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Spelling of city’s name…

November 29, 2011

Ukraine’s Tymoshenko charged with tax evasion

KIEV (Reuters) – Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, already sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of office, has been charged with tax evasion, theft and concealing foreign currency revenues, the State Tax Administration said on Friday.

Hi. I just wanted to let you know that the capital of Ukraine is misspelled in your article.

You refer to Ukraine’s capital city as ‘Kiev.’ I would like to point out that this is an obsolete version of the name, which was abandoned by Ukraine after its declaration of independence in 1991, and replaced by the name ‘Kyiv.’

There are many previous cases where countries have made a decision to change names, and the media have adapted.

For example, in 1996 India officially changed the name of the city Bombay to Mumbai. This is also the case with the capital of China, Beijing, formerly known as Peking, and the country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

So my question is: why should the name of Ukraine’s capital city be an exception?

I.T.

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

Changes in our style do occur, but the timing is always a judgment call.  To use your own examples, the switch to Mumbai, Beijing and Myanmar did not come quickly.

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.

Kiev is a commonly accepted English language spelling of the name. I believe the AP, AFP and BBC all still use Kiev, as well: GBU Editor

Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is seen through a prison window in Kiev November 4, 2011. Tymoshenko, in a dramatic plea from her prison cell, urged the European Union on Wednesday to go ahead with a planned association agreement with Ukraine regardless of her fate. REUTERS/Inna Sokolovska 

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