As of Wednesday, November 28, 104.4 thousand residents of the Voronezh Region voted for the names of their fellow countrymen, one of which will be given to the International Airport Voronezh. In the voting on “Great Names of Russia” project website the name of Peter I continues to lead. 56.4 thousand people voted for naming the Voronezh Airport after the tsar.

Ivan Kandybin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Airport, Chairman of the City Duma Standing Committee on Urban Planning and Land Relations, said that in addition to the renaming, the airport management’s agenda includes the construction of a new terminal.

– We are studying several concepts. In the project, I vote for Peter I. Do you remember the cartoon about Captain Vrungel: What you call a ship, so she will sail”. If we have the opportunity to give the airport the name of the great man who is known by absolutely all people living in Russia, why not doing this? Moreover, we have a direct relationship to this name. In Voronezh, it was under the leadership of Peter the Great that the Russian fleet was established – so we have nothing to be ashamed of, Ivan Kandybin noted.

The chairman of the airport’s board of directors commented on the statement by Valery Fadeyev, secretary of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. He said during “News on Saturday” TV program on November 24: “Perhaps naming the airport after Peter I will encourage the local authorities to build a good terminal there. It is embarrassing to write “Peter I” on a shed.”

– The statement is absolutely impolite. Moreover, this was stated by a member of the Public Chamber, which initiated “Great Names of Russia” project. This statement is primarily directed not at the airport, but at the city of Voronezh, the Voronezh Region, all the citizens of Voronezh. For comparison: the passenger traffic at the Krasnodar Airport is completely different, however, the old building is still there, and the locals do not require it to be demolished. Apparently, our citizens simply forgot what the Voronezh terminal used to look like. We have put it in order, now its appearance does not offend anyone, Ivan Kandybin emphasized.

Nikolai Kornyushin, the founder of the Voronezh Regional Society of Emperor Peter the Great, international academician of Slavic culture also commented on Valery Fadeyev’s words:

– I would slap Fadeyev! We, the citizens of Voronezh, must file a lawsuit against him for the “shed”. I even wanted to send him a telegram, but my fellow-thinkers stopped me. What does the airport have to do with it? We have long been standing in the queue for the construction of a new terminal, the money has not been allocated so far. But the Government assured us that the money would be allocated. A project already was developed long time ago, suggesting that the Voronezh Airport be the central hub in Europe. My vote is for Peter the Great. Peter I is ours, Voronezh. He deserved this title by his sweat, blood and deeds. Nobody has done for Voronezh more than Peter I. His reign actually began in Voronezh, he won all the major naval battles on Azov thanks to the construction of the fleet in the Voronezh shipyards. He established civil education, typography, and fire service in Voronezh.

Vladimir Tulupov, dean of the Faculty of Journalism of the Voronezh State University, member of the Education and Science Committee of the Public Chamber of the Voronezh Region, called Valeriy Fadeyev’s statement a metropolitan snobbery:

– This is a purely capital view of the province, they love to offend us. Recently, our deputies and various media persons have increasingly begun to stir up people with some verbal blunders. I often visit my native Ufa, Yekaterinburg and see the airports there. Compared to them, of course, Voronezh Airport has much to strive for. But still it does not give the right to speak so scornfully about the province. I have been using the Voronezh Airport since 1976. This is a typical building – the same was in Samara, Ufa and a number of other cities. Of course, we were worried that our airport was so homely. I remember how I was once taking a bus with the Germans to the runway, and noticed how they looked at each other in perplexity, staring at the shabby floor — it felt so embarrassing at that moment. But now our airport is so cozy, beautiful, everything is so well done, I really like it. Of course, the current terminal can be even better equipped and even more flights can be made – for example, I used to fly from Voronezh to Ufa, and now this flight is not available, I can get there only by a charter. As for the airport’s name, I vote for Konstantin Feoktistov. He is the biggest hero of the top three finalists in my opinion.

The context

Voting on the website of “Great Names of Russia” project started on November 12, 2018. The list of options for renaming the Voronezh Airport was formed by the Regional Public Chamber. Suggestions were welcome from October 22, 2018. The long list included ten options chosen by more than 500 people. In particular, it included the names of writers Ivan Bunin and Andrey Platonov, painter Ivan Kramskoy, poet Samuil Marshak, designer Sergey Mosin, geologist Vasily Dokuchaev, musician Mitrofan Pyatnitsky. At the third stage, three finalists were determined: Emperor Peter the Great, cosmonaut Konstantin Feoktistov and poet Alexei Koltsov.

The Voronezh Airport competes for the right to be named after Peter I with the aviation harbors of St. Petersburg and Astrakhan. The name of the emperor will be given to the airport with the largest number of the residents’ votes. So far, the capital of the Black Earth Region is leading: 54% of the votes is given for the option “Peter I”, in the northern capital this figure is 44.3%, in Astrakhan – about 28.3%.

The three “Voronezh” finalists, in addition to the name of Peter I, included the names of cosmonaut Konstantin Feoktistov (27.3 thousand votes, 25%) and the poet Alexei Koltsov (20.9 thousand votes, 20%). The names of these people were chosen according to the results of sociological polls conducted by the VCIOM. Voronezh citizens were suggested choosing among the options from the long list, containing the names of their 10 great countrymen.

The voting will last until November 30. The poll is conducted on великиеимена.рф website, in VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks, and is also available by hotline 8 800 707 95 17. In addition, you can fill out a questionnaire from one of the project volunteers who will work in crowded places of Voronezh till the end of the month: at railway and bus stations, in shopping centers, Multifunctional Centers for Provision of State and Municipal Services. The results will be announced after processing all the ballots on December 5.