March 15, 2023

Renaming Russia?


Renaming Russia?
1596 map of Moscovia. Lambert Andrea, Wikimedia Commons.

In November 2022, a petition was submitted to President Zelensky's website that proposed the renaming of Russia to Moscovia and "the Russian Federation" to "the Moscovian Federation." Since the petition received over 25,000 signatures, the Ukrainian president is legally obligated to respond to it.

On March 10, Zelensky released his long-awaited response. In his statement, he highlighted that any alterations to geographical names are subject to regulation by legislation, with the responsibility for making such changes resting solely with the Ukrainian government. Moreover, he underscored that the names of countries are firmly enshrined in official United Nations documents, thus rendering any modifications to these titles a challenging task.

Zelensky said the issue "required careful study on the level of historical and social context, as well as taking into account possible international legal consequences." The president revealed that he will direct the Ukrainian prime minister to conduct a thorough review of the petition.

According to the petition, the name Moscovia was widely used to refer to the Russian state until a few centuries ago, with the moniker "Russia" linked to imperial interventions in Kyivan Rus.

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