Kiev vs. Kyiv…

February 17, 2010


Ukraine to borrow abroad to pay for April T-bills

KIEV, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Ukraine will try to borrow abroad soon in order to meet a hefty bill for domestic debt due in April, deputy finance minister Andriy Kravets said on Monday, indicating however that the loan would be not be public.

An observation, not a question. Will you please stop spelling Kyiv by the old transliteration from Russian.

Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine, not Russian.

The National Geographic and US State Department switched well over a year ago to the proper spelling of my nation’s capital — Kyiv.


We try to communicate with readers using geographic names they commonly understand.

Changes in our style do occur, but the timing is always a judgment call. It’s difficult to know precisely when Peking becomes Beijing, Burma becomes Myanmar, Cambodia becomes Kampuchea and then Cambodia again.

Kiev is not the Russian spelling. It is the commonly accepted English language spelling of the name.

We are not writing in Ukrainian, we are writing in English, so we use commonly understood English names for cities – hence Munich rather than Muenchen, Cologne not Koeln, Rome not Roma, etc.

We don’t follow the U.S. State Department as a style guide. I would point out that I believe the AP, AFP and BBC all still use Kiev, as well: GBU Editor

An animal rights activist with her face painted in red, depicting blood, takes part in a protest outside the venue of the Fur and Leather collection exhibition and trade fair in Kiev, February 12, 2010. REUTERS/Vladimir Sindeyev

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One comment

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I think your reply to the above comment is rather rude. A very sensitive history follows the issue of spelling Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv. After being under Russia and Soviet Union for such a long time, we, Ukrainian citizens, are extremely happy to finally be our own bosses. That is why we try to get rid of the negative sentiments left behind from the Russian rule such as the russified spelling of Kyiv as Kiev. The new spelling correctly reflects the original pronunciation and as I mentioned above reflects nation’s independence. Let’s be honest. English speakers do not really care the way a foreign city is spelled, either way it can be understood. So why not respect the people who actually do care?

Posted by margaryta | Report as abusive