Saint Petersburg in Russia to Officially Change Name to Tweetersburg by Alan Gerstle

DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN09 - Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, captured during the 'Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 28, 2009. Copyright by World Economic Forum by Remy Steinegger

Saint Petersburg in Russia to Officially Change Name to Tweetersburg

First, it was Saint Petersburg, then Petrograd, then Leningrad. Then in 1991, with the fall of the Soviet Union, back to Saint Petersburg. Now, this Russian city of 4,600,000 residents will change its official name to Tweetersburg on February 1, 2016.

In a bold and some would say quixotic attempt to “rebrand” the city as one with a technologically savvy populace, Vladimir Putin, with consent from the Federal Assembly, has signed an executive order that will change the current name of Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, to Tweetersburg. This appellation will become official on January 1, 2016, but it is already causing a national debate among politicians and local residents alike, with those favoring the name change being split 50/50 with those opposed.

Saint Petersburg has become known as Russia’s center for technological development (much like our “Silicon Valley”) with large numbers of corporations in the aerospace industry, software engineering, computers, and radiography. Western observers believe the adoption of the name Tweetersburg will carry an additional message: that Russia is an open society that eschews the suppression of information and debate. One member of the parliament, who requested anonymity, admitted as much, but claimed this strategy was simply a way to counteract the negative portrayal of Russian society that dominates news reports of the country from Western media outlets.

“Tourists have always flocked to our fascinating metropolis because of its location on the Neva River, and its plethora of historical sites and treasures,” Piotr Nisman, a Russian travel agent remarked. “With the official change in name, we expect an even greater interest in the city, and an upsurge in the local tourist industry.” Nisman added that while many will think the idea of this change in designation insane and implausible, those who think so are indeed correct, but because of the uncritical way readers consume information on the internet, there will actually be millions of fools that believe this story is true.

Alan Gerstle has been writing in various genres since high school. Finally deciding he should actually study the craft of writing, he did so by getting assigned to teach a creative writing course at Drexel University. He’s published short fiction, poetry, and essays, and has written many plays. He had a play workshopped in Chicago, where his prime memory was that it was very cold outside. He had a short story entitled “Buitre” (which is Spanish for “vulture’) published in the spring 2015 edition of the lit. magazine LitroNY.