July 9, 2009 / 9:13 PM / 10 years ago

Russian rail wants to remove Lenin from station name

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Russia’s railway monopoly triggered a row with Communists when it announced a proposal to strip the name of Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, from one of Moscow’s train stations.

Rail tracks are shown in this file image. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Instead of Leningradsky Station, Russian Railways wants it to be called Nikolayevsky station — its pre-revolutionary name.

“The return of the historical name is connected with the well-known contribution by Russian Emperor Nicholas I to the development of Russian railways,” Russian Railways said in a statement.

Czar Nicholas I ruled Russia from 1825 until 1855 and oversaw the foundations of its railway system. Russian news agencies said the station, built between 1844 and 1851, is the oldest in Moscow.

Since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has been eager to promote its imperial past and has resurrected pre-revolutionary names, including the city of St Petersburg which the Communists had named Leningrad.

But not everyone is happy about the proposal.

“This is nothing less than ideological provocation,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the Communist Party’s press department as saying.

The Communist Party, which retains strong support especially among older Russians, has promised to fight the name change.

Later Russian Railways said a final decision had not been made.

The 1917 Bolshevik revolution led to the creation of the Soviet Union. During Soviet times statues of Lenin, with his trademark goatee beard, dotted almost every town. Everything from streets to libraries were named after him.

His body is in a mausoleum in Red Square.

Writing by James Kilner; Editing by Patricia Reaney

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