Embassy of Ukraine in Ireland

Kyiv 06:06

Open Letter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

04 October 2018, 08:10

Official guidance on the correct spelling and usage of Ukrainian place names

Dear Sir / Madam,

In accordance with the 10th United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, we politely request all countries and organisations to review and where necessary, amend their usage of outdated, Soviet-era placenames when referring to Ukraine.

Ukraine has been an independent sovereign nation for more than 27 years but the Soviet-era versions of many geographic names stubbornly persist in international practice. The transliterations of the names of cities, regions and rivers from the Cyrillic alphabet into Latin are often mistakenly based on the Russian form of the name, not the Ukrainian; the most misspelled names are:

Archaic Soviet-era spelling

Correct modern spelling

‘the Ukraine’

Ukraine

Kiev

Kyiv

Lvov

Lviv

Odessa

Odesa

Kharkov

Kharkiv

Nikolaev

Mykolaiv

Rovno

Rivne

Ternopol

Ternopil

Under the Russian empire and later the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Russification was actively used as a tool to extinguish each constituent country’s national identity, culture and language. In light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, including its illegal occupation of Crimea, we are once again experiencing Russification as a tactic that attempts to destabilize and delegitimize our country. You will appreciate, we hope, how the use of Soviet-era placenames – rooted in the Russian language – is especially painful and unacceptable to the people of Ukraine.

To help avoid these mistakes, we refer you to p.27 of the Resolution X/9. Romanization of Ukrainian geographical namesadopted by the 10th UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, which recommends the “Romanization system in Ukraine” as the international system for the transliterations of Ukrainian geographical names.

To better inform the international community about the correct forms of Ukrainian placenames and to avoid mistakes, we are launching the campaign:  #CorrectUA.

Your support in helping to ensure that the correct, internationally agreed placenames for Ukraine are adopted in your organization is greatly appreciated.

 

 _________________________________________________

Ukrainian standardization of geographical names.

The  Law of Ukraine On Geographical Names of 31 May 2005 provides the legal framework for use of geographical names, in particular: establishment of names for geographical objects; standardization, filing, registration, use, and preservation of geographical names.

By Resolution No 55 “On Normalization of Transliteration of the Ukrainian Alphabet by Means of the Latin Alphabet” of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of January 27, 2010 the Table of transliteration of the Ukrainian Alphabet by Means of the Latin Alphabet was approved.

As a result of the adoption of this Resolution Ukrainian proper names are rendered by means of the Latin alphabet in accordance with unified rules of transliteration in official documents, in cartographic editions, on signs of populated places, streets, metro stations, stops, etc.

Ukraine presented the Table of transliteration of the Ukrainian Alphabet by Means of the Latin Alphabet, officially approved and widely used on the national level, for international approval.

The Pronunciation of Ukrainian Geographical Names Table and rules give an idea about the relationship between letters and sounds in Ukrainian and Spelling rules for the Ukrainian Geographical Names provide basic rules that you can use to spell it correctly.

In the List of the units of administrative and territorial division of Ukraine and their capitals you will find the place names and geographical terms that have been transcribed for you correctly already. There is no reason to keep using the incorrect ones.

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