Moscow pulled a page from Washington’s playbook to troll both the United States and the United Kingdom by renaming the streets outside their embassies in the Russian capital.
The streets are now officially named after the two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine where the fighting is now fiercest. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized their independence in February just before sending troops to “liberate” them from Ukraine.
The United States and Britain have not recognized the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, but officials in Moscow have said they will need to at least recognize the new addresses if they want to receive their mail.
A sign was put up on Friday renaming the street in front of the British Embassy Luhansk People’s Republic Square. Since last month, the US Embassy in Moscow has been located in Donetsk People’s Republic Square.
The United States, however, has been playing this game for much longer. In the 1980s, the section of 16th Street outside the Soviet Embassy in Washington was symbolically renamed Andrei Sakharov Plaza, in honor of the Soviet nuclear physicist and leading human rights activist and dissident.
Since 2018, the section of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the new Russian Embassy is symbolically called Boris Nemtsov Plaza. Nemtsov, an opposition leader who led anti-Putin protests and worked to expose official corruption, was shot near the Kremlin in 2015.
The Russian Embassy in London, for now at least, has retained its more distinguished address at Kensington Palace Gardens.