Officials Considering Renaming Two Streets in Vladivostok
Consul-Ganeral of South Korea in Vladivostok Kim Mu-Yeong comments on the issue.
VLADIVOSTOK. May 6. VOSTOK-MEDIA – Vladivostok Mayor Igor Pushkaryov has received a request to consider the possibility to give two streets, originally designed as one, their old historic name, Koreyskaya, on the occasion of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Russia and South Korea.
In the 1990s, a number of streets in Vladivostok were renamed to their old names. Among these streets are: Svetlanskaya (former Leninskaya), Fontannaya (Dzerzhinskogo), Pologaya (Menzhinskogo), Semyonovskaya (Kolkhoznaya), Aleutskaya (25th October Street). Why not continue this upbeat tendency? Nikolay Kutenkikh, a Vostok-Media journalist, has met with Consul General of South Korea in Vladivostok Kim Mu-Yeong to discuss the issue.
Nikolay Kutenkikh: Mr. Consul General, where does Koreyskaya Street take its name from?
Mr. Kim Mu-Yeong: The point is that the Koreans also took part in the development of the south of the Russian Far East. Specifically, in the springtime Korean peasants planted crops in the territory of present-day Khasansky District. In the summertime they processed the crops in the fields and in the falltime they gathered the harvest and returned to their homeland. When Russians started to settle in Far East of the country the things didn’t change much. The state boundary between the two states was blurred then and people travelled from place to place and traded with each other freely.
Founded 150 years ago, Vladivostok became Russia’s outpost in the Pacific. The city was constructed partly by Korean citizens. By the end of the 19th century there were about 200,000 Koreans living in the south of Primorye. In Vladivostok they typically settled along Amur Bay (the territory of present-day Sportivnaya Gavan). And that’s why the street was named Koreyskaya (Korean). In 1937, Stalin ordered to resettle the Korean nationals to Kazakstan and Uzbekistan. Some years later, Koreans started to settle in Vladivostok, primarily near Pervaya Rechka, and that’s why the territory was dubbed the “Korean Quarter”.
Koreyskaya Street was populated mainly by Koreans. There were stalls set up along the street, canteens and a newspaper in the Korean language. The first written mention of Koreyskaya Street dates back to 1893, when the Vladivostok newspaper wrote: “Koreyskaya Street has been put into shape, equipped with ditches and footbridges”. Up untill 1917 the street consisted of two parts – the southern and northern. When the October Revolution bagan the southern part was renamed Bestuzheva Street. In 1941 the norther part of Koreyskaya Street was given name Pogranichnikov Street and later Pogranichnaya.
Incidentally, other minoroties were living in downtown Vladivostok and some of the streets were named accordingly. Old-timers still remember Pekinskaya (Beijing) and Kitayskaya (Chinese) streets.
The renaming of the streets would be a mark of high esteem for the Koreans, who helped to build up and develop Vladivostok. Even now, descendants of the early settlers are residing in Vladivostok. Therefore, changing the names of the two streets back to Koreyskaya would give the Koreans a sense of pride. As a matter of fact, the official history alone indicates 147 years of peaceful coexistance of Russians and Koreans in Primorye. The first Korean settlement in the territory of present-day Khasansky District appeared in 1863.
In addition, the Russian Governemnt has issued a decree calling for construction of monument in Ussuriisk commemorating 140th anniversary of the voluntary resettlement of Koreans to the Russian Far East, which underlines the importance of the contribution the Koreans made to the development of the region. Consequently, the name change would be a tribute to the memory of those who helped to build Vladivostok from those who now live in the city.
Nikolay Kutenkikh: Do you think restoring of the original name of the street would attract Korean investments in Vladivostok?
Mr. Kim Mu-Yeong: There are a lot of Korean companies operating in Vladivostok. Hyundai Hotel, NTK, the joint Russian-Korean car assembly plant, Dockyard construction project, and a number of agro-industrial projects in Primorsky Krai. The number of such projects has risen over the past several years.
I’m confident that returning the streets their former name would boost trade and economic relations between our countries. The street bearing its original name, Koreyskaya, will be very popular with Korean tourists, who would like to visit the city and see the place where their ancestors were living. There is no doubt that businessmen from Korea would desire to invest in the development of the territory.
Nikolay Kutenkikh: Do you think there should be a sort of commemorative plaque that would indicate that Koreans lived there?
Mr. Kim Mu-Yeong: We will surely consider mounting such plaque or several plaques, as the case may be. Incidentally, Koreans carefully maintain all the commemorative signs relating to the naval battle in the Russo-Japanese War, which took place off the coast of Inchon.
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