Topic: Hugo Chavez Dies From Cancer
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MOSCOW, March 8 (RIA Novosti) – From Ho Chi Minh to Jawaharlal Nehru, plenty of foreign leaders have locations in Moscow named after them. But though the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may seem a fitting addition to the list, it looks like a stroll down Chavez Street would not be available to Muscovites just yet.
The proposal to name a street in Moscow after Chavez, who died of cancer on Tuesday at the age of 58, was voiced by Russia’s Communist Party hours after his death.
It was received favorably by city legislature speaker Vladimir Platonov, who said on Wednesday that Moscow may waive its rule that prohibits naming streets and squares after people until 10 years after their death.
But Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, the only city official with the authority to bend the naming rules, currently has no plans for doing so for Chavez, mayoral spokeswoman Gulnara Penkova said.
“No such proposals were filed, so there was no discussion of the initiative” in the City Hall, Penkova was cited by Gazeta.ru news website as saying late Thursday.
President Vladimir Putin was also named by Platonov as capable of altering Moscow’s toponymy for Chavez’s sake, but his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Gazeta.ru that such matters are outside Putin’s responsibility.
However, Putin was reported to have lobbied the 2004 naming of street in southern Moscow after Akhmad Kadyrov, a former Chechen rebel who became the republic’s president under Putin, helping suppress the local insurgency. Kadyrov was one of two people for whom Moscow waived its street naming rules, the other being legendary dissident and writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in 2008.
Moscow’s map name-checks plenty of leftist greats and developing world leaders, not all of them necessarily well-remembered. Various locations in the city honor, among others, Iraqi poet and politician Salam Adil, Vietnamese party boss Le Duan, Mozambique President Samora Machel, Chilean leader Salvador Allende and Guinea-Bissau nationalist thinker Amilcar Cabral.
Chavez is poised for bigger honors in the republic of North Ossetia in Russia’s south, where local activists plan to request the republican legislature to name a 3,400-meter-high mountain after him. Venezuela under Chavez was one of the few countries to recognize the independence of South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia, following a brief Russian-Georgian war over the region in 2008.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.