Dante Alighieri Society ordered to change name
The Dante Alighieri Society which was set up to promote the Italian language in Russia is being forced to change its name.
ґThe St Petersburg based society has been told by the Justice Ministry it has to either get permission from the writer`s family or think up another title.
According to the Russian law, for a non-profit organisation to be registered under the name of a prominent figure, it has to receive permission from the person`s family to use the name.
However finding the family of the writer who died in 1321 won`t be an easy task. "It`s almost the same task to prove that someone is Homer`s relative," the Society`s President Marina Samarina says.
The Dante Alighieri Society was founded more than a hundred years ago in Rome, and has 500 branches around the world. The St Petersburg branch opened in 1992 without problems.
Even though local officials of the Justice Ministry in St Petersburg are following the letter of the law, there is still a question over why they have suddenly decided the name is no longer valid.