Chechen football club Terek Grozny has been renamed ‘Akhmat’, as was announced on 6 June by the club’s president and chairman of the the Chechen Parliament, Magomed Daudov.
The club announced several years ago its desire to change the team’s name in memory of the late father of Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov, Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov. The first attempt was unsuccessful after fans protested against the decision. At the time, Ramzan Kadyrov’s intervention stopped the process.
Commenting on the reasons for renaming the club, which was founded in 1958, Daudov said that it was done due to numerous requests from fans. He wrote the following on his Instagram profile:
‘The pure Chechen blood of our fathers flows in our veins! And in our hearts there is the name of AKHMAT!!! ALLAHU-AKBAR!’, Daudov wrote.
Following the post, his Instagram page was immediately flooded with messages from dissatisfied fans and followers. Some wrote that for them, the name of the team will always be ‘Terek’. Many football fans posted comments on their social media profiles with the message, ‘Terek once — Terek forever’.
Ramzan Kadyrov defended the change writing on his Telegram (a Russian social network) page on 7 June, that ‘Terek’ is a river that flows through five regions but not Chechnya, and therefore isn’t a word from the Chechen language.
‘Beside this, the multifunctional centre Akhmat-Tower, which is being built in Grozny, will resemble Vainakh watchtowers in appearance. For us, the Chechens, our ethnic community, it is very important, and its signs are manifested in all spheres of life — religion, politics, culture, sport, construction. We want to preserve the feeling of our own self, and for this we need symbols, not some fictitious ones, but those that are alive both in the past and in the present’, Kadyrov wrote.