Sweden recommends using the name Belarus instead of former White Russia or Vitryssland in the Swedish language, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde said.
As of today, the Swedish MFA will no longer use the old name Vitryssland, which literally translates as White Russia and will use the name Belarus instead in the official use.
“This is a recognition of the Belarusian civil society and the people who have long wanted to emphasize the national identity and sovereignty of their country,” Ann Linde said on Twitter.
Utrikesdepartementet övergår till att använda benämningen Belarus istället för Vitryssland. Vi gör det för att erkänna det belarusiska folkets, civilsamhällets och diasporans vilja att framhäva sitt lands nationella identitet och suveränitet. https://t.co/dIXKzmJMjJ
— Ann Linde (@AnnLinde) November 24, 2019
The statement was made by the minister for foreign affairs on the eve of her official visit to Minsk on 25 November together with Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.
“I will take this news with me as I visit Minsk on an official visit today. We strongly believe that it is always better to choose contacts over isolation, even with countries where the form of government and policy are based on the values that we do not fully share,” the minister added.
The Belarusian diaspora in Sweden has long advocated the use of the official name of Belarus, some activists and politicians organised pickets with a call to abolish Vitryssland.