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Volgograd Approves 10th Day for Stalingrad Name Change

A Stalingrad sign at the entrance to Volgograd. Dmitry Rogulin / TASS

Municipal deputies in the Russian city of Volgograd voted Wednesday to temporarily rename their city to Stalingrad for a total of 10 days out of the year.

Volgograd had carried the name Stalingrad in honor of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin starting in 1925. The site of the Battle of Stalingrad, where the Soviet army beat back Nazi soldiers on Feb. 2, 1943, its name was changed to Volgograd in 1961 as part of de-Stalinization efforts.

On Wednesday, the Volgograd City Duma approved Sept. 3 as the 10th day in the calendar year when the city reverts to the Soviet-era name.

The move comes a month after President Vladimir Putin designated Sept. 3 as the “Day of Victory Over Militaristic Japan.” Tokyo protested Putin’s decree at the time, warning that it could stir mutual resentment between the two countries.

Since 2013, Volgograd has been referred to as Stalingrad during a number of official holidays, including Victory Day on May 9, the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow on June 22, and the end of World War II in Europe on Sept. 2.

State polling has said that a majority of Volgograd’s residents oppose permanently renaming their city back to Stalingrad, an idea that some political figures in Russia have floated. 

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