmony (Kalininsky-Kalinovo) or chose typical, "neutral" names (Stepove, Vyshneve). As the Verkhovna Rada Committee favoured the "will of the local community", many of the original proposals of the Expert Committee of Ukrainian National Memory Institute remained unfulfilled.
Summarizing, the authors note that despite some adverse circumstances, the decommunization of the names on the map of Ukraine has been successful.