Lithuania has approved “Sakartvelas” (Sakartvelo) as the official Lithuanian name for Georgia. This means that from now on that Georgia will be referred to as Sakartvelas, the country’s name in its native tongue, in all official Lithuanian-language documents.
“Sakartvelas is the official name now,” Audrys Antanaitis, chairman of the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language (VLKK), told BNS.
“Sakartvelas” has been an alternative term for “Gruzija” for the last two years. The decision was made on December 21 of last year, to stop referring to Georgia as “Gruzija,” completely replacing it with “Sakartvelas”.
“We needed a transition period to see if the public were accepting this name,” Antanaitis told BNS. “Obviously, it took root incredibly quickly. I predicted [that it would take] 20 years, but it took two years. It was really unexpected.
“We decided to bring this process to a conclusion. Sakartvelas becomes the official name,” he added.
Georgian politicians and diplomats earlier asked Lithuanian officials to change the name, saying that “Gruzija” reflected the Russian name for the nation. Although the official name has changed, “Gruzija” can still be used in the public domain.
By Nini Dakhundaridze