Leaders of the Czech Republic think their country’s name is just too long and clunky. Instead, they say, call it Czechia.
The president, prime minister, and other top country officials announced this week they will ask the United Nations to officially recognize “Czechia” as an alternative name to the country, along with other foreign-language equivalents—la Tchequie in French, and so on.
Milos Zeman, the nation’s president, has publicly talked about his distaste for the longer, official name for several years. In a 2013 meeting with then-Israeli President Shimon Peres, he said, “I use the word Czechia because it sounds nicer and it’s shorter than the cold Czech Republic,” according to AFP.
Some in the country disapprove, saying they might be mistaken as the small Russian republic of Chechnya.
Going by a shortened name is a familiar practice around world. The Italian Republic is most commonly known as Italy, just as the French Republic is shortened to France.
The long “Czech Republic” name has been a headache for sports teams and marketing campaigns. The hockey team even displays the adjective “Czech” on the front of its jerseys, which would be as odd as the U.S. Olympic team displaying “American” on the front of its jerseys.
The Czech Republic was formed after Czechoslovakia split up in 1993, four years after the communist regime collapsed following the Velvet Revolution. Slovakia—fittingly and officially known as the Slovak Republic—was formed at the same time. More than two decades later, that country’s neighbor will finally be known as Czechia.
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