It's not exactly the Cold War. But things are heating up between the United States and Russia over something very silly: the name of the streets that house each other's embassies.
Back in January, D.C. city officials voted unanimously to rename the street on which the Russian Embassy sits. On Jan. 10, the street was redubbed Boris Nemtsov Plaza, after a slain Russian democracy activist. Nemtsov was a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In February 2015, he was shot dead while walking home from a Moscow restaurant. Five Chechen men were convicted of the killing in 2017, but Nemtsov's family believes his real killer remains at large and that he was assassinated for his political work.
At the time, Russian politicians called the District's name change a “dirty trick.”
Now one wants to strike back. Hard.
A lawmaker with Russia's nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has suggested renaming the Moscow street where the U.S. houses its embassy “North American Dead End.” The full address would read: North American Dead End, 1. (The embassy is housed on Bolshoy Devyatinsky Lane, 8.) Politician Mikhail Degtyaryov pitched the plan to Moscow's city hall recently, and the government says it will consider the option.
It's just the recent parry in a fight waged around the world.
Coincidentally, Ankara city officials on Monday began debating whether to rename the street on which the U.S. Embassy stands to “Olive Branch.” It may sound nice, but it's something of a troll — Olive Branch is the name of an ongoing Turkish military operation in Syria against the Syrian Kurdish militia. That effort was in response to a U.S. plan (later scrapped) to create a border security unit on the Turkey-Syria border made up mostly of Kurdish fighters.
Recently, Turkey renamed the street of the United Arab Emirates Embassy after Ottoman commander Fahreddin Pasha, a defender of Medina during World War I.