Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis has initiated to change the official name for Georgia from the traditional Slavic ‘Gruzia’ to Georgian-sounding ‘Sakartvelo’.
Pranckietis said the country would be officially renamed in 2018 and this would be a "great gift” for Georgians from Lithuanians, Lithuanian media reported.
Like other post-Soviet states, Lithuanians refer to the country as ‘Gruzia’ – a name Georgia says is a relic of the communist past. Georgians call their own country ‘Sakartvelo’. It means a union of Kartvels, which Georgians call themselves.
"Georgians do not like the word ‘Gruzia’. They prefer for their country to be called ‘Sakartvelo’”, Pranckietis said.
He added that while in Tbilisi, a number of ordinary citizens of Georgia and President Giorgi Margvelashvili himself told him that Georgians don’t like the word ‘gruzia’. He also said that he heard the same from Georgian Ambassador to Lithuania Khatuna Salukvadze too in Vilnius.
Thus, Lithuanians should call Georgia ‘Sakartvelo’, Pranckietis said.
Several lawmakers have already backed the idea, Lithuanian media reported.