In response to a recommendation from Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman (Isamaa) to rename seven streets in the city of Narva, the local government's expert committee has proposed changing the names of 12.
The Vassili Gerassimov street (tänav) stands to be named after the founder of the Kreenholm Manufacturing Company Ludwig von Knoop, while Proletariaadi (proletariat) street will become Staadioni (stadium) street.
"It clashes with the spirit of the Place Names Act. "Proletariaadi" is also not an Estonian word – the term "töörahva" (working people) should be used – while the name Staadioni works very well there," Narva Mayor Katri Raik explained. "The so-called name committee of experts also proposed renaming Proletariaadi, Esimese Mai (1st of May) and Partisan streets," she added.
The street named after Red Army soldier Mihhail Gorbatš should be renamed Seedri (cedar) street, whereas this has nothing to do with the name of Isamaa's chairman.
"We decided to name the street after a tree because of oaks and birches in the area. I see no direct link to Helir-Valdor Seeder. We found a beautiful name that both Estonians and Russians find easy to pronounce," the mayor explained.
The renaming of streets is a matter of political decision, Raik emphasized. "We have taken the first step. These are recommendations by experts. The matter of street names needs to be heard by city council committees, the council itself, whereas the national names committee also has a mandate to intervene. So, there is a long road still to walk, and people should not expect to see the new street names two weeks from now. We will conclude the discussion and then decide," Raik remarked.
The city government will have to declare the new street names, and because streets named after communists Albert Tiimann and Gerassimov have a lot of apartment buildings, it could take a month to coordinate with residents.
The bill to rename the streets should reach the city government in October and the council in December at the latest. The public administration minister will be presented with a time frame in the coming days.
Solman gave the Narva city government two weeks to say when the city plans to replace seven street names at odds with Estonian history and culture in early September. The Ministry of Finance and the Place Names Committee in the administrative area of the public administration minister have repeatedly called the Narva authorities' attention to street names that are not in accordance with the Place Names Act and should be changed.
The ministry finds that, in addition to Ancis Dauman and Albert-August Tiimann streets, five other street names should be changed for a total of seven. These are: Aleksei Juhhanovi, Arsenti Bastrakovi, Igor Grafovi, Mihhail Gorbatši and 26. juuli (July 26) streets.
Editor: Marcus Turovski