The city council of Ukraine’s Kharkiv has voted 52-8 to rename Petro Hryhorenko Avenue after Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov, an Interfax-Ukraine correspondent reported on Wednesday.
The council’s toponymic commission’s secretary Oleksiy Khoroshkovaty said the request for name change had been received from several veteran organizations. In an online public vote the idea of renaming was supported by 11,193 people (86%).
The opponents said the renaming would be a breach of the country’s decommunization law.
Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes countered by invoking a legal clause which says that decommunization requirements do not extend to monuments and gravestones relating to the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis.
Last November, the Kharkiv city council announced an electronic public consultation on the matter of renaming the avenue, which currently bears the name of the Soviet Army major general Petro Hryhorenko, who also co-founded the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and assigning it the name of the Soviet Marshal Zhukov.
In May 2016, head of the Kharkiv regional state administration Ihor Rainin signed an order to rename the Marshal Zhukov metro station to Sports Palace and Marshal Zhukov Avenue to Hryhorenko Avenue.
On May 8, 2019, the website of the Kharkiv city council registered an electronic petition demanding the return of the marshal’s name to the avenue and the station. The request for the avenue was granted on June 19.
On September 5, Kharkiv district administrative court overturned the council’s decision, citing a procedural failure.
The council appealed, but on November 8 the appeal court ruled on the illegality of returning Marshal Zhukov’s name to Hryhorenko Avenue.
(C)INTERFAX UKRAINE 2020