Tajik foreign minister drops Russian-derived last name


DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's foreign minister has modified his last name as part of a nationwide shift from Russian-derived to Tajik surnames, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Aslov is now Sirojiddin Muhriddin, an official at the ministry confirmed on condition of anonymity Wednesday (May 23).

The change appeared on the ministry's website "two or three days ago", according to the source. No formal announcement occurred.

President Emomali Rahmon has urged Tajiks to switch from Slavic names to Tajik ones with the goal of boosting patriotism. He changed his own surname from Rakhmonov in 2007.

The president's family, government ministers and civil servants have followed suit.

A 2016 law prohibits newborns from having last names with Russian endings like -ov or -skii.

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That was long overdue.