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7 Dec, 2008 14:05

Muscovites reject Solzhenitsyn street

Muscovites reject Solzhenitsyn street

Over a hundred people have staged a protest against the renaming of a major Moscow street in honour of dissident Soviet writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It was organised by a wing of the Communist Party and saw the street sign torn down and a petition hande

The name change has touched a nerve, as Solzhenitsyn Street has replaced Bolshaya Kommunisticheskaya, meaning Big Communist.

Protesters also believe the renaming is illegal. According to Russian law, street names should only be named after people who have been dead for more than 10 years, but Solzhenitsyn only died in August.

People who have streets named after them are also expected to have a connection to the area – but Solzhenitsyn had never lived there.

Communists were not the only protesters, as local residents also joined the campaign. They’re angry that they will have to change piles of documents, which, given Moscow’s red tape, could take a long time. 

A former Nobel laureate, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, was one of Russia’s most respected writers and cultural figures of the 20th century. His name is associated with socio-political changes in Russia in the early 1990s. He died at his home near Moscow last August, aged 89.

Soon after his death, President Dmitry Medvedev suggested that the Moscow authorities should honour him by naming a street after him.