Kyiv, not Kiev

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

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.

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