In Russian cities, streets will be named after the "heroes of Donbass".  As Meduza found out, this is an attempt by the Kremlin to “prepare” Russians for joining the DPR and LPR


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Farewell to Vladimir Zhoga. Donetsk, March 7, 2022

On Victory Day, it became known that streets named after military men and politicians from the self-proclaimed DPR will appear in several Russian regions at once. For example, in Grozny, Yakutsk and Omsk there will be streets named after the head of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko, who was killed in 2018. And in several cities – named after the deceased commander of the DNR battalion “Sparta” Vladimir Zhoga. Moreover, on May 9, President Vladimir Putin personally met with Jogi’s father. As Meduza found out, all this is part of a strategy developed by the presidential administration. It should “prepare public opinion” for the accession of the DPR and LPR to Russia.

Announcement that cities will have streets Vladimir Zhogi and Alexandra Zakharchenkogovernors and heads of local administrations timed to the Victory Day.

“On Victory Day, we honor the memory of true patriots of our Fatherland. These are honored veterans who defended the freedom of our country from the Nazi invaders, and modern heroes who defend the independence of the Motherland with weapons in their hands. One of these was Alexander Zakharchenko – the first head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, major general and Hero of Russia. He courageously fought for his land, was a strong leader, followed by people. In 2018, Alexander Zakharchenko died without changing his principles, ”- wrote On May 9, in his telegram channel, the Sakhalin Governor Valery Limarenko.

He added that a street in the Uyun microdistrict under construction in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk will be named after the first head of the DPR. Limarenko explained his actions by “numerous appeals from public and veteran organizations.” Which organizations addressed him, the governor did not explain.

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, in turn, called Zakharchenko “an outstanding statesman and military leader of the DPR” and announced that one of the streets in Grozny would be renamed in his honor. “The memory of heroes must never fade. She will live on in the hearts of future generations! – so Kadyrov finished your post about Zakharchenko.

Also, the name Zakharchenko will receive the streets in Kursk (about this announced mayor Igor Kutsak) and Penza (this promised to make the Penza governor Oleg Melnichenko). At the initiative of the governors of the regions, Zakharchenko streets will appear in Livny Oryol region and Bryansk.

In Rostov-on-Don, Vladivostok, Maikop and several other Russian cities, streets will be named after Vladimir Zhogi, the commander of the Sparta battalion of the DPR armed formations who died in the war in Ukraine. “He died heroically, liberating the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics from Nazism,” declared seaside governor Oleg Kozhemyako.

And in Omsk and Kyzyl streets will appear both in honor of Zhogi and in honor of Zakharchenko. “The head of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the legendary battalion commander of Sparta gave their lives for truth and peace without Nazism! Heroes courageously defended the people of Donbass from Ukrainian nationalists. Their feat will forever remain in our memory and the memory of future generations, ”wrote in his telegram channel Omsk governor Alexander Burkov.

On the same day, May 9, Vladimir Putin met with the father of Vladimir Zhogi Artem – and presented him with the star of the Hero of Russia, which the Sparta commander was awarded posthumously. “Unfortunately, he is not among us. He left our ranks, but he lived his life brightly, beautifully and died like a hero, covering with himself, in the full, true sense of the word, women, children, his countrymen, compatriots. He gave his life for the Motherland, declared Putin.

Vladimir Putin and Lieutenant Colonel of the armed forces of the DPR Artem Zhoga are the father of Vladimir Zhoga. May 9, 2022

Three Meduza sources close to the Presidential Administration stressed that these initiatives were developed by the Presidential Administration’s Public Projects Department under the leadership of Sergei Novikov. “The idea itself belongs to Novikov’s deputy Alexei Zharich and his people,” one of the interlocutors clarifies. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not answer Meduza’s question about the campaign at the time of publication.

According to Meduza’s sources, the regions were given three main options to choose from:

  • Name a street after Zakharchenko;
  • Name a street after Jogi;
  • Name the street in honor of the Russian military who died in Ukraine (schools are also allowed to be named after them).

“Primarily [местные власти] they choose Zakharchenko and Zhogu so as not to focus on the losses of the Russian army. Zakharchenko and Zhoga are especially enterprising. For the national republics, the idea of ​​using local military is also suitable,” says one of Meduza’s sources close to the Presidential Administration.

Indeed, there were not so many reports about the renaming of streets in honor of the dead Russian military. However, in the city of Zarinsk, Altai Territory will appear Defenders of Donbass Street, and in Kamchatka, Governor Vladimir Solodov declared about the intention to “perpetuate the memory of the defenders of Donbass – Russian servicemen who participated in the special operation in Ukraine.”

According to Meduza’s interlocutors, one of the main goals of the appearance of streets in honor of the “heroes of Donbass” is to bring the war in Ukraine and the Great Patriotic War even closer symbolically: “She has [войны в Украине] there must also be heroes who fight against Nazism. And the renaming of streets has been familiar to the older and middle generation since Soviet times.”

What else was invented in the Kremlin

Another Meduza interlocutor named another goal of the campaign: “Public opinion is being prepared for the entry of the DPR and LPR into the Russian Federation. Budget money will be allocated for the restoration of the republics, and it is already difficult for people because of inflation in the country. So they will understand – we spend not on strangers, on our own. Through street names, such a common identity can be created, the division into “us” and “them” will be overcome.”

As Meduza wrote earlier, referendums on the accession of the DPR and LPR were going to be held in the middle of the month (the same data was later published by Western media with reference to American intelligence). However, the Kremlin admitted that the deadlines could be shifted due to failures at the front. As a result, according to the latest information from Meduza’s sources, they are now scheduled for autumn 2022.

At the same time, one of Meduza’s interlocutors, referring to closed opinion polls (read more about this here), said that the majority of Russians do not perceive residents of the DPR and LPR as fellow citizens. And another source stressed: “The topic of the liberation of Donbass is incomprehensible to citizens, it does not go well.” This is partly confirmed even by the VTsIOM data: according to survey dated March 30, 46% of respondents named as the main goal of the “special operation” in Ukraine “to protect Russia, disarm Ukraine, prevent the deployment of NATO bases on its territory; 19% talked about “changing the political course of Ukraine” and its “cleansing from the Nazis.” And only 18% of respondents mentioned the protection of the residents of the DPR and LPR.

Apparently, the “Donbass theme” also “does not come very well” to the regional authorities. Basically, in honor of Zakharchenko and Zhoga, streets are named in microdistricts being built on the outskirts. “Like they reported [перед АП], and this street will not be an eyesore. There will be no unnecessary questions – how, why, why, ”says a source close to the leadership of one of the regions of the Volga District.

One of the political strategists cooperating with the Presidential Administration, in a conversation with Meduza, even doubted that city residents would notice the renaming. And even if they notice, they will somehow think about the fate of Donbass: “Since Soviet times, there have been many streets left in honor of the figures of those times. Stop a passerby on one of these streets and ask – who are they? Most won’t answer.

Kremlin and war

Andrey Pertsev


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