Sillamäe's Tškalovi tänav renamed while Rumjantsevi remains unchanged

Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav in Sillamäe.
Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav in Sillamäe. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin / ERR

In Sillamäe, Ida-Viru County, a deal is expected to be reached in March to replace the signs on the city's Valeri Tškalovi tänav with ones displaying the new name "Hariduse tänav" (Education Street). However, no further progress has been made in relation to the state's proposal to change the title of Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav, which is named after a Soviet soldier.

In December last year, Sillamäe city council decided by a vote of 12 to 3 to change the street in the city, which is named after Soviet test pilot Valeri Tškalov to "Hariduse tänav" (Education Street).

"We gave the owners of the property until April 1 to replace the street signs, and as you can see, some of them have already been replaced with new ones," said Sillamäe Deputy Mayor Aleksei Stepanov.

"We allocated €600 to the municipal authorities to replace the street signs, and they have a deadline of March 15 ," Stepanov added.

In addition to Valeri Tškalovi tänav, last year Sillamäe also received an order from the state to change the title of Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav, which is named after a citizen of Sillamäe, who died in the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan.

"As was the case for Tškalovi tänav, a working group was set up to look into the matter. The task of that working group is to see whether the renaming would be possible and under what conditions. As far as I know, no one is actively working on this issue," said Stepanov.

Mihhail Rumjantsev is the only Soviet soldier sent from Estonia, who died in Afghanistan and subsequently had a street named after him. Until 1989, Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav bore the name of leading Soviet politician Andrei Ždanov.

Sillamäe street names

In addition to the now renamed Valeri Tškalovi tänav, Sillamäe has several other streets named after people, who have no direct connection with the city. They include poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, writers Maksim Gorky, Leo Tolstoy, Vladimir Korolenko, Anton Chekhov and Ivan Krylov, as well as cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

There is also a street in Sillamäe named after psychologist and physiologist Ivan Pavlov. However, did enjoy spending his summers in Sillamäe before the First World War.

According to the Sillamäe city website, the word "Sillamäe" appears in the biographies of composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Eduard Tubin, as well as poets Vyacheslav Ivanov and Konstantin Balmont. Writer Endel Tennov, artists Konstantin Somov and Nikolai Dubovsky as well as inventor Boris Rosing, also have connections to the city

However, Sillamäe currently contains no streets named after any of them.

In 1998, eight of Sillamäe's streets were renamed. In most cases, they were given the Estonian equivalent of the Russian names they had been known by during the Soviet period. "Zeljonaya" became "Roheline" (both meaning "green") and "Geologicheskaya "became Geoloogia" (both meaning "geology") for instance. Others, such as the streets named after Soviet soldier Aleksandr Matrossov and Soviet pilot Polina Osipenko, were changed entirely, to Sõtke tänav and Veski tänav respectively.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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