A cold wind of Soviet nostalgia blows over a Russia that uses World War II to justify its war against Ukraine.
It is no coincidence that the laying of the keel of the next nuclear-powered icebreaker takes place simultaneously as St. Petersburg celebrates the 80th anniversary of the end of the Nazi-German siege of Leningrad, the city’s former name.
Initially, it was supposed to be called Sakhalin, but now it has been officially decided that the name will be Leningrad, Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matvienko says on Telegram.
The city of Saint Petersburg was called Leningrad from 1924 to 1991.
The icebreaker is the second to be renamed from a geographical location in the Arctic to bear instead the name of a Soviet dictator and mass murderer. Last fall, Vladimir Putin approved a suggestion to rename Kamchatka Stalingrad. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2025.
Previously, Russia had three ships of this type in operation. The Arktika, the Sibir, and the Urals are essential to keeping the ports and shipping routes of the Arctic open to shipping today. Yakutia and Chukotka are expected to be ready for operations in 2024 and 2026, respectively.
The Soviet Union’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker was named Lenin and today, it serves as a nuclear fleet museum in the central port of Murmansk.