Moscow has taken a page out of Washington’s playbook to troll both the U.S. and the U.K. by renaming the streets in front of their embassies in the Russian capital.
The streets are now officially named for the two separatist regions of eastern Ukraine where fighting is now the fiercest. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized their independence in February just before sending in troops to “liberate” them from Ukraine.
The U.S. and Britain have not recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics,” but Moscow officials said they will at least have to recognize the new addresses if they want to receive their mail.
A sign went up Friday renaming the street in front of the British Embassy the Luhansk People’s Republic Square. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow since last month has been located on Donetsk People’s Republic Square.
The U.S., however, has played this game far longer. In the 1980s, the section of 16th St. 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 has been symbolically called Boris Nemtsov Plaza. Nemtsov, an opposition leader who led anti-Putin protests and worked to expose official corruption, was shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015.
The Russian Embassy in London, for now at least, has kept its more genteel address at Kensington Palace Gardens.