Rue de Moscou (unofficially) renamed Rue de Kiev in Saint-Gilles

Rue de Moscou (unofficially) renamed Rue de Kiev in Saint-Gilles
Credit: Dimitri Strobbe/Twitter

The Rue de Moscou in the Brussels municipality of Saint-Gilles was unofficially renamed Rue de Kiev (instead of the now widely-used spelling Kyiv) on Monday by taping over the original street sign with the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Images of Saint Gilles' new street name were distributed on social media by Dimitri Strobbe, director of Brussels Mobility, late on Monday evening.

Changing the street name was a proposal by the Francophone liberal MR party in the city council, and was not supported by a majority. According to Saint-Gilles mayor Charles Picqué, the party symbolically pasted the new name over the real sign.

"As a municipality, we want to show solidarity with Ukraine, but (an official name change) does not seem to us to be the best option. The original sign has therefore been reinstated," he said in a Facebook post several days ago. "There are other ways to show that we disapprove of the war."

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Piqcué stressed that the Russian people should not be punished for the actions of their president and indicated that the municipality is looking for alternatives. "We are looking at what we can do. If a new name is to be given to a square or street, Kyiv is certainly a possibility."

Picqué pointed out that changing street names is not new in Saint-Gillis: all German-related names were removed after the First World War. "And look: in the meantime, Germany has become one of our best allies. Let us hope that one day a democratic Russia can also rise from its current dictatorship."

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