So Long, Tolstoy Station? Cities 'Decolonize' by Erasing Russian Names. 再見了托爾斯泰！烏克蘭拚去俄殖民化
Far from Ukraine's embattled eastern front, a new struggle is being waged — not from the trenches, but over leafy side streets and broad avenues. That is where the enemy goes by the name Pavlov. Or Tchaikovsky. Or Catherine the Great.
Across Ukraine, officials are starting projects to, as they say, "decolonize" their cities. Streets and subway stops whose names evoke the history of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union are under scrutiny by a population eager to rid itself of traces of the nation that invaded in late February.
"We are defending our country, also on the cultural front lines," said Andriy Moskalenko, deputy mayor of Lviv and head of a committee that has reviewed the names of each of the city's more than 1,000 streets.
It is not the first time Ukraine has undertaken such an effort: After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was one of many Eastern European countries that renamed streets and removed statues commemorating an era of communist rule that became synonymous with totalitarianism.
This time, the decision to erase Russian names is not just a symbol of defiance toward the invasion and Soviet history, said Vasyl Kmet, a historian at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. It is also about reasserting a Ukrainian identity that many feel has been repressed under centuries of domination by its more powerful neighbor, he said.
The western city of Lviv is one of many areas undertaking "decolonization" campaigns. So, too, is the northwestern city of Lutsk, which plans to rename over 100 streets. In the southern port city of Odesa, whose inhabitants are mostly Russian-speaking, politicians are debating whether to remove a monument to Catherine the Great, the Russian empress who founded the city in 1794.
In Kyiv, the capital, the city council is looking into renaming the Leo Tolstoy subway stop after Vasyl Stus, a Ukrainian poet and dissident.
And it's not only Russian names that are under scrutiny. The Lviv committee also plans to delete street names in tribute to some Ukrainians. One is named after writer Petro Kozlaniuk, who collaborated with Soviet security agencies, including the KGB.
Removing the names of some cultural icons — has proved more divisive. The history of figures like Pyotr Tchaikovsky can be tricky: The classical composer's family roots were in modern-day Ukraine, and some musicologists say his works were inspired by Ukrainian folk music.
But the committee's ruling was unanimous: Tchaikovsky would go.
Sellout Culture Is a Problem for Pro Golf 出賣文化是職業高球界一大問題
Even if you don't play or follow golf — which I don't — you're probably aware of the controversy now engulfing the game. A number of the world's top-ranked pro players, notably Phil Mickelson, made extremely lucrative deals to play in a new tour, the LIV Golf International Series, sponsored by Saudi Arabia. The PGA Tour, which has traditionally dominated the sport, responded by suspending 17 of these players.
The Saudis are obviously engaged in reputation-laundering — greenswashing? — in an attempt to make people forget about the atrocities their regime has perpetrated. It's less clear what motivated the PGA. Did it consider the LIV series flawed, not a proper golf tour? Was it attempting to squash competition? Or was the problem with the LIV series' sponsors?
PGA attendees surveyed by ProGolf weekly were in no doubt: An overwhelming majority attributed Mickelson's exclusion to "media/cancel culture." And I hope they're right. I mean, if getting paid big bucks to provide favorable PR to a regime that deals with critical journalists by killing them and dismembering them with a bone saw doesn't warrant cancellation, what does? And yet Mickelson and others were willing to provide that PR.
What explains the rise of sellout culture? Tax cuts may have played a role: Selling your soul becomes more attractive when you get to keep more of the proceeds. Soaring income inequality may inspire envy, a desire to keep up with the super-elite. And there is surely a process of normalization: Everyone else is selling out, so why shouldn't I join the party?