Moscow, Sept.20 : Russian President Medvedev's noble gesture to honour Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's struggle against totalitarian rule in the former Soviet Union, by naming a street in Moscow after him, has reopened a debate about Russia's remaining symbols of the communist era.
According to The Times, the decision sparked protests from the small Communist faction on the city council, which complained that it was disrespectful to the revolutionaries who had fought to establish the Soviet regime that Solzhenitsyn helped to destroy.
Medvedev felt compelled to state that Russia would not retreat again behind an Iron Curtain despite the souring of relations with the West over the war in Georgia.
"There is no use in returning to the past. We have made our choice. No new external conditions, or any external pressure, will change our strategic line to build a free, progressive and democratic state," he said.
Solzhenitsyn Street will start close to the Marxist Metro station, three stops from Oktyaberskaya - named after the October Revolution - where a statue of Vladimir Lenin still dominates the skyline.
Highways named in honour of former Soviet leaders remain, including Lenin Prospekt and Andropov Prospekt, in honour of Yuri Andropov.