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Tuesday, 14 August, 2001, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Reviving Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
1942-43: Proud if painful memories for Russians
The Russian city of Volgograd could soon be answering to its old and - to many people - much more familiar name of Stalingrad.

The regional authorities in the city, site of the 1942-3 battle, are keen to achieve the name recognition Stalingrad holds, despite the negative associations it brings with it.


Stalin headed the country for nearly 30 years. There were mistakes, but there were also great victories

Communist Party Leader Gennady Zyuganov
"The Battle of Stalingrad, which has gone down in world history as extraordinary, was fought on the Volga in 1943, and I, as governor, am being flooded with letters and requests to return to the city its historical name," said regional governor, Nikolay Maksyuta.

Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the modern-day Communist Party supports the authorities' move.

"There is history, there is reality, there is the memory of our fathers and grandfathers who were defending that city and were fighting in the name of Stalin," he said.

"Stalin headed the country for nearly 30 years. There were mistakes, there were violations of law but there were also great victories... Let us be accurate about history," he added.

New names, old places

Originally called Tsaritsyn, the city adopted Stalin's name during his reign from 1924-53 but became Volgograd under Krushchev's process of de-Stalinisation.

Mr Maksyuta said he expected the regional assembly to vote to hold a referendum on the issue, adding the city may be renamed in time for the 60th anniversary of the battle in 2003.

A number of other cities - notably in India - have renamed themselves in the past few years.

Bombay became Mumbai, Calcutta became Kolkata and Madras became Chennai.

See also:

09 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood recycles Soviet tale
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Stalingrad meets Hollywood at Berlin
02 Feb 98 | Background
The Battle of Stalingrad - 55 years on
23 Dec 00 | South Asia
Calcutta's rebirth as Kolkata confirmed
24 Jul 00 | Africa
Megacities, new names
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