Name changes impoverish not only the map, but also the history of society and language, since it is in toponymy that many forgotten words are preserved.

(Murzaev, 1995:220-1)

The majority of geographical names in Russia were originally based either on physical features (Соснобóрск ‘Sosnoborsk’, literally ‘Pine Forest’, Кургáн ‘Tumulus’, Кривóй Рог ‘Curved Horn’, etc.) or on the names of early settlers, land-owners, monarchs, political or military figures, men of science, art or literature (Murzaev 1995:218-9).