Czech or Czechia, What’s Proper?
The Czech Republic is a robust country in the west of Germany that is dubbed the “heartland of Europe.” Stable leadership and a profitable trade relationship with neighboring countries like Poland has seen the Czech Republic grow exponentially. They have become a developed nation with one of the most stable economies in Europe. All the success, however, hasn’t solved issues dealing with their identification. Its residents are still torn between sticking to Czechia or continue with the old Czech.
After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, both the Czech Republic and Slovakia formed a state of their own. The treaty was brokered to see each Slovakian and the Czechs have countries that reflect what they are. Almost instant, the Czech Republic went into a crisis of determining its geographical name. Typically, countries have two names; a formal and short name, with both being for different purposes. For example, a country’s formal name denotes a contemporary political system and is mainly reserved for diplomatic protocols. Short names are traditional, the ones you find in publications or documentations like France, Germany, or Mexico.
The United Nations Council recognizes both the official and abbreviated names as legal titles of states. Outside of political affairs, there is a strong preference for geographical names due to their practicality. Short name alias geographical names don’t carry political jargon like republics, democratic, sultanate, etc. The benefits of using them include not having to worry about the contemporary political system in place. It’s short with the simple intent of giving a region its correct geographical identity. There is a sense of timeless as compared to a formal one, considering current regimes can easily be dethroned.
The Czech Republic is the official name of the state, but Czech was assigned as its shorter name shortly after independence. Assignation of Czech started after residents of Bohemia, a western region of Czechia, began popularizing the term Czech. In Czech, their language, the term Czech translates to Bohemia. That created a discrepancy in the regions with residents of Moravia and Silesia, other regions of Czechia, feeling they hadn’t been fully represented.
This led to several activists from Brno, the capital city of Moravia, started an organization called Civic Initiative Czechia. Soon after it was started, it had gained enough proponents who rallied up lawmakers to push for renaming legislation. Their agenda put forward every reason Czech wasn’t an ideal name for a state. A country’s name has to be unique and not tied to any other descriptions that may absolve its meaning. Putting into this perspective, lawmakers approved the use of Czechia, and it was recognized by the United Nations as their geographical name.
For a start, the word Czech is an adjective describing people who live in the Czech Republic. This brings confusion with its shorter name which is also Czech. The Civic Initiative Czechia argued that a single name Czech cannot be universally used to describe their language, nationalism, and people living in Czechia. Although a bill was passed in parliament after secession from Czechoslovakia to name the country Czechia, some top politicians had sought to stick to Czech.
In an interview with Kafka desk, Peter Pavlínek, who is a member of Civic Initiative Czechia, reiterated that changing locals’ minds to Czechia was hard. He felt they had grown accustomed to Czech, but he was hopeful there will come a time they realize the importance of Czechia. Reports clearly state that locals plus foreigners give incorrect designations when they shorten The Czech Republic. Such names like RC, Czech, Czech R, and R Czech are not names recognized by The United Nations or government outlets.
Adoption of Czechia has been a slow process considering it was officially standardized in 1993. Some blame their leaders for not giving it enough publicity abroad. Previously before the brokerage of Czechoslovakia, the Czechs had felt Slovakians had the upper hand, controlling most of the union. Coming from a situation like that has always made Czechs long for an identity of their own. One that they have control over, and not using a Bohemian derived name. Old habits die hard for some Czechs who still Czech, but hopes are high that things will change as years progress.