Russia′s Putin renames airports after famous Russians | News | DW | 01.06.2019
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Russia's Putin renames airports after famous Russians

Poet Alexander Pushkin and Empress Elizabeth Petrovna are among the famous Russians to have airports named after them. The names were chosen by the public, who were able to nominate and vote for their preferred icons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday renamed dozens of the country's airports to honor famous Russians, including tsars, space pioneers and writers.

Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport is now named after national poet Alexander Pushkin, known for works such as Eugene Onegin, while the airport in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on far eastern Sakhalin Island will take writer Anton Chekhov's name.

Chekhov visited the island but only to write about the grim conditions in its tsarist-era prisons.

The new names were chosen using an online poll launched last autumn that asked the public to nominate and vote for famous figures whose names could be given to some 40 airports in Russia.

Most of the country's airports had been named after their geographical location, usually the names of villages.

Read more: To fly or not to fly? The environmental cost of air travel

Vote causes controversy

The poll caused controversy over the renaming of the airport in the western city of Kaliningrad, which was formerly part of Germany.

Many locals voted to name it after German philosopher Immanuel Kant, prompting accusations of a lack of patriotism.

The Kaliningrad airport will now be named after Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, whose army captured the city in 1758 but abandoned it five years later.

Other airports to be named after tsars include one in the northern city of Murmansk, which will be named after the last tsar, Nicholas II.

Opera star Khvorostovsky, who died of a brain tumor in 2017 at the age of 55 will be honored in his native Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk where the airport will take his name.

Pioneering space scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's name will be given to the airport of the city of Kaluga where he died, while Sergei Korolyov, the spacecraft designer who is credited with helping to launch first man into space, will be commemorated in the Volga city of Samara, where he spent some of his career.

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law/amp (AFP, dpa)

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