How Jalil catches up with Devyatayev: Kazan airport not to be named after legendary pilot

The short list of finalists of Great Names of Russia competition to name airports of Tatarstan has been announced

The Public Chamber of Tatarstan has called the finalists of Great Names of Russia competition whom the international airports Kazan and Begishevo might be named after. The final voting will last until 30 November, the winners will be announced on 5 December. Realnoe Vremya tells why the name of Mikhail Devyatayev left the top 3 best airport names at the last minute and how many people voted for these candidates.

100,000 votes in three

Kazan airport might be named after Gabdulla Tukay, Andrey Tupolev or Musa Jalil after people voted. Zakamye region residents have a small advantage compared to citizens of Kazan in this respect, they could four names to choose from – Nikolay Lemayev, Dmitry Mendeleyev, Salikh Saydashev, Ivan Shishkin. But this is rather an exception – nine airports have the same conditions, and only because the finalists on the third and fourth place scored the same number of votes or with a margin of less than 1%. Seven names for Tatarstan airports were chosen after voting in social networks and social surveys. Right this form of people's recognition made Musa Jalil a leader who caught up with the previous favourite – Mikhail Devyatayev.

''The name of Musa Jalil was in the top 3 mainly thanks to social surveys. Plenty of people voted for him,'' Tatarstan Public Chamber Chairman Anatoly Fomin explained.

He didn't specify how many votes each compatriot whose name is offered to call the airports Kazan and Begishevo got. He said percentage didn't matter, not always it accurately expresses the population's opinion. Organisers perhaps try to exclude any disposition to a candidate. About 100,000 people voted for the names on the short list. Fomin found it hard to reply how many votes came from other regions.

Musa Jalil a leader who caught up with the previous favourite – Mikhail Devyatayev. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Plebiscite on airport names

Anatoly Fomin admits though there were sceptics, all previous selection stages didn't have remarks.

''It's a new big experience we haven't had. In fact, it's a plebiscite on names that are outstanding for the population,'' Fomin thinks.

He reminded that one could offer one's own versions on 19 sites, 1,7m people took part in the competition with the Tatarstan airports, 40 surnames were chosen after the first stage. And they didn't have to refuse any name, though Fomin admits there was a fear there could be ''odious'' names too. They couldn't avoid exceptions and additions. He says that residents of Tatarstan presented all possible versions on their own.

''The Tatarstan Public Chamber chose 18 out of 40 surnames that were selected at the first stage for discussion – nine for each airport. This list hasn't changed. No surname was additionally included by the side, which means that the survey's participants had already offered all versions,'' Fomin says.

We will remind that the Tatarstan Public Chamber published an expanded list of airport names on 19 October. So Mikhail Devyatayev, Gavriil Derzhavin, Musa Jalil, Sergey Korolyov, Nikolay Lobachevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Gabdulla Tukay, Andrey Tupolev, Fyodor Shalyapin were among the names for the airport of Kazan. The following names were chosen for Nizhnekamsk: Vladimir Bekhterev, Kul Gali, Nikolay Lemayev, Shigabutdin Marjani, Dmitry Mendeleyev, Salikh Saydashev, Khadi Taktash, Marina Tsvetayeva and Ivan Shishkin.

The Public Chamber chairman didn't want to explain who of the great people had the smallest number of votes and said all names deserved it. ''Society is mature to express its preferences, all names made their contribution. The most important thing is that our names need to be famous and heard across the country,'' Fomin avoided a direct reply.

The Public Chamber chairman didn't want to explain who of the great people had the smallest number of votes and said all names deserved it. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

How to vote?

One can vote for a favourite candidate on ВеликиеИмена.рф website, in the project's communities in social networks and on the hotline 8 800 707 93 17 and even on a plane's board, but this can be done only in one airline. A name can be given only to one airport. For instance, not only the airport of Kazan but also Moscow air hubs Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo and the airport of Omsk can be named after Andrey Tupolev. Sheremetyevo and the airport of Tyumen might also get the name of Dmitry Mendeleyev apart from Begishevo. The airport with the biggest number of votes will receive the name, which means it will be hard for Kazan to compete with the Moscow air hub for the same leader.

By Yulia Kosolapkina