History

Little Moscows

The BBC reports on the Indian village called Moscow where lots of the children were given Russian names to demonstrate daily their parents’ support for the Soviet Union:

The worldwide surge of communism saw many in India seek inspiration from Russian leaders.

It was then that this tiny village in Kottayam district saw its name changed to Moscow.

Most of the people with Russian names were born in the Cold War decades.

The village had a party recently to celebrate its unusual heritage:

Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev and Khrushchev recently gathered here along with Natasha, Tereshkova and Anastasya.

It’s a phenomenon with examples elsewhere: France, Italy and Germany each had plenty of towns and villages nicknamed Little Moscow because of local enthusiasm for the Russian Revolution.

In Britain the mining villages of Chopwell on Tyneside, Maerdy in the Rhondda and Lumphinnans in Scotland named streets after revolutionaries and cosmonauts too.

It’s comparatively rare to come across actual people rather than streets with Russian-inspired names in this country but it does happen occasionally. Recently while researching the background of an opponent on an arbitration I was working on I discovered via the Law Society that his parents had decided at some point in the 1960’s that Khrushchev would make an unusual middle-name for their son and heir. I never got round to asking him what he thought about their choice.

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