Guide of decolonization of Ukrainian cities
The Transparent Cities program of Transparency International Ukraine has developed a special guide for local authorities and citizens to strip the public spaces in Ukrainian cities of Russian and Soviet toponyms. This document aims to assist local governments and the public in renaming streets, squares, bridges, parks, and other toponyms.
The full-scale war of russia has formed a public demand to do away with the aggressor. The latest sociological surveys demonstrate such a desire of Ukrainians — 59% support the renaming of toponyms whose names are associated with russia, the USSR, or the Russian Empire.
Experts of the Transparent Cities program, within the framework of the guide, collected all the materials on the renaming processes and explained in detail how to properly decolonize names of toponyms in our cities. The program paid special attention to the role of the community in derussification and provided a petition template, which citizens may use to appeal to local authorities with a request to rename a toponym.
The guide consists of five sections:
- legislative framework,
- the role of local governments in decolonization processes,
- the role of residents in the decolonization process,
- up-to-date statistics,
- frequently asked questions.
The Transparent Cities team has been researching the renaming process in Ukrainian cities for almost a year now. The latest data provided in the material prove that Ukrainian cities continue to abandon toponyms associated with russia or the USSR. Thus, in the first six months of 2023, 22 city councils renamed 989 toponyms.
Why rename toponyms now, when the country is at war? Russia uses toponyms as a tool in promoting its imperial goals and to mark the territory as part of the “Russian world.” Today, our state is fighting the enemy for its own independence and territories, and this entails, in particular, ensuring that our streets contain no cultural code of the occupiers.
Therefore, where possible, we need to derussify the common space and give our toponyms names related to our history and culture. The Transparent Cities program helps make this process transparent and democratic.