Saturday, January 24, 2015

Postcommunist street names in Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary will keep Russian street names

The west Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary has long been a magnet for Russian tourists, but for some of the city's inhabitants the number of Russian street names has become a problem. Photo:

Citing costs and inconvenience, Town Hall rejects proposal to change vast amount of Russophile signs around town

Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, Jan. 20 (ČTK) — The Town Hall today rejected the proposal that its streets bearing the names of Russian towns and distinguished personalities be renamed, archivist Petr Cais, who proposed the change in the Czech spa town, has told the Czech News Agency.
The number of the streets bearing Russian names is much bigger than of those named after other world cities, Cais argued.

He said it was a shame, in particular that Town Hall is located in Moscow Street (Moskevská ulice).
Cais said major streets in the town were named after Russian towns, regions and personalities such as Moscow, Yalta, Crimea, Siberia, Gorky and Peter the Great streets.
"While Peter the Great Street historically belongs to the town, the name after the propagandist Gorky does not. In fact, Russians themselves have renamed the town of Gorky back to Nizhny Novgorod," he added.
It is equally wrong to have streets called after communist politicians and artists, Cais said, citing the examples of Šmeral Street and Václav Řezáč Square.
Bohumir Šmeral(1880–1941) was one of the first leaders of the prewar Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and Řezáč (1901–56) was a prominent communist writer.
Cais said the streets should be renamed after distinguished national and regional personalities.
Town Hall has dismissed the proposal, arguing with its costs and complications, such as changes in personal documents and addresses. The same arguments were made some time ago when it was proposed that Moscow Street be renamed to Václav Havel Street.

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