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Gruzia or Georgia?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 16
During her visit to Lithuania, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze expressed her concern about the name of our country. In this country Georgia is called “Gruzia” which is derived from Russian language. Panjikidze said she would prefer her country would be called Georgia rather than Gruzia. She recommended Lithuanian authorities to further use “Georgia.”

This issue was put on the agenda around the time of the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008. Then Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze suggested changing the country’s name from Gruzia to Georgia. Moscow became irritated and today Moscow still criticizes the initiative of the Georgian Foreign Minister.

It is unlikely that Lithuanian authorities will implement Panjikidze’s recommendation. However, the Georgian Parliamentary opposition from the United National Movement (UNM) appreciated the suggestion.

The issue created debates in the Georgian media. Analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili recommended calling the country the name it has in Georgian language – Sakartvelo. However, this will be technically difficult because historically Georgia’s name in documents, historic, geographic and other books is known as Georgia. Moreover, different nations call it in a different way: Turks call us Gurjistan, Armenians – Vrastan, Russians and other Slav countries – Gruzia.

However, some analysts suggest that this is a very trivial problem and it does not matter what you are called; what matters is how its politics are established in the world today, besides it is not worth touching this issue when some prospect for regulating Georgian-Russian relations has appeared.