When the communists took over Russia, the country's name was not the only thing that changed. All over the vast land, city after city, town after town were being renamed.
And who were they renamed after? Well, the great communist leaders, of course! Remember, everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others...
Leningrad and Stalingrad are the obvious examples, but it went way beyond that. The senile Mikhail Kalinin, the nominal head of the USSR, had a dozen different localities named after him. Even the Jews got on the action: Yekaterinburg, a large city in the Ural mountains, was renamed Sverdlovsk after Yakov Sverdlov, the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.
Sverdlov died from the flu in 1918, so he didn't get to see the inevitable. When the Soviet Union was wiped out in 1991, most of its renamed cities reverted back. Sverdlovsk returned to being Yekaterinburg, named after the former Russian csarina, not a Jewish Bolshevik.
But maybe Sverdlov got the last laugh: somehow the expansive region that is centered in Yekaterinburg kept his name. And so did a smaller town, in Ukraine. Until the next takeover, that is?