Sheremetyevo Honors Pushkin with New Airport Name

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree naming dozens of airports across Russia, from Moscow to Magadan, after historical figures, the Moscow Times reports.

Under the decree published last week, 44 airports were given the names of prominent poets, writers, singers, scholars, political figures, engineers, and others.

In Moscow, Russia’s largest airport, Sheremetyevo, was named to honor Aleksandr Pushkin, perhaps the most widely revered writer in Russia. Domodedovo airport was named for Mikhail Lomonosov, the 18th-century polymath who founded Moscow State University — which also bears his name — while Vnukovo airport was named for Soviet aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev.

Putin’s decree did not specify exactly how the airports will be officially named, but initial indications are that they will retain their former names, with the names of the prominent figures added. For example, Sheremetyevo Airport would be called “Sheremetyevo International Airport Named after A. S. Pushkin.”

The airport in Tatarstan’s capital Kazan was named after classic Tatar writer and poet Gabdulla Tuqai. The airport in Voronezh honors Tsar Peter the Great, while the terminal in the southern city of Krasnodar was named for Empress Catherine the Great. The airport in the Far Eastern city of Magadan, which was a brutal hub of Stalin’s notorious labor-camp system, was named for Soviet-era bard Vladimir Vysotsky.

The names were selected by public voting under an initiative called the Great Names of Russia, organized by a consortium of government-connected organizations including the Public Chamber, the Russian Geographical Society, and the Russian Military-Historical Society.

Organizers said the goal of the project was to promote national unity and patriotism. Although Putin’s decree confirmed the new names of 44 airports, the Great Names of Russia competition included 46. The decree omitted St. Petersburg’s Vnukovo Airport and the airport in Volgograd, which — according to organizers — the public voted to name for 19th-century novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky and legendary World War II pilot Aleksei Maresyev, respectively.

No explanation was given for leaving out the airports in St. Petersburg, which is Putin’s native city and was named Leningrad in the Soviet era, and Volgograd, which was called Stalingrad from 1925 to 1961.