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Kharkiv renames Pushkin’s street after Ukraine’s philosopher Skovoroda, cutting ties with the Soviet past

On 26 January 2024, the Kharkiv city council voted to change 65 Soviet street names linked to Russia, including Pushkinska Street.
Kharkiv city council
Kharkiv city council. The city, located 30 km from the Russian border, often suffers from Russian missile attacks. Photo: Suspilne
Kharkiv renames Pushkin’s street after Ukraine’s philosopher Skovoroda, cutting ties with the Soviet past

This is part of the nationwide de-Russification and de-Sovietization move. During the Russian and Soviet empires, almost every settlement had to have streets named after Pushkin and other figures from the typical Russian imperial “pantheon.”

According to the city council’s press service, the changes in Kharkiv include Korolenko Street becoming Mykolayivska Street, Omska Street changing to Bakhmutska Street, Pskovska Street to Truskavetska Street, and more.

Pushkin’s street was renamed after Ukrainian philosopher Skovoroda, who was famous for his lifestyle and teaching in the late 18th century. He was born in the Kharkiv region and traveled all around Europe and Ukraine.

In the first months of the war, a Russian missile hit the museum of Skovoroda in the Kharkiv region, eradicating it. Recently, on 1 January 2024, a Russian drone destroyed a museum dedicated to Roman Shukhevych, leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in the Lviv region, indicating a Russian-intended campaign against Ukrainian cultural heritage.

Pushkin monuments disappear from Ukrainian streets following Lenin, as decolonization is underway

Local historian Maria Takhtaulova called the name list “one of the most balanced renaming lists we’ve had in Kharkiv in recent times.” She noted it includes fallen Heroes of Ukraine connected to the Kharkiv region, historical figures and phenomena, and references to other populated places or regions of Ukraine.

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