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The Russian Cities of Leningrad and Stalingrad

Posted by Kayla McGill on 10/12/15 10:30 AM


If you are planning on traveling to Russia with ILP as a volunteer teacher, you will probably be excited about a few things — but do you know what would make your semester abroad even better? Knowing a little history.

The fur hats and coats, Russian ballets, hot cocoa on Red Square, beautiful churches,  gorgeous castles, and UNESCO sites ... ah, Russia, we really can't get enough of you. 

We even love Russia so much that a short trip isn't enough — you'll be able to see and do so much if you apply to spend a semester abroad living in Russia.

And seriously, a little history might sound boring but it will completely change your experience.  So, here is a quick history lesson for you guys on the tumultuous name changing cities of Saint Petersburg and Volgograd (at least, that's what they were named last time we checked!).


A Bit About St. Petersburg

Let's start with good old St Petes! The city we know and love (one of our top vacation spots from our ILP Russia volunteers), wasn't always known as St Petersburg. When the world was at war with Germany in 1914, the Imperial Government in Russia changed St Petersburg's name to Petrograd. This was mainly due to the fact that they wanted to separate themselves from any German sounding name (Peter and Burg were both very Germanic names/words). After that change, there were lots of sieges. 

Then, during the October revolution when Lenin overthrew the government, he re-named the city Leningrad in honor of him and his achievements. Do you have all that? From St. Petersburg, to Petrograd, then to Leningrad. 

The last time the name changed was in 1991 when there was a popular vote to elect a new leader, as well as to change the name of the city from Leningrad back to St Petersburg. This was mainly done because Lenin had fallen out of favor with the majority of people and the referendum vote on the change of the city name.

Below you'll see an image of Russian Revolution in Leningrad (1917) ... pretty cool, right? 

Russian Revolution in Leningrad

A Bit About Stalingrad

Next we have Volgograd, a.k.a. Stalingrad! From the 1500's to 1920 Volgograd was named Tsaritsyn under the rule of various different leaders. In the 1920's, the named was changed again to Stalingrad in order to recognize the efforts of Stalin in freeing the country from Tsars as well as to celebrate the great power that Stalin had given the people of Russia (or so they thought).

However, after years of oppression and hardship, the people of Russia voted to change the name to Volgograd as part of the 'de-Stalinization' which happened after Stalin's death.

Check out this beautiful old map of Tsartinya (future Stalingrad).

ILP Russia

And that's just a brief run down of two of Russia's cities (this country has a lot of history to learn about). Who knew city names helped with trade, helped to inspire people during the Russian revolution or just to show the power of the communist leaders? 

So, when you volunteer in Russia with International Language Programs, you'll be able to give everyone a bit of a history lesson when you visit the old cities of  Leningrad (St Petersburg), and Stalingrad (Volgograd).

 As an ILP volunteer, you'll be in Russia teaching English part time, but then have free time, weekends off and scheduled vacation time to see even more, all for a pretty rad price. Get a better glimpse into what living in Russia is like, right here: 

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Topics: Russia

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