On May 24, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov assessed the proposal of the head of Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, to rename the islands of the Kuril archipelago.
The press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation noted that this is not a new proposal. According to him, a similar initiative was previously put forward in the Russian Geographical Society (RGO).
“Of course, the initiative “from the spot”, as they say, is always welcome. I would like to remind you of a long-standing initiative, probably several years old. The initiative of the Russian Geographical Society, as you know, whose president is [Russian Defense Minister Sergei] Shoigu, and the Board of Trustees is headed by President [Russian Vladimir] Putin. And it was the Russian Geographical Society that was the initiator of the fact that geographical names, when it comes to names foreign in etymology, were still changed to ours, primordially Russian. Therefore, there was such an initiative of the Russian Geographical Society, ”Peskov told reporters.
Earlier in the day, historian Boris Yulin, commenting on the idea of the head of Roskosmos, noted in an interview with Izvestia that giving names in honor of the ships of the lost war, any events or the names of characters is not a good idea. According to the historian, if you change all the names that did not come from the Russian language, then it seems possible to rename both Sakhalin and Moscow.
Rogozin made such a proposal the day before, on May 23. So, he proposed to call one of the islands Varyag, the other – Korean, and the third island to be named in honor of Vsevolod Rudnev. At the same time, he proposed to call the group of islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge the archipelago of the Russian heroes of the Pacific sailors. Rogozin noted that such names should emphasize the belonging of the islands to Russia.
On April 22 of this year, for the first time since 2003, Japan designated the South Kuriles as “illegally occupied” by Russia. This wording is indicated in the Blue Book on Diplomacy, which records important milestones in the country’s foreign policy activities.
Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov, commenting on Tokyo’s actions, suggested that members of the Japanese administration recall the 1945 Japan Unconditional Surrender Act.
Peskov then emphasized in turn that the four islands of the southern part of the Kuriles are part of the integral territory of the Russian Federation.
Before that, on March 21, Russia refused to negotiate with Japan on a peace treaty. The decision was made due to unfriendly actions on the part of Tokyo towards Moscow in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
As a result of World War II, Russia and Japan never signed a peace treaty. The main snag in reaching agreements is Tokyo’s claims to the South Kuriles. Japan still calls the islands of Kunashir, Iturup and a number of territories of the Lesser Kuril ridge its northern territories, although as a result of World War II they passed to the USSR.