September 6, 2015

Experts criticize idea to change name of "Fischt" Stadium in Sochi, because of Circassians' negative reaction

In April this year, information appeared in sports media that the organizing committee of the 2018 Football World Cup had pre-approved the names of stadiums that will host the matches of World Cup 2018 and Confederations Cup 2017. According to the media, for the time of the World Cup the "Fischt" Stadium will be renamed into the Olympic Stadium. It was explained that the reason for renaming the stadium in Sochi, built for the 2014 Winter Olympics, was in the fact that its name is associated by English-speaking guests and spectators with the word "fish".

Sulieta Kusova-Chukho, Director of the Centre of Ethnic-Confessional Problems of Mass Media at the Union of Journalists of Russia, has treated the initiative to change the name of the stadium as "an attempt to completely erase people's historical memory."

"I heard a comment in the news programme on Channel One that the name 'Fischt' sounds strange to foreigners as it is associated with fish. You can guess my reaction, since I'm a Shapsug, because all that remained in the Black Sea region from Adygs (Circassians), most of whom had to leave their homeland as result of the Caucasian War, is the toponymy, place names. Along the coast our names are met as rare beacons of national memory: Djubga, Tuapse, Anapa, Sochi... Mount Fischt is our pride. Folk tales are conserved here, the famous Nart epos. During the Olympics, this proud name was our guide to the world of Adyg past, and, I think, thousands of people took the name away with them," Sulieta Kusova told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

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