Checkpoint Asia

Russia Renames Airports After Scientists, Poets, Writers, Aviators and Tsars

Russia is the only country in the world where an opera singer and a literary critic can get their airports...in a public naming contest

A nationwide poll was held late last year where Russians could nominate and vote for figures for Russia’s 45 biggest airports to be renamed after. Each Russian could cast a vote for just one airport.

Putin has now signed a decree renaming the airports reflecting the results of the poll:

Sheremetyevo Airport – poet Alexander Pushkin;
“Domodedovo” airport – scientist Mikhail Lomonosov;
airport “Vnukovo” – aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev;
the airport of Anadyr “Ugolny” – by the writer Yuri Rytheu;
Anapa Vityazevo Airport – test pilot Vladimir Kokkinaki;
Arkhangelsk Airport – writer Fyodor Abramov;
the airport of Astrakhan – artist Boris Kustodiev;
Belgorod Airport – engineer, inventor Vladimir Shukhov;
Blagoveshchensk Airport – statesman Count Nikolai Muravyov-Amursky;
Vladivostok airport – scientist Vladimir Arsenyev;
the airport of Volgograd – fighter pilot Alexei Maresyev;
Voronezh Airport – Emperor Peter I;
Ekaterinburg airport “Koltsovo” – early industrialist Akinfiy Demidov;
Kaliningrad Khrabrovo Airport – Empress Elizabeth Petrovna;
Kaluga Airport – scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky;
Kazan airport – poet Gabdulla Tukai;
Krasnodar Airport – Empress Catherine II;
Krasnoyarsk Airport – opera singer Dmitry Khvorostovsky;
Magadan Airport “Falcon” – singer-songwriter Vladimir Vysotsky;
the airport of Mineralnye Vody – poet Mikhail Lermontov;
the airport of Murmansk – Emperor Nicholas II;
Airport Nizhnevartovsk – oil engineer Viktor Muravlenko;
Nizhnekamsk Airport – Soviet Union’s long-serving oil minister Nikolai Lemaev;
Strigino’s Nizhny Novgorod airport – test pilot Valery Chkalov;
Novy Urengoy Airport – geologist Ivan Gubkin;
Novosibirsk airport “Tolmachevo” – fighter ace and air marshal Alexander Pokryshkin;
the airport of Norilsk – geologist Nikolai Urvantsev;
Omsk Airport – General Dmitry Karbyshev;
Penza airport – literary critic Vissarion Belinsky;
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport “Yelizovo” – explorer Vitus Bering;
Pskovavia Airport – Princess Olga;
Samara airport “Kurumoch” – a scientist and designer Sergey Korolev;
Simferopol Airport – artist Ivan Aivazovsky;
Sochi airport – cosmonaut Vitaly Sevastyanov;
Syktyvkar airport – pilot Peter Istomin;
Stavropol Airport – military commander Alexander Suvorov;
Surgut airport – geologist Farman Salmanov;
Tomsk “Bogashevo” airport – aircraft designer Nikolai Kamov;
Tyumen “Roshchino” airport – scientist Dmitry Mendeleev;
Ufa airport – poet Mustay Karim;
Khabarovsk Airport – Admiral Gennady Nevelsky;
Cheboksary airport – cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev;
Chelyabinsk Airport – Physics Igor Kurchatov;
the airport of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk – writer Anton Chekhov;
Yakutsk airport – writer Platon Oiunsky.

Generals get their due but they’re a small minority. Except for Tsars there is almost no politicians, and aside from pilots and aviation engineers who have more of a connection to airports, the most popular choices are poets, writers, artists and inventors. Those are the people Russians revere.

There is even room for an opera singer and a 19th century literary critic and booster of Russian literature. I wonder what the results of a similar poll in the US and elsewhere would be. I can see contributors to high culture sweeping the competition in a similar way in the rest of continental Europe, but in America with its civic religion and state worship? I’m not so sure.