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Czechia: Czech Republic to get shorter name to improve branding ()

The Czech Republic intends to rename itself Czechia in an effort to attract more brands to use its name.

The new name, pronounced 'checkia', will be an official shortening of Czech Republic, just as Germany is a shortening of the Federal Republic of Germany.

At a meeting earlier this week prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka gained the support of other senior government officials, according to the Czech News Agency.

Czech authorities will now ask the United Nations to update its list of names in time for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August. Czech Republic will remain the full name of the country.

"It is not good if a country does not have clearly defined symbols or if it even does not clearly say what its name is," foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters. He added that the shorter name would be of benefit at international events and for promoting the country.

The name change has been mooted for a number of years. In 2013 then Israeli president Shimon Peres referred to the Czech Republic as Czechia in a public speech. His Czech counterpart, president Miloš Zeman, thanked him for the gesture.

"I use Czechia because it sounds nicer and it’s shorter than the cold Czech Republic," Zeman said at the time. 

While many of the country's exports – and the national football and hockey teams – refer to themselves as Czech, officials argued that the adjective was not a suitable name for the country.

But critics have pointed out that the three-syllable Czechia sounds similar to Chechnya, a semi-autonomous Russian republic.

The nation was established in January 1993 following the separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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