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25 Mar, 2009 08:23

Call us like a US state, says Georgia

Call us like a US state, says Georgia

Georgia has asked Japan to stop calling it Russian-style ‘Grudzia’ in favour of the English variant ‘Georgia’. The request is now being considered.

“The request have been voiced by Georgia’s Foreign Minister Grigol Vashnadze during his visit to Tokyo on March 10,” a spokesperson for the ministry told the ITAR TASS news agency.

The reason to change the name is precisely what one might think: Vashnadze said the Russian-derived word was offensive to a Georgian ear. However, he didn’t ask the Japanese to call the country as the Georgians themselves do – Sakartvelo.

The request is now being considered by the Japanese side, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman. “We are thinking on how to react to this request,” he said.

The English name of Georgia sometimes leads to much confusion since it’s the same as the name of a state in the United States. During the hostilities in South Ossetia, an American resident Jessica B. posted a question on Yahoo! Answers wondering how Russian tanks could be invading her homeland while she couldn’t see or hear them. The question was taken by many as a mere joke, however, since it was the user’s first ever posting on the service.

It’s not unprecedented for a country to change its international name even without changes of border. Myanmar used to be called Burma before 1989.