Apparently, Some People Think The Czech Republic Is Chechnya

That’s the only reason I can think of for the Czech Ambassador to the United States to issue this statement:

As many I was deeply shocked by the tragedy that occurred in Boston earlier this month. It was a stark reminder of the fact that any of us could be a victim of senseless violence anywhere at any moment.

As more information on the origin of the alleged perpetrators is coming to light, I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding in this respect. The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities – the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation.

As the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman noted in his message to President Obama, the Czech Republic is an active and reliable partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism. We are determined to stand side by side with our allies in this respect, there is no doubt about that.

Petr Gandalovič
Ambassador of the Czech Republic

Sad that he even found it necessary to issue this statement.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism, Uncategorized,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. JKB says:

    The sad part is, whoever is making this mistake is unaware of their ignorance or unable to figure out how to use Wikipedia. Neither is salubrious trait for a person.

    Whatever you do, don’t tell them that Chechnya borders Georgia.

  2. John Peabody says:

    Ask anyone who lives in New Mexico- it is not an unusual occurrence to find it necessary to explain that they are part of the United States (in the guise of “we don’t accept foreign checks”, “you will need international postage for that”, or, “this offer is for US residents only”).

  3. john personna says:

    @John Peabody:

    That is really bad.

    (It makes the Danish/Dutch confusion I’ve seen look pretty minor.)

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Stockton, Stockholm? So confusing, it’s so hard to know.
    Same thing with South Africa and South Carolina!

  5. Ross says:

    While reading this does make me want to bang my head into a wall repeatedly, keep in mind that the Czech ambassador has been in the news this week for visiting the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, which has a surprisingly large Czech population. I am guessing it’s not true, but I would like to believe that some people were just conflating the two tragedies.

  6. ernieyeball says:

    @John Peabody: Per this story from the Albuquerque Journal

    1969: The letters “USA” are added after the state name to help geography-challenged people in other states know where we’re from.

    I have found examples of NM plates without the USA inscription issued after 1969.

  7. karel says:

    Czech Republic is islamic country:

  8. James H says:

    Czeh and Mate.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Whatever you do, don’t tell them that Chechnya borders Georgia.

    It gets worse. Don’t tell them there are Chechens living in Georgia.

  10. ernieyeball says:

    @James H: I’ll watch anything that is set in San Francisco.

  11. Gustopher says:

    Given that neither Chechnia nor the Czech Republic have been in the news recently, and that neither is really all that important to the day to day lives of most Americans, I can see hearing the word “Chechen” along with “former Soviet Republic” or “Russian”, and thinking that Chechens come from Czechoslovakia.

    It’s not a great tragedy of American education. It’s just putting together all the bits of information that they haven’t used in years and only half remember. It’s only when the result doesn’t make sense any more that you realize you need to look things up.

    Who here actually remembers where all the -stans go, and whether Latvia is a Baltic country or a Balkan country?

    There are many, many other and much better examples of our failing education system (creationism being taught in schools, for instance, or my coworker from North Carolina who was taught that there really wasn’t very much slavery in that state and that the War of another’s Aggression was about tariffs)

  12. John Peabody says:

    On the run, the diminutive man from a certain European country glances around nervously as he knocks on the door. Brightening his face to a smile when the owner opens, he asks urgently: “Can you cache a small Czech?”

  13. Jeremy says:

    STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHP with the puns. Seriously, you guys.