Norilsk in Chechen toponymy
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Norilsk in Chechen toponymy

September 28, 2020

At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, the city of Grozny was practically wiped off the earth’s face during two bloodiest wars in the Chechnya history.

It seemed that the city could no longer be rebuilt. However, the capital of the republic gradually rose from the ruins. Grozny is amazing today. Although historians say that he will never have his former appearance.

The capital of the Chechen Republic, the city of Grozny, was officially founded by General Ermolov in 1818. At that time, it was the Groznaya fortress.

An earthen fort appeared on the site of several Chechen villages, the most famous of which were Sunzha and Aldy – the birthplace of the legendary Sheikh Mansur and General Alexander Chechensky, who bravely fought against Napoleon in 1812. Now Old Sunzha and New Aldy are the names of the Grozny’s districts.

The first street of the Groznaya fortress was Granichnaya (boarder) street. It was called before the revolution, as it separated the city from the cossack village of Groznenskaya. In memory of the famous Hundred Day Fights in 1920, Granichnaya street was renamed the street after August 11, 1918, and in 1960 it turned into Pobeda (victory) avenue – in honor of the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Grozny from Denikin.

In 2008, the avenue, which turned into one of the most beautiful highways in the city, was renamed again – in honor of the country’s President Vladimir Putin, and a little earlier Lenin avenue became Ahmad Kadyrov avenue.

Today there are 1524 streets in Grozny, among them there are quite a few with a new sounding. For example, the street after General Gennady Troshev, who commanded one of the federal forces groups in the North Caucasus is reminiscent of the recent past. Or the street named after 84 Pskov paratroopers. In 2015, 28 streets and lanes were renamed at once – the names of the heroes of the USSR era were replaced with the names of prominent Chechens.

At the same time, you can still find many toponyms on the map of the city that appeared in the last century and explain why Grozny was known for a long time as the greenest settlement in the North Caucasus. Here you can still walk along Abrikosovaya (peach) and Vinogradnaya (grapes), Vishnevaya (cherry), Grushevaya (pear) and Sadovaya (garden) streets.

If you turn left or right, the paths will lead to Dozhdevaya (rain), Rechnaya (river), Rodnikovaya (spring), Ozernaya (lake) streets. And even to the Azov, Caspian, Baltic, Marine, and Fleet. But what fleet or sea can there be in Grozny, if all that reminds of water is the local reservoir and the firm fish store named Ocean which was on the bank of the Sunzha river, and was bombed in the first war.

Parallel to this river, there is Norilskaya street. Lermontov, Kommunalnaya, Professionalnaya, Kievskaya streets are next to it. Not so far away there is the major highway of Grozny – Nazarbayev street. Norilskaya street is located in the northern part of the city, which is quite logical, – in the Leninsky district, which was called Molotovsky until 1961.

The toponym that connected the Arctic and the capital of the Chechen Republic, most likely, appeared during the Soviet Union time, when the geography of the city served a great purpose – to remind the citizens of what a huge and powerful country they live in. So the streets of Chukotskaya and Ashkhabadskaya, Norilskaya and Kirghizskaya, Amurskaya and Litovskaya, Armenian and Irkutskaya, Kuzbasskaya and Kabardinskaya, Moldavskaya and Murmanskaya were adjacent in Grozny. There was no region in the USSR that was not represented in the toponymy of the Chechen capital.

Nowadays there is almost no numbering on Norilskaya street, except for new private houses. But there are many buildings under construction on it. The Severny market is also located on Norilskaya one.

Read about Norilskaya streets in other cities of the former USSR in the A point on the planet section.

Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Vyacheslav Stepanov and open sources

September 28, 2020

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