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Zelensky responds to petition to rename Russia to Muscovy

A petition posted on President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky’s website in November 2022 suggested changing Russia’s official name to Muscovy, and the Russian Federation to the Muscovite Federation. It gathered more than 25,000 signatures, meaning that President Zelensky was legally obligated to respond to it.

Zelensky published his response on March 10. He noted that geographical names are regulated by legislation, and that changes are within the jurisdiction of Ukraine’s government. He also pointed out that the names of countries and regions are enshrined in U.N. documents. 

The Ukrainian president said the issue “requires careful study on the level of historical and social context, as well as taking into account possible international legal consequences.” He said he’d asked the Prime Minister of Ukraine to review the petition.

The petition notes that the name Muscovy was common until several hundred years ago, and that the name Russia is associated with imperial incursions into Kyivan Rus. 

Representatives of the Russian authorities commented on Telegram on the petition as well as on Zelensky’s response. Most of the comments consist of insults leveled against Zelensky and Ukraine. Maria Zakharova, the official spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry called the petition “another piece of evidence of the attempt to make Ukraine into an ‘anti-Russia.’”

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