Former Soviet Union

The Names They Are A-Changin'

In a much repeated Soviet joke, an elderly Russian emigrant applies to re- enter his homeland. Under "Place of birth" on the form he writes, "St. Petersburg." Under "Left the country from?" he enters, "Petrograd." Under "Destination?" he puts, "Leningrad." Finally, under "Where would you like to settle?" he puts, "St. Petersburg."

If that old man is still around, he has his wish. Lenin's statues have been toppled, and the elegant former imperial capital, built by Czar Peter the Great, has its historic name once more. So do dozens, if not hundreds, of towns, cities and now independent states throughout the...

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