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Historical Group Project

(Re)Shaping Identities: Ideas and Ideology in Toponymic Changes

By creating a unique base of geographical renaming which has taken place in Ukraine within the last two centuries, including specifying of existed renaming trends and creating a user-friendly interactive map, we want to attract audience’s attention to the topic of informational influence through geographical renaming and to increase citizens’ awareness about political manipulations.

After the Maidan Revolution, Ukraine has launched a wide-scale reforming campaign for revising its history. Millions of Ukrainians are trying to define their place in the world and to formulate the image of the country’s future.

One of the most visible examples of such revision is a so-called “de-communization campaign”. Within the last three years, thousands of streets and dozens of cities in Ukraine were renamed, receiving their new, non-Soviet names. However, as the revision of Soviet past is a highly politicised issue in almost every post-Soviet country, new names are often influenced by the current political discourse and even the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Many critics see this as an attempt to substitute the Soviet narrative by a one-sided, uncritical nationalist one.

However, within the last two centuries, Ukraine has already passed through several similar campaigns. Different in their narratives, they were all aimed to manipulate citizens in their perception of reality. Having too tight resources to track how the renaming campaigns have been influencing the consciousness of Ukrainians, we can collect and analyse the information about renaming campaigns, in order to attract people’s attention to the topic and highlight flows of informational influence through the geographical (re)naming.

You can read our findings here