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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bridge Akhmad Kadyrov split Petersburg

In St. Petersburg launched a controversy around the naming of the new bridge with the name of the first President of the Chechen Republic Akhmad Kadyrov. The idea gave the head of the city Committee for culture, toponymic Commission adopted its majority by a margin of one vote. But there remains a lot of unhappy who say that, with all due respect to Kadyrov, to St. Petersburg he had no relationship. Vice-Governor threatened a vote of no confidence.


“Delaying this decision supposedly will negatively perceive the Chechen people, but if you do it quickly, the same Chechen people will accept all positive”

The decision of the city toponymic Commission of St.-Petersburg about to call one of the bridges in the Krasnoselsky district in honor of the first President of Chechnya Akhmad Kadyrov has split local and community members.

The city authorities, with the exception of Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, who has not publicly announced its position (despite the fact that he got the last word), are “for”.

The idea of renaming was put forward in April, the member of the toponymic Commission and concurrently the head of the Committee for culture of St. Petersburg Konstantin Sukhenko. According to the city portal Karpovka.net, approached by representatives of public organizations “Mercy”, “Nevskie Berega” and “Strong Russia”.

About fifteen years ago the same proposal was made by the Deputy of the Petersburg Legislative Assembly Vitaly Milonov.

Commenting on the proposal, Milonov stated that it still believes the name of the first President of Chechnya Akhmad Kadyrov deserves to be immortalized in St. Petersburg, as well as in other cities of Russia, reports RIA “Novosti”.

A year ago at the initiative Milonov Governor Georgy Poltavchenko responded to the refusal with the argument: “With all due respect to Kadyrov personality should be recognized that he was not directly involved in the life of St. Petersburg”.

On Tuesday, the press service of the Committee on culture of Northern capital the newspaper LOOK told me that the head of the Committee Konstantin Sukhenko unlikely to be able to promptly provide a new comment. However, their assessment of the decision he gave to the media before.

The official noted that it was “conciliatory” solution which will help to heal the wounds from the Chechen war. Also, according to him, this is a compromise. If the name of Kadyrov called the street, the dispute probably would have been more. In the comments of ABN Sukhenko said that “we need to be able to make a step forward, these people are still out of the woods, they are now fighting for Russia”.

In turn, Vice-Governor Vladimir Kirillov added that the final decision rests with Governor Georgy Poltavchenko. “The decision will be submitted to the government. All opinions of residents be taken into account by the government in its decision”, – quotes his words TASS.

Kirillov did not specify the timing of the review, but noted that he voted in support of the new name, because “he is a member of hostilities in the North Caucasus”.

“I voted for though, because Akhmad Kadyrov put an end to the Chechen war,” the official said. And the choice of a place to perpetuate the memory of the Chechen President, he was considered optimal and “reflecting the connection of generations” (near the Avenue of Heroes).

Representatives of the Chechen Diaspora of Saint-Petersburg expected supported the decision of the toponymic Commission. Vice-President of the Vainakh Congress of St. Petersburg Alih Askhabov said the newspaper VIEW that refers to the new name “normal”. “Akhmad Kadyrov is a Russian citizen? Russian. He – The Hero Of Russia? Hero. Then I think that nothing criminal in the city will not happen if the bridge will call his name” – he said.

Answering objections about the fact that in recent years in the city there are no new names, not directly connected with the St. Petersburg toponymy, Askhabov recalled earlier times: “A lane of Dzhambul we have? And the area of Nizami? And the street of Jaroslav Hasek? Saint Petersburg is a cultural capital. And this means that in city names should reflect the culture of different peoples living in the Russian Federation and around her. All this leads to even greater rapprochement of the peoples”, he concluded.


“Let we’ll have any name, as long as we were bridges”

Opponents of the decision about the new name for the bridge, according to St. Petersburg media, at least not less. The member of the toponymic Commission of the city of Andrew Ryzhkov, the vote “against”, said the newspaper VIEW, how it was held. According to him, the decision was given to the initiators is not easy.

“For the first time the issue was discussed a month ago, on April 28. The idea was voiced by the head of the cultural Committee Konstantin Sukhenko. At the same time we are in the middle of nowhere and agreed to postpone the decision for some time. Then just a month later were for some reason arranged an unscheduled meeting. In the end, for the recommendation to name the bridge in the name of Kadyrov voted nine of the 17 attending members of the Commission (a total of 24 – approx. VIEW), six were against, including me, with two abstentions. Such decisions are taken by simple majority of votes, so it passed,” – said Ryzhkov.

The member of the toponymic Commission noted that the main argument was that it would be a big goodwill gesture to address the Chechen people and that such a decision as a whole will serve peace and mutual understanding in our country.

Opponents also confuse two things: first, Akhmad Haji Kadyrov had no relation to St. Petersburg and the decision in this sense could become a precedent, and secondly, the decision, according to Ryzhkov, somehow, were taken in a big hurry. He doesn’t understand why it was impossible to wait, to weigh, to consult with the public.

“When we directly asked why so fast, why now, we were told that delaying this decision supposedly will negatively perceive the Chechen people, but if you do it quickly, the same Chechen people will take everything positively. That is, the initiators found themselves in the situation of a strange choice with an eye on the other residents of the region,” he said.

Ryzhkov noted that his memory for the past 25 years, Northern capital has never bridges and streets had not received the names associated with individuals that are not related to St. Petersburg, its history and place names. “At least a distant connection, but it needs to be. Yesterday was established the opposite precedent. The initiators of the names of the bridge in the name of Akhmad Kadyrov say that the tradition is not broken: there is the Avenue of Heroes, and was Kadyrov the Hero of Russia. However, the Avenue is named in honor of the Heroes of the great Patriotic war, but it’s like nothing…” – asks the expert.

He added that the Internet has passed a public vote on the issue and most users were in favor of the name of Duderhof (the bridge spans a canal of the same name – approx. OPINION). In second place – the bridge of Heroes. The idea to name the object the name of Kadyrov almost no support received.

Now proponents of the new name remains to wait for the visa of district authorities (but the head of the district attended the meeting of the toponymic Commission and did not object – approx. OPINION) and the Governor of the city. According to the law Georgy Poltavchenko may not agree with the controversial decision, but a large number of his subordinates had spoken for it, yet speaks in favor of Akhmad Kadyrov.

Against this background, a number of deputies of the Petersburg Legislative Assembly has initiated the collection of signatures against assigning the bridge the name of the Chechen leader.

“We will collect signatures under the appeal to the Governor of St. Petersburg, which should make the final decision. The collection of signatures will be held among the residents of the neighborhood, where there is as yet unnamed bridge, because it is very important to know exactly their point of view”, – told RIA “news” the Deputy Olga Galkina. A petition, which is posted on the website www.change.org signed more than 4 thousand people.

Also, a group of deputies of the legislative Assembly introduced in city Parliament the draft of an appeal to the Governor against naming the bridge in honor of Kadyrov. The document can be viewed on 1 June. Deputy Boris Vishnevsky went even further – he wants to initiate a referendum on this issue.

The head of the Committee for culture of St. Petersburg Maxim Reznik Parliament adds that the Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg Vladimir Kirillov, head of toponymy Commission, due to the assignment of the bridge of a name of Kadyrov could face a vote of no confidence. A draft resolution of no confidence may be considered by the Parliament on 8 June.

There are a number of cultural figures who oppose. Director Alexander Sokurov in the letter to the Governor noted that the current solution was causing him “extreme anxiety”. It was opposed by St Petersburg’s famous actor Oleg Basilashvili.

Of special note is the famous Petersburger Mikhail Boyarsky. In the comment “Moscow speaking” he said, “Let we’ll have any name, as long as we were bridges”.

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