On February 11, the Russian state-owned media outlet RIA Novosti published an op-ed criticizing Ukraine’s renaming of towns and other toponyms in accordance with the country’s law on de-communization.
RIA Novosti’s headline read: “’Not Odessa, but Kotsyubeyev!’ Why does Kyiv erase the real names of cities.” According to the article, Alexander Vasiliev, a former deputy of the Odessa (Ukrainian: Odesa) city council and historian, implies “Ukrainian nationalists” would prefer Odessa be called Khadjibey-Kotsyubeyev, as it was known before the Russian empire conquered it from the Ottomans in the late 18th century. Although he admits that it’s unlikely that anyone will actually decide to change the name. Vasiliev does not identify the Ukrainian nationalists (or any Ukrainians at all, for that matter) who supposedly prefer the old name. Polygraph.info found no indications that anyone in the Ukrainian media, or among Ukrainian politicians or government officials, have discussed such a proposal regarding changing Odesa’s name. In fact, the idea seems to have been absent from Ukraine’s public discourse.Read more