The terminology commission explains the ban as a "struggle for the purity of the language." Social media and the media are outraged " />

Azerbaijan continues to battle “incorrect” names – this time Russian ones

The terminology commission explains the ban as a "struggle for the purity of the language." Social media and the media are outraged

 Azerbaijani parents should not call their children Russian names, the representative of the terminological commission under the Cabinet of Ministers Sayaly Sadigova said.  Officials attribute this to a “struggle for a clean language.” Users of social networks are outraged and ridicule this ban, considering it absurd. But experts say that it is also illegal.

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The fight against so-called “dissonant” and “made-up” names began in Azerbaijan a few years ago.  Then many reacted to this quite favorably, believing that newborns needed to be “protected” from parents’ overly active imagination. 

The process of “rejection” occurs as follows: the parents of the newborn go to register the child, say the name they want to be named, and officials decide how “valid” this name is.

And so, in September, the commission did not allow Azerbaijani parents to name their daughter “Tatyana” – a Russian name of Greek origin.

 “There are rules that must be followed in order to protect the Azerbaijani language from external influences. Our goal is to protect the language, not to distort it.  We cannot bring in Russian names to Azerbaijan,” says Sayali Sadigova.

 According to her, ethnic minorities living in Azerbaijan can call children as they like. 

Moreover, the names “Robert”, “Elsa”, “Sofia” are allowed, although they also have nothing to do with the Azerbaijani language.

Therefore, people can not understand the logic that guides the commission.

“Why not ?!” –  anger on social media 

 It cannot be said that Azerbaijanis are giving children Russian names en masse, but the fact that this is forbidden outraged many.

Comments from social networks:

“What nonsense.  Now, whatever, what name do you like?  If you are an Azerbaijani, should you only name your child with an Azerbaijani name?”

“It would be better if the world fiction and scientific literature was translated into Azerbaijani and normally taught the language in schools rather than put out these stupid bans!” 

 Although the ban doesn’t seem so absurd to some:

“But actually, why should an Azerbaijanian call his child a Russian name? After all, Russian parents will not call their son Mammed, or their daughter Zulfiya.”

“It’s illegal!” Experts say

 “Article 53 of the Family Code of Azerbaijan states that the name, surname and even middle name of a child is given by mutual consent of the parents. Only in cases of disagreement between parents should the case be considered by the relevant executive body,” lawyer Akram Hasanov told

Hasanov says the decisions of the Terminology Commission on this issue may take the form of a recommendation or advice, but not a ban.

MP Ayten Mustafazadeh also said that the terminology commission does not include prohibitions on universally recognized names in the world.

“If I want to name my daughter Ornella or Angelina in honor of my favorite actresses, no one should stop me from doing this,” Mustafayeva said, calling such prohibitions a violation of human rights.

 And the MP proposes to start the struggle for the purity of the language by observing the norms of the literary language in the media and, especially, on television.

Human rights activist Eldar Zeynalov recalls other cases of illogical prohibitions on names. He explains that in such cases, parents can file a complaint.  One of these complaints even reached the European Court of Human Rights. Then the case concerned the male name “Abulfazl-Abbas” (the name of a historical character, one of the Shiite martyrs for faith).

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