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Tajikistan bans Russian-style surnames

Tajikistan bans Russian-style surnames
Meeting between Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013 (Image: Kremlin)

3 May 2016

A new law in Tajikistan has banned surnames and patronymics with “Russian-style” endings.

The legislation, which came into effect on 29 April, forms part of a broader drive to promote national culture and patriotism.

During the Soviet era it was common for Tajiks to Russify their surnames. Under the new law, traditionally Russian endings such as “-ov” and “-ev” are no longer allowed and parents must give their children surnames with Tajik endings, including “-zod”, “-pur” and “-far”.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon, who abandoned the Russified version of his name in 2007, said in an interview with Tajik Radio Liberty that all surnames in Tajkistan must be written in Tajik to avoid having children “separate in two groups, one of which will be proud of their Tajik names while the other will have to carry foreign ones”.

“In Tajikistan, names and the way they are written is done in accordance with culture, national traditions and the Registry of Tajik national names, approved by the government,” he stated.

Under Mr Rakhmon Russian also lost its status as an official language in 2009.

Source: Moscow Times and Radio Free Europe