Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested on Friday the “comprehensive processing” of an online petition to rename the Russian Federation to simply ‘Moscow,’ after the bill passed the 25,000 signatures needed to force the Ukrainian government to respond.
The petition, started in November, argued that the entirety of Russia should be renamed Moscow because “the historical name of Russia is Muscovy…’Russia’ has existed for only 301 years, the name change gave ground for further encroachment on the history of Kyivan Rus’,” according to petition author Valeriya Shakhvorostova.
Petition accuses Moscow of cultural appropriation
“For foreigners, the names ‘Rus’ and ‘Russia’, 'Russia', 'Russia’ look almost identical, as if it is the name of one state that has undergone certain changes in translations into different languages,” the author wrote in the successful petition, which has just over 25,000 signatories as of Saturday afternoon. “This leads to confusion at the international level. Fiction books are being written, films are being shot where Russia is presented as Rus, which is unacceptable,” the petition further argued.
“We have a responsibility to reclaim our identity and our history,” Shakhvorostova added.
In response to the petition, the Ukrainian president noted the complexity of such a move, saying that the legal basis for renaming “geographical objects, which include, in particular, the state, as well as the normalization, accounting, registration, use and preservation of geographical names” is regulated under Ukrainian law.
Further, Zelensky warned that “the above-mentioned proposal also has international legal aspects…the issue raised in the petition needs to be carefully worked out both in terms of the historical and cultural context and from the perspective of possible international legal consequences.”
Despite that, Zelensky signed his response to the petition by announcing that he had requested that Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal carry out a “comprehensive processing, in particular with the involvement of scientific institutions” of the petition, the results of which to be presented to the president and the petition’s author.