Russian President Vladimir Putin has named several military units after cities or other places in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and Romania, a step that may be seen as provocative by people in those countries, Radio Free Europe reports.
The decrees – which give a number of regiments and divisions honorary names that hark back to World War II, when dictator Josef Stalin was in power – were signed by Putin on June 30 and were made public on July 2.
The decrees say that the names are intended “to preserve glorious military and historic traditions, and to nurture loyalty to the fatherland and military duty among the military personnel.”
But the move may not go over well in the countries whose place names were used. Many in Poland, for example, see the Soviet Army less as a wartime liberator than as a post-war occupier, and there is resentment over decades of Soviet domination across Eastern Europe.
According to the decrees, the 6th Tank Regiment of the Russian Army is now called the Lviv regiment, the 68th Tank Regiment — Zhytomyr-Berlin, the 163th Tank Regiment — Nizhyn. The decrees give the Russian spellings of the names of the Ukrainian cities of Lviv, Zhytomyr, and Nizhyn.
In addition, Russian Army regiments were renamed after the Belarusian cities of Vitsebsk, Kobryn, and Slonim, as well as Warsaw, Berlin, and Romania’s Transylvania region, the same source informs.