Russian town launches campaign to rename street after Donald Trump as he advocates closer US-Kremlin ties

News of planned tribute comes as President-elect denies claims Moscow has gathered compromising information on him

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The Independent Online

A Russian town has launched a campaign to name one of its streets after US Donald Trump

Residents of Ryazan are calling for “Godless Street” to be renamed after the the President-elect as a way of advocating closer US-Russian relations. 

Sergey Bizyukin, who is spearheading the campaign, said it had garnered support from nearly 300 people. 

"Some saw it as a joke and signed because it was fun, some stood for normalisation of US-Russia ties, and some signed because they don't like the name of Godless Street," the 34-year-old told CNN

"Like any other city, Ryazan has its share of problems in economy, with infrastructure. Some of them are being sorted out, some are sorted out very slowly, and it may take a while to talk about some of the problems."

The town is situated 125 miles southeast of Moscow on the Oka River, with a population of 500,000. 

The petition on called the Republican leader a “big friend of Russia and a defender of traditional values".

However Mr Bizyukin accepted that the petition was more about using Mr Trump’s popularity in Russia to improve existing relations between the countries. 

"There are enough options for cooperation, for friendship, for economic cooperation, as well as culture and other fields,” he said. 

Comments on the petition were mixed. One said: “With a street named after Donald Trump we can make Ryazan great again.”

Another wrote: “This will strengthen the friendship between our two brotherly nations.”

However, one critic of the proposal said: “You should've at least waited for Trump to take action, because the first thing he could do is to tighten sanctions, making you look like fools, but that would be nothing new.”

It came as Mr Trump dismissed claims that Russian officials had gathered compromising and embarrassing information on him in an attempt to exert influence over the future president.