Žižkov street named after Soviet marshal could soon be renamed

Prague City Council will debate the change, which would require hundreds of residents and business owners to change their IDs.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 08.06.2023 11:21:00 (updated on 08.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague’s kilometer-long Koněvova Street in Žižkov – named after a Soviet military leader – may be renamed by October this year. Calls to rename the street have been ongoing for years and picked up the pace following Russia’s widescale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

A controversial figure

Ivan Konev (or Koněv using Czech spelling) was a Marshal of the Soviet Union and received the Hero of the Soviet Union award for helping defeat Nazi Germany. His troops participated in the liberation of Prague, northern, central, and eastern Bohemia at the end of World War II.

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However, after 1945 he helped impose and maintain the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. In May 1955, he was put in charge of the General Headquarters of the combined armed forces of the Warsaw Pact member states. He also suppressed the anti-communist Hungarian Uprising, and historians also credit him with helping facilitate the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Under new proposals by Žižkov councilors, the street is to be renamed Hartigova Street, after Czech patriot Karel Hartig, who was the first mayor of Žižkov.

"Prague 3 owes a great debt to Karel Hartig, a personality who undoubtedly left a positive mark on the history of Žižkov"

Former councilor for culture and strategic planning of Prague 3, Pavel Křeček

Žižkov councilors and the local history committee of the Prague City Council have approved the changes. Now, Prague City Council must approve of the renaming, which could be implemented in early October. Council members will debate the advantages and disadvantages of the change.

Karel Hartig poster in Prague (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Karel Hartig poster in Prague (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

New documents, IDs, and paperwork

This alteration is not without its logistical issues. All residents of the street will need to exchange their identity cards (and other similar documents) to reflect the new street’s name. Business owners will need to do the same for their businesses. Maps, too, will become invalid and will need to be reissued.

Žižkov council has already prepared a website with information for people who would be affected by the change, which is said to be launched as soon as Prague approves it.

Shortly before February 2022, Prague 3 City Hall conducted a survey among residents asking their opinion about the name change. Over 70 percent of people were against it. 

Discussion – and potential approval – of the change in the street’s name will take place in the next two weeks.

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