Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian names on the world's maps are being replaced by foreign ones and encouraged people to not condone the "distortion of geographical truth."
"Today, we are faced with a situation where Russian names, which our researchers and travelers gave in the past centuries and decades, are gradually being ousted from the world map," Putin said during a speech at the meeting of the Russian Geographical Society's (RGO) Board of Trustees, quotes Interfax.
The President claimed that the historical name of the Smith Island was Borodino; that Snow island was originally Small Yaroslavets; and lastly that the Livingston island was originally Smolensk. These islands are all part of the South Shetland archipelago in the Antarctic.
According to Putin, the "ousting" of Russian names is the result of a lack of modern Russian maps. "Only foreign ones are freely available, where, as a rule, secondary names of geographical objects appear," the President said.
Putin instructed the Russian Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (ROSREESTR) to create a new Russian atlas of the world. Toward this aim, Putin proposed to involve experts from the Russian Geographical Society and the Ministry of Defense, who will have to declassify some of their cartographic materials.
"With the most active participation of the RGO, it is proposed to prepare a new Russian atlas of the world in which all such cases [the renaming of toponyms bearing Russian names] will be correctly interpreted," Putin said.
In 2009, a commission was set up in Russia to counter "attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia's interests." It was formed by the decree of Dmitry Medvedev, who at that time held the post of president. The commission was abolished in 2012.