How to find the Lenin’s Square

Is it so important in fact, what kind of names we see every day in our cities and villages throughout life?

There is nothing wrong with that in Ukraine, where we've got more than two hundred streets named by Felix “clean hands” Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the main Soviet punitive instruments – Cheka/NKVD/KGB. We have to remember an outstanding organizer of the proletarian masses Artem, who helped carry out the occupation of Ukraine. Certainly, important to us is the person of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Millions of lives in Ukraine was destroyed during Soviet-Russian Empire he founded. Nevertheless a couple of thousand streets still named after him in the Center and in the East, and sometimes in the western part of the country.

“TEXTY” tried to answer the question, how many Soviet street names are in our country. We have worked with Open Street Map data. From the hundreds of thousands of streets that are at the present database, only about a hundred thousand included with the title. In the table below – you can see ten most popular, but not only Soviet names:

# Name # Name
1 Vladimir Lenin Str 6 Zhovtneva (October Street)
2 Taras Shevchenko Str 7 Lesya Ukrainka Str
3 Sadova (Garden Street) 8 Ivan Franko Str
4 Gagarin Str 9 Radyanska (Soviet Street)
5 Myra (Peace Street) 10 Shkilna (School Street)

After data processing, we have compiled a sample list of the most popular streets with Soviet names. It includes not only the most famous figures of the period, but also cultural and social artifacts (e.g., everything associated with the most successful propaganda project of the Soviet Union – Space program). This list is not complete, but we believe that most Soviet names we took in account.

In the next step, we determined how many matches we can find between map of Ukraine and our list. The answer is shocking: although Soviet Union dissolved 24 years ago, one quarter - an impressive 25% - still have Soviet names.

Look at the map below. There are five cities we've selected for exploration. Choose one with a mini-map (streets with soviet names are colored in red), move over line to see a street name, also you could zoom and drag a main map)

Differences between West and East

Almost whole Ukraine, except Galicia on the West, powdered with Soviet names. Generously and about evenly.

For the confirmation, look at the chart below. We divided Ukraine into strips - each of 0.5 degrees of longitude (~37 km) wide, and calculated share of streets with Soviet names in each of theese band. So we can see how this share is changing from West to East.

Share of soviet-named streets, in %, versus degrees of longitude

Approximately after Khmelnitsky the percentage of the Soviet street is about the same, it does not increase when you're moving to Donbass region, but fluctuates around 28-30%. Of course, Donbass has many Soviet names, so does Kyiv and Odessa, though.

What is in the neighboring countries?

In order to compare the number of streets with Soviet names, we made a random sample from the OSM database for the streets in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania (sample size for each country – 400 streets). Next we calculated share of streets with Soviet names in each of theese samples. In case of Latvia and Lithuania, we used automatic translation service from Google. You can see results below:

Share of Soviet streets (selected ex-USSR countries), margin of error = 5%

As you can see, share of streets with Soviet names in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus is almost the same (within the error of 5%), while in Latvia and Lithiania they're rather an exception.

By the way, our list of streets is broader than the requirements under the recent “The Law of Decommunization.” We are sure – it's for the best to change all Soviet street names once and for all.

Will something change from renaming of streets? Of course not, itself the desovietization as renaming and destruction of Soviet symbols will not change our habits and customs without reforms and genuine “desovietization” in education, medicine, state services; but there are at least two reasons, why the names should change immediately:
- Sovietism as a part of the imperial Russian cultural layer, a chain that binds us to the “Russkiy Mir”, with which we are fighting for survival;
- If we want to change the cultural space, it’s impossible to skip the issue of names and symbols of totalitarian empire

We hope that the only answer to the question “How can I find the Lenin’s Square?” soon will be “Very simple. But for this you have to go to Russia, true successor of Soviet Union”