[lg policy] Georgians Forced to Alter Names in South Ossetia

r.amirejibi-mullen at QMUL.AC.UK r.amirejibi-mullen at QMUL.AC.UK
Thu Feb 11 10:47:02 UTC 2010

By Helena Bedwell
Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Georgians living in the separatist
region of South Ossetia are being forced to change their names
to conform with Ossetian linguistic practice, Georgia’s
reintegration minister said.
“It’s terrible that people who remain in the region are
being forced to change their Georgian surnames, and that the
names of towns and villages are also being changed,” Temur
Iakobashvili said by telephone in the capital Tbilisi today.
Georgian surnames ending in “shvili” and “dze” will now end
in “ov,” he said.
Maya Kharebova, a spokeswoman for the South Ossetian
government, denied that people in the region were being
compelled to change their names.
Russia recognized South Ossetia as a sovereign country
after routing Georgia’s army in a five-day war over the region
in August 2008. The Georgian government maintains that South
Ossetia remains Georgian territory, though Russia has a military
base there and defends the region’s borders.
Iakobashvili said the town of Akhalgori in South Ossetia is now called  
Leningori, as it was during the Soviet era. The names
of as many as 200 villages will soon be changed, he said.
“Ossetians always regarded Akhalgori as Leningori,”
Kharebova said. “After the war, we intend to call it by that
Last month, the Georgian government approved a plan for
cooperation with South Ossetia and another breakaway region,
Abkhazia, whose independence was also recognized by Russia.

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