Norway adopts new name for Belarus

Norway adopts new name for Belarus

Oslo s top diplomat says that the move is intended to promote the cause of democracy in the country.

Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt announced on Sunday that Norway has adopted a new name for Belarus to be used in official documents. The country will now be called Belarus instead of Hviterussland, a historic Norwegian name for the region literally meaning White Russia. On the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus, Huitfeldt announced on Twitter that we no longer use the name Hviterussland in the Norwegian language.

The decision was made during a visit by Belarusian opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claimed to have won the country's 2020 presidential election. She finished runner-up in the election that triggered mass protests and was not recognized in the West amid claims that the polls were neither fair nor free.

I was happy yesterday to tell Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the leader of the democratic movement, about this. Huitfeldt said we support the struggle of the Belarusian people for freedom and democracy.

In 2020, Tikhanovskaya left her home country after publicly dissented the election result, which gave the longtime Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide win. She has toured Western countries, rallying support for the Belarusian opposition and her presidential claims.

It was not immediately clear how Norway will help Tikhanovskaya's cause, given that Belarus has become the official English-language name of the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The name was adopted instead of the word Byelorussia which replaced the name White Russia in the Soviet era to refer to the region during the time of the Russian Empire.