How Stalin and Mao disappeared from the map of Pyongyang

North Korea

After the Second World War quite a few cities in Western democracies had a “Stalin Street”. At the time this was quite understandable: the Soviet Union had from 1941 been an important ally against Nazi Germany. However, these streets disappeared overnight when the Soviet army invaded Hungary in 1956. The Stalinlaan in Amsterdam for instance became the Vrijheidslaan (Freedom Lane).

Pyongyang also had a Stalin Street, and besides that even a Mao Square. Of course these were not renamed in 1956 because of what the Soviets did in Hungary. No, something completely different happened in this particular case.

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Ivo Spanjersberg
Currently KSS Publisher/Webmaster, previously KSS Chairman (2018-2019). Living in Amsterdam. I collect Korean revenue stamps, see my website:

4 thoughts on “How Stalin and Mao disappeared from the map of Pyongyang

  1. I have interesting cover front with 14 stamps (sent 23 May 1961 to London).
    Addresses: H.E.Mr Sir Harry Hylton Foster, Speaker of the House of Commons of United Kingdom of Great Britain.
    Sender: Korean Democratic Lawyers` Association.
    Soviet catalogue (issued in USSR in 1979 year) do not indicated names of this street and square.
    Mao Square is “one of the central squares” (Russian “одна из центральных площадей”)
    Stalin Street is “one of the central streets” (Russian “одна из центральных улиц”)
    The reason is banal and perhaps unfamiliar to foreigners.
    After Stalin assassination in 1953, the leadership of the USSR changed the course of the country’s development (example, small private business was banned) and therefore Stalin’s name was actually banned.
    About Mao. His phrase about the Soviet leader Khrushchev (after Stalin) is well known: “Khrushchev is an idiot, he betrayed communism.”
    From the end of the 1950s contradictions in Soviet-Chinese relations began to grow (which lasted until the end of the 1980s). This is brief. Therefore, the Soviet catalog of 1979 does not indicate the names of this square and street.

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