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Ukrainian town renamed 'New York'

July 1, 2021

New York, Ukraine was given the name Novgorodske under Soviet rule. Ukrainian lawmakers agreed to give the eastern town its old name back.

The Ukrainian town of New York
German settlers founded the Ukrainian town New York in 1892Image: Matanya/Wikipedia

Ukraine's parliament on Thursday backed a decision to rename a Ukrainian town to New York in a bid to distance itself from its Soviet past.

The town of Novgorodske in the eastern Donetsk region campaigned for years to get its old name back.

Over 300 lawmakers supported the decision to rename the town, which lies not far from the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

"Congrats to the people of New York, Donetsk Oblast, on the return to their town's historical name by cross-faction consensus in the [Ukrainian Parliament]," the United States embassy in Kyiv said on Twitter.

"Another reason to celebrate our close ties. We're big fans of your new/old name!" 

What is the history of Ukraine's New York?

German settlers and members of the Mennonite Church, who came to Russia under Catherine the Great, founded the town in 1892.

The settlement was named after the Big Apple because the wife of one of the founders was of American origin. 

In 1951, Soviet authorities changed its name for ideological reasons.

Home for around 12,000 people, former Novgorodske was on the frontline of Ukraine's war with Russian-backed separatists who declared two "people's republics" in the east after Crimea's annexation in 2014.

Ukraine: New hope for peace?

fb/aw (AFP, EFE, Interfax)