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28 Feb, 2009 06:44

Digit-named boy ignored by authorities

‘Dolphin’ and ‘Viagra’ are not typical names, but they have been recognised by the Moscow registry office. However, authorities have refused to give a birth certificate to a boy whose name is simply a series of digits.

Sounding like ‘Boch’ in Russia, the seven-year-old child’s name in English reads as ‘BOH dVF 260602’, which is an abbreviation of ‘Biological Object Human descendant of the Voronins and Frolovs (the parents’ surnames) born on June 26, 2002’.

He has no birth certificate, registration or insurance. For the authorities, he does not exist – all because of his name.

The boy’s father explains that the name he gave to his son is a formula that underlines the boy is a human – and that’s all that matters.

“It will make his life easier, so he won’t interact with those idiots who think one's name defines their appearance. Every person who gets a traditional name is automatically linked to his historical background. And he will be devoid of his ancestors’ legacy,” Vyacheslav Voronin said.

His philosophy has earned a lot of adherents but that hasn’t persuaded the district record office, which has refused to register the newborn. Although he doesn’t have proof of his birth, Boch’s file is getting thicker by the year.

“The record office is an authority that registers, it’s not the authority that permits or decides. Thus the office official committed a crime by denying the parents’ will,” lawyer Aleksandr Budan says.

The authorities do not want to comment, but not one court in Moscow has agreed, and even the European Court for Human Rights refuses to consider the case.

The Russian Constitution enshrines the right to choose any name, but the registry has its own set of rules. According to them any name has to have letters rather than numbers. This boy’s name does not.

“The world has changed – look at the internet, look what kind of nicknames people choose. Every person is unique and certainly wants to have a unique name as well,” the boy’s mother Marina Frolova said.

The parents have confidence in Boch’s future. He goes to a private pre-school and takes karate lessons, so for his friends it’s just a cool nickname.

“You can call a child a stool or a table, a child has a right to such a name, but one has to use common sense. Particularly when it concerns a child, why should one suffer from the parents’ choice, he will go to a kindergarten and then to school and will be mocked, all because of his name,” said Tatyana Baturina from a Moscow registry office.

The parents still have an option to take the case to the Supreme Court of Russia or simply drop the digital part of their son’s name and keep only the abbreviation – ‘BOH’.

For now the parents consider it a matter of principle, and for Boch it may determine whether he goes to school or not.