Capital of Ukraine: Why should you say Kyiv and not Kyiv – and it’s because of Putin | World | News
Ukraine is going through a terrifying crisis. With Russian troops on its doorstep, this Eastern European democracy is desperately trying to defend its sovereignty. As Ukraine attempts to tear itself away from Russian influence, it has never been more important to refer to the capital as Kyiv, not Kyiv. Here’s why spelling matters.
“Kiev” is the official Latin transliteration of the name of the capital in the Ukrainian language.
“Kiev” derives from the Russian way of pronouncing the name of the city.
Vladimir Putin continued to push the Russian spelling and pronunciation of the Ukrainian capital, despite Ukraine’s attempts to revert to its original spelling.
Until recently, the international community widely used the spelling “Kiev”, but with around 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, the country’s independence is under threat.
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He said native Ukrainians stress the first vowel. The “i” is pronounced the same as the “i” in “kid” or “lid”.
Mr Shevchuk added that the second vowel is pronounced as a separate syllable and sounds like the “ee” sound in “keel”.
And the v is also pronounced like the end of the word “bas”.
In comparison, Russian ‘Kiev’ is pronounced like Kee-ef
Increasingly, Western media are adopting “Kiev”, derived from the Ukrainian language, as the official spelling of the country’s capital.
The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Telegraph and BBC have all dropped the Russian-origin “Kiev” in solidarity with Ukraine’s desire to let go of the Russian influence that still grips their country.
But that’s not a recent revelation – in the 1990s Ukrainian authorities tried to adopt “Kiev” as the correct spelling for their capital, reports Atlantic Council.
This was done in light of a broader drive to assert a Ukrainian identity after the country broke away from the Soviet Union.
Ukraine became an independent state in 1991 and has since attempted to reverse the so-called “Russification” of its country.
Ukraine has long been under the influence of Russia.
Under the Russian Empire and later under the Soviet state, the use of the Ukrainian language in the press was often banned and the words changed to firm up Russian linguistic and political positions in the country.
Since the Ukrainian authorities became independent, the Ukrainian authorities tried to change the names of other places with their original names, but this did not meet with much success.
Outside of diplomatic protocol, the international community has paid little heed to Ukraine’s desire to reclaim its identity by restoring place names to their original Ukrainian spellings.
This means that the better known “Kiev” has remained largely blocked.
When Russia backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and aggressively annexed Crimea in 2014, a new offer was made to try to permanently change the spelling of the capital.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has launched a social media campaign to try to achieve this.
The campaign called on social media users to use the hashtags #CorrectUA and #KyivNotKiev and asked international media to switch from “Kiev” to “Kyiv”.
Fortunately, people are increasingly aware of the meaning of this spelling and are abandoning Russian “Kiev” out of respect for Ukrainians.