Kyiv, not Kiev
Ukraine’s capital has been living under two names in English since independence — Kiev and Kyiv.
Kyiv is getting more popular as Ukrainians shake off the legacies of their country’s colonial past under Soviet and tsarist rule. International recognition of the Kyiv spelling is now being championed by the Foreign Ministry in a new campaign with the #KyivnotKiev hashtag, started on Oct. 2, which asks foreign media to switch to the Ukrainian-style spelling of the capital city’s name.
The message is clear — although the capital has been known as Kiev for centuries, the spelling has always been connected to the Russian language. Russian domination needs to stop in all areas. The same request comes for the spellings of such cities as Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa and Dnipro.
The ministry points to a resolution adopted at the 10th United Nation Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names in 2012. It recommends using the Ukrainian system for transliterating Ukrainian Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet.
The campaign won’t change people's minds overnight, but awareness is growing. News outlets run stories on the meaning of two names. The Kyiv Post switched to its current name in 1997.
The Kyiv transliteration may be unfamiliar to some, but it is a more faithful representation of the Ukrainian pronunciation, which in the International Phonetic Alphabet is [ ].
And Ukrainians aren’t asking English speakers to pronounce the city’s name perfectly — just to spell it properly.