Today, Volgograd has a population of slightly over one-million. The city is home to an international airport, as well as a rail hub that serves Russia, Ukraine, and the Caucasus. In addition, European route E-40 passes through the city. The route is more than 8,000 kilometres (5,000 mi) long, connecting France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
It is also home to one of the few floating churches of the world.
Volgograd is most known, however, for its time as Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad is widely regarded as one of the most important turning points of World War II. Hitler was determined to take the city for symbolic reasons, but the bombed-out husk of the city introduced guerrilla warfare for the German troops, and several divisions were lost as a result of strategic mishaps and urban warfare.
The residents of the city recognize this history, and recently Volgograd voted to officially change its name to Stalingrad for six days of the year on holidays that commemorate the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany.
In addition, a petition with over 100,000 signatures was collected by elements of United Russia and the Communist Party, requesting a permanent name change back to Stalingrad in recognition of the city's titular battle. The name change is strongly opposed, however, by opposition elements within the Duma.