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New York! New York! Ukraine town gets name back

For years, the town of Novgorodske in the eastern Donetsk region campaigned to get its old name back
Last Updated : 01 July 2021, 17:47 IST

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It sits on the frontline and boasts few tourist attractions but one gritty Ukrainian town has changed its name back to New York in an effort to distance itself from the Soviet past.

For years, the town of Novgorodske in the eastern Donetsk region campaigned to get its old name back, and on Thursday Ukrainian parliament supported the change.

More than 300 lawmakers backed 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 @ua_parliament!" the US embassy said on Twitter.

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

The town, whose current population is around 12,000, was founded by members of the Mennonite Church who came to Russia under Catherine the Great.

It was renamed by the Soviet authorities for ideological reasons in 1951.

In 2014, the town found itself on the frontline of Ukraine's war with Russian-backed separatists who carved out two "people's republics" in the industrial east after Moscow annexed Crimea.

Washington has supported Kiev in its efforts to forge closer ties with the West and supplied arms to Ukraine.

In 2015, Ukraine enacted legislation banning Soviet symbols and communist-era propaganda in an effort to break with its Soviet past.

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Published 01 July 2021, 17:17 IST

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