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Making A Name For Himself: Top Tajik Diplomat Follows President’s Lead

Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Aslov, now Muhriddin, meets with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow last month.

Tajikistan's foreign minister has changed his surname, the latest top government official to follow President Emomali Rahmon's shift away from Slavic-derived names.

Sirojiddin Aslov made no formal announcement of the shift, but the change appeared in the minister's biography on the Foreign Ministry's website, and an official confirmed the switch on May 23.

"Yes, two or three days ago, the minister's name was changed into the Tajik-style name of Muhriddin," an official at the Foreign Ministry told RFE/RL, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rahmon has discouraged the use of Slavic names to boost patriotism, having changed his own surname from Rakhmonov in 2007.

That prompted ministers, civil servants, and his own children to follow suit.

In 2016, a new law went into effect banning newborn babies from having last names with Russian-style endings.