The municipal councillors of Brussels City Centre and Saint Gilles, Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène and Marc Naether, have proposed to change the names of streets associated with Russia as a protest against the country’s war crimes.
On Thursday, Naether proposed to change “Rue de Russie” in Saint-Gilles into “Rue d’Ukraine”, and Coomans de Brachène will propose to change the name of Avenue de Stalingrad on Monday, La Capitale writes.
The municipal councillors believe that Brussels, the European capital, must speak out against Russia more strongly and show support for Ukrainian war victims with symbolic actions.
“As Europeans, we cannot remain impassive in the face of the humanitarian drama unfolding on our doorstep. We want to send a message of hope to Ukrainians and remind them that despite the delicate circumstances, we support them ardently,” Naether said.
“Like the capitals of the Baltic States, which have symbolically renamed roads bordering the Russian embassy, our capital city cannot remain passive when so many citizens of Brussels are actively participating in efforts to support the Ukrainian people.”
Geoffroy Coomans adds: “It is, above all, a symbolic gesture in support of a European nation that was seriously attacked when it had clearly marked its preference for the European Union and the values of freedom that it embodies.”
However, as the two are aware that a change of name can cause many inconveniences on a daily basis for the inhabitants and companies on these roads, their resolutions also leave the possibility for other symbolic options.
Naether proposes, in case it is difficult to change the street names, that a new name be given to the municipal sports centre located in rue de Russie “which would pay homage to Ukraine”.
Alternatively, they want to install commemorative plaques in these same roads, as a tribute to the victims of the invasion and to “mark the support of the capital of Europe for the Ukrainian victims”.