Norway stops calling Belarus 'White Russia'

Norway has heeded Tsikhanouskaya's call not to call Belarus "White Russia" / Reuters

Norway has dropped the name Hviterussland to refer to Belarus on the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus on May 29. Hviterussland literally translates as "White Russia". Now the name Belarus will be officially used.

"We believe it is right to change the use of names in solidarity with the Belarusian democratic movement," said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The emphasis on the difference between Belarus and Belarusians and Russia and the Russians is an important symbolic issue, stresses the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

"Although there are historical and linguistic arguments for writing "Hviterussland" or "Kviterussland," it is ultimately a political issue," says Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeld.

The International Day of Solidarity with Democratic Belarus is the day Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's husband, Siarhei Tsikhanousky, was arrested. He was detained on May 29, 2020. Tsikhanouski was accused of organizing mass riots, inciting social hatred, obstructing the work of the CEC, and organizing actions that grossly violate public order. He was sentenced to 18 years of the reinforced regime on December 14, 2021.

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