IconoclasmJuly 6, 2013
Following the collapse of the USSR, there were a lot of surplus statues in Eastern Europe. There was also a lot of re-naming. In Russia, Leningrad (which had been Petrograd) went back to being St. Petersburg. Of course this sort of thing was nothing new – In 1961 Stalingrad had became Volgograd (but had previously been Tsaritsyn) and from this year it’s again called Stalingrad for 6 days each year to commemorate the Second World War battle. In Moscow, Red Square remained Red Square because that’s what it was called before the Bolshevik Revolution. Following the reunification of Germany, the city of Karl-Marx-Stadt went back to being Chemnitz, but voted to keep it’s 7 metre tall statue of Karl. In Hungary, 428 changes to street names were proposed in Budapest. But my favourite renaming happened in the Polish city of Poznan, where a solution was found to getting rid of Communist street names without the expense of casting new road signs. Dabrovsky Street – named after the hero of the Paris Commune General Jaroslav Dabrovsky would from now on be called Dabrovsky Street – after the founder of the Polish Legion General Henryk Dabrovsky. Well I’m glad that’s all clear then – and thank god (or Lenin) I didn’t buy a map of Eastern Europe in 1991. By the way, the photograph was taken in Budapest’s Statue Park whilst on holiday a couple of years ago.