1. lpetrich says

    Er, the Czech Republic was never in the Soviet Union, but was part of Czechoslovakia until that nation was split in two in 1993. The other part is, of course, Slovakia.

  2. TGAP Dad says

    Sometimes I’m embarrassed to call myself an American. Is this what they mean by “American exceptionalism?” That these kinds of things are common knowledge across the world, EXCEPT by Americans?

  3. shouldbeworking says

    The concpt of American exceptionalism can put ou at either end a ofa spectrum of knowledge and abilities.

    Ann Coter is on record for saying Canada sent troops to assist you during the Vietnam War.

  4. otranreg says

    A fair few Americans were labouring […]

    The Czech Republic is famous for being in the USSR and leaving the USSR.

    Oh, the irony.

  5. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    The Czech Republic is famous for being in the USSR and leaving the USSR.
    Chechnya is famous for being in Russia and “not wanting to be in Russia”.

    Actually I wouldn’t really consider either the Czech republic or the Chechnyan semi-state as particularly “famous” at all.

    These aren’t really nations that come up in general conversation very often & their names are both reasonably similar sounding with many of the same letters. So, to some extent, I can sort of understand the confusion for people who aren’t well informed and aware about international affairs. Its not great and it does reveal an ignorance of geography (& history) but then too so does claiming the Czech Republic used to be a former Socialist Soviet Republic as opposed to Czechoslovakia being an independent(~ish) Warsaw pact nation as has already been pointed out. Some with long enough memories and /or historical knowledge might recall the whole “Prague spring” episode of the Cold War.

    (See : for the wiki-basics.)

  6. Divizna says

    You have it wrong too. The Czech Republic was NEVER a part of the USSR. In middle ages, there was a Czech kingdom. Later, it became part of Austria / Austria-Hungary. Since 1918, Czechoslovakia. 1939 to 1945, occupied by Germany (Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren). 1945 to 1992, Czechoslovakia again. Since the 1st of January 1993, the Czech Republic.

  7. left0ver1under says

    Sadly, ignorance of geography is not a rare event. I met one American who confused Austria and Australia (re: Jorg Haider), and met others who didn’t know New Mexico was a US state.

    And let’s not forget Shrill O’Reilly (“can’t explain tides!”) getting “pwned” by Jessica Alba (“be Sweden about it”, she said).

  8. Ulysses says

    I met one American who confused Austria and Australia

    Those two are easy to confuse. It’s the kangaroos living in the Alps which contribute to the difficulty.

  9. danielroseman says

    Oh dear, Avicenna. This is pretty unforgiveable.

    The Czech republic was never in the USSR. It was, along with Slovakia, part of a combined country called Czechosolovakia, which was part of the Eastern Bloc of states that were aligned with – and whose governmental policy was dictated by – the USSR.

  10. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ danielroseman : I wouldn’t call it “unforgivable” myself. Hell, there are that many hundred nations on the globe with many convoluted changing and confusing names and histories that its really pretty understandable if somewhat embarrassing.

    I believe there’s an internet law where any comment that points out a spelling error will have an error of its own. (Forgotten the name right now but pretty sure that’s right, no?) Guess this post by Avicenna is its geohistorical equivalent?

    It is a bit humbling and hopefully thought provoking for Avicenna though. Be careful before accusing others of ignorance if you’re not 100% certain of the facts (& facts behind the facts!) yourself. There are alot of places on the globe and confusing places and speaking without knowing or thinking of all the facts is, well, very all too easy.

  11. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    (Continued) .. to do.

    @12. Ulysses :

    “I met one American who confused Austria and Australia.” – left0ver1under

    Those two are easy to confuse. It’s the kangaroos living in the Alps which contribute to the difficulty.

    Wow. Global Overheating has gotten a lot worse than I’d realised!

    Oh well, at least there are no Drop Bears in Austria yet!

  12. says

    Sigh… I must point out that I have lived in Prague for 4 years prior to moving to India and I am well aware of the history of the Czech Republic. I have however tried to make a joke about leaving “Russia” rather geographic veracity.

    I would have made a joke about beer, becherovka and slivovice but I fear “Czechs drink a lot” is a stereotype that’s been beaten to death.

  13. otranreg says

    Avicenna, you dispense with geographic veracity to make a joke about people who have issues with geographic veracity.

    I’m sorry, even having lived in Prague will not unfaux the pas.

  14. says

    I dispensed with Geographic veracity to make a joke in the same way that horses walk into bars to order drinks dispense with Reality.

  15. otranreg says

    There’s a problem though: it is (so it seems) a joke about people who make mistakes about a geographic detail that proceeds to make another mistake about a geographic detail.

    Of course your thought can be seen here — yes, both places experienced some sort of secession with the dissolution of the Soviet Union (for different, and hardly comparable reasons, though). Right wording might have saved the joke. :)

  16. Divizna says

    Avicenna, having lived somewhere for 4 years and never having bothered to learn some basic facts about the country’s recent history makes it worse, not better. (No, I don’t believe you’re “well aware” of it, if you said what you said. Or if it even were an attempt to a joke, it would be a very lame one.)
    Or, if you wanted to make it about geography only and leave history aside, you could point out that while Chechnya is in Caucasus close to the Caspian sea and neighbours Georgia, the Czech Republic lies in central Europe next to Germany or Poland (hopefully some Americans have heard of those at least).
    Or did you actually mean to say “whatever, there’s no difference worth noticing between the two”? You rather sound like it.

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