The authorities of the Russian capital have changed the address of the diplomatic mission to “Donetsk People’s Republic Square”

The address of the US embassy in Moscow has been altered, and the square outside the diplomatic mission is now named after “Donetsk People’s Republic Square”, Moscow authorities have announced. Russia officially recognizes the DPR as independent, but the United States and most other nations still consider it a rogue part of Ukraine.

A statement informing Muscovites about the change was published on Wednesday on Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s official website. In it, the Moscow authorities also clarified that the previous address of the embassy had been “nullified”.

According to the document, the new name of the square along with several alternatives were put to a vote through the Active Citizen online platform. A total of 278,684 Moscow residents participated, according to the statement. The Donetsk People’s Republic Square option won the support of 45% of voters.

The proposal calling for the square to be renamed had originally been put forward by members of Moscow’s parliament, shortly after Russia launched its offensive against Ukraine, city authorities revealed. The names had been suggested by the citizens.

The deputy speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, Petr Tolstoy, was present at the scene as workers replaced the street sign.

An employee installs a sign reading “Donetsk People’s Republic Square” in front of the US embassy in Moscow, Russia.
“This is a symbolic gesture that celebrates the struggle of DPR residents,” the politician told reporters.

In the near future, another square or street in Moscow will also be renamed in honor of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

Both Donbass republics declared their independence in 2014 following the Maidan coup in kyiv. These two predominantly Russian-speaking regions expressed concern that the new Ukrainian government, which included known nationalists, would trample on linguistic minorities and force them to speak Ukrainian. Both Luhansk and Donetsk refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new authorities. To quell the separatist movement, kyiv deployed heavily armed police, security forces and eventually the country’s army in Donbass. The separatists, in turn, seized weapons from local military and police stocks.

The Ukrainian government launched what it called a “Anti-terrorist operation” using artillery and fighter planes.

This resulted in a bloody conflict that lasted eight years, which the Minks agreements negotiated by Germany and France tried to resolve without success. The two republics became de facto independent.

During the first two months of 2022, both DPR and LPR authorities reported an increase in Ukrainian bombing. Both republics eventually declared a mass evacuation of civilian residents to Russia, claiming that Ukraine was prepared to retake the regions by force. Days later, the leader of the DPR and the LPR asked Russia to officially recognize them. Both houses of the Russian parliament have approved a bill calling on President Vladimir Putin to do so.

On February 21, the Russian head of state signed the recognition documents.

Moscow is not the first city to symbolically name or change the name of a square or street outside the embassy of a foreign power.

In February 2018, Washington authorities named the square in front of the Russian embassy after assassinated Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. The ceremony was attended by several members of the United States Congress, State Department personnel, and city officials. It was the Washington City Council that made the decision, which he said symbolized the city’s dedication to democracy. A prominent critic of the Russian government and of President Putin personally, Nemtsov was fatally shot outside the Kremlin on February 27, 2015.

The Russian police later arrested the gunmen involved in the crime, who were sentenced to long prison terms. However, the people who had struck Nemtsov have not been identified to date.

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