In the summer of 2022 another street renaming took place in Dnipro city.
When I saw the list of old and new names I was attracted by the new street Azovstalevskaya – a tribute to the defenders of Mariupol during the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022. But what street was named Azovstalevskaya in Dnipro city?
Vancetti Street. To most people, the surname doesn’t say anything.
At first I thought it was some Communist hero of the 1919 civil war, probably a red commissar. Somehow a Lithuanian.
Who are Sacco and Vancetti
On August 23, 1927, two criminals who had participated in a robbery and committed double murder were executed in a Boston prison. These men were Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.
They were convicted in a raid on a shoe factory on April 15, 1920. During this crime, a cashier and a bodyguard working at the South Braintree factory in the Boston suburbs were killed.
The police arrested two Italian anarchists and leaders of the labor movement on suspicion of murder. Although they denied guilt, the false alibi they provided and the evidence against them convinced the jury otherwise.
The Sacco and Vanzetti affair stirred up not only the whole of America, but the whole world. The country had already been flooded with anarchists and workers’ strikes before this event. Many people did not believe in the guilt of the figureheads, considering them political martyrs, and for many they had become symbols of the struggles of the forgiving capitalists who exploited working people.
In any case, this story reached the Soviet Union. In the 1920s there was already political repression of its own, including against the anarchists. But this did not prevent the government from also declaring the Italians Sacco and Vanzetti as heroes and fighters against the magnates and industrialists.
This is how murderers became heroes for hundreds of thousands of people who were willing to stage revolutions and riots.
Pencils, steamboats, streets and villages of Sacco and Vanzetti
In the Soviet Union, not only streets and parks were named after Sacco and Vanzetti. Films were made about them, books were written, steamships and pencil factories were named after them. There is still a village of Sacco and Vanzetti in Donetsk region.
And there are more than 40 settlements all over Ukraine where there are or were streets with the names of these people. Many of them changed their names during the decommunization of 2015-2016 or in 2022. Such as in Dnipro city and Pokrov city (Ordzhonikidze).
Sacco and Vanzetti in Dnipro city, Ukraine
In Dnipro city, there was a separate Sacco Street – in the Amur-Nyzhnodniprovskyi District with the United Ukraine Alley, founded after the start of the ATO in Donbass in 2014-2015, not far from it. And Vanzetti Street is in Industrialnyi District.
Vanzetti Street in the Dnipro city – 48.491025, 35.0689754 .
Sacco Street in the Dnipro city – 48.5221782, 35.0730131 .
Vancetti Street was renamed Azovstal Street in 2022. Is Sacco Street next?
And it is time to change the names of streets in honor of murderers to real heroes of Ukraine.