‘I’ve never been so scared’: oes The Kremlin is renaming streets across the country in honor of Donbas combatants, hoping to ‘prime public opinion’ for another annexation

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On May 9, when Russia celebrates the USSR's victory against Nazi Germany, several regions across the country announced that they were renaming local streets in honor of soldiers and political figures from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR). For example, the cities of Grozny, Yakutsk, and Omsk dedicated streets to Alexander Zakharchenko, the DNR's leader until his assassination in August 2018. Other cities announced streets named after Vladimir Zhoga, also known by his nom de guerre "Vokha," who commanded the Sparta Battalion, a pro-Russian separatist force in Donetsk, until his death in March 2022 in combat with the Ukrainian military. Also on May 9, Zhoga's father met personally with Russia's president. Meduza has learned that these dedications and Vladimir Putin's sit-down with Artem Zhoga are parts of a strategy developed by the Kremlin to "prime public opinion" for Russia's annexation of the separatist "republics" in Donetsk and Luhansk. Original Article: https://meduza.io/en/feature/2022/05/13/russians-meet-your-new-heroes

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