Remaking Mariupol into a Russian city


It found that more than 90 per cent of high-rise apartment buildings were damaged, along with most schools and hospitals.

The report concluded that Russian officials need to be investigated for war crimes, but that the “physical evidence at hundreds of potential crime scenes” is being erased by the hasty rebuild.

Not long after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Mariupol “liberated” on April 21, 2022, and the last Ukrainian fighters holed up in the Azovstal steel plant were forced to surrender, Moscow set in motion a multi-year plan to overhaul its strategic prize.

Russia vowed to build up areas it had spent weeks bombing and to make Mariupol, which it later dubbed a city of military glory, part of the motherland.

“The plan is to create a completely new image of the city with modern apartment buildings and social facilities,” said a news release from Russia’s Ministry of Construction and Housing, which was published on May 8, 2022, and stated that officials believes the city could be restored in three years.

Since then, city signs have been repainted red, white and blue — the colours of the Russian flag — and streets and squares are being renamed. In many cases, names are reverted back to Soviet ones. The Avenue of Peace has been relabelled Lenin Avenue.

In May of last year, the Russian-appointed city administrator, Oleg Morgun, said it was important to bring back historical names and rename other sites to honour the “heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our republic and the right to be Russian.”

For residents of Mariupol, Russian passports have become essential, as they are needed to access local services, including to apply for compensation for their destroyed homes.

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