Stalingrad name to be revived for anniversaries

The Russian city once known as Stalingrad is to regain its old name during commemorations of the famous World War II battle on Saturday.

Stalin is seen here receiving an honorary Sword of Stalingrad from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in November 1943

It has been officially known as Volgograd since 1961, when it was renamed to remove its association with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Its old name is inseparable from the ferocious battle won by Soviet forces 70 years ago this week.

Volgograd council has restored the name for six days a year.

The dates, all associated with military commemorations, are 2 February, 9 May, 22 June, 23 August, 2 September and 19 November.

According to the council, which is dominated by Russia’s ruling United Russia party, the decision was taken after “numerous requests” from World War II veterans.

Critics have suggested the decision is a populist move aimed at boosting United Russia’s popularity ahead of council (or city Duma, as it is officially known) elections in September.

Some have also objected to the use of Stalin’s name again, worried about what they see as creeping attempts under President Vladimir Putin’s rule to portray Stalin as a great war leader.


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