No more Vitryssland: Sweden stops calling Belarus ‘White Russia’

Picketing in Stockholm. 15 October 2019. Photо: Sveriges Belarusier

The Swedish authorities will no longer use name Belarus Vitryssland (‘White Russia’) in official relations. Instead, the name ‘Belarus’ will be used, Dagens Nyheter reports with reference to Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde.

According to the top diplomat, it is thus that the Swedish Foreign Ministry gives proper respect to the country’s civil society and the Belarusians who wanted to bring into focus their national identity and sovereignty.

The term Vitryssland may be associated with Russia (Ryssland), Linde stressed. At the same time, ‘Belarus’ is not related to Russia, but a medieval name of lands in Eastern Europe.

Curiously, the news about the substitution appeared during Ann Linde’s and her Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto’s visit to Minsk.

On October 15, Sveriges Belarusier, the association of Belarusians in Sweden, held a picket in Stockholm. The picketers called on Ann Linde to finally remove the name Vitryssland from the official usage.

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