The world’s largest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has changed its spelling of Ukraine’s capital from Kiev to Kyiv, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba announced on Sept. 18.
This change is important because Wikipedia is the fifth-most visited website in the world and many international media, civic organizations and companies refer to it when they write about Kyiv.
Although the first article about Ukraine’s capital appeared on English-language Wikipedia in 2002, it spelled the name of the city incorrectly. Wikipedia used the Russian transliteration “Kiev,” rather than Ukrainian “Kyiv.”
Wikipedia couldn’t change the mistake earlier because it just displayed the spelling that is most popular among prestigious international media outlets, the Ukrainian representative office of Wikipedia said.
Now the encyclopedia spells Kyiv correctly but also gives the older spelling and explains why it is wrong to use it.
According to Kuleba, Wikipedia was one of the last “fortified bastions” that has joined a ‘Kyiv not Kiev’ wave.
The world’s most prestigious media, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Guardian, New York Times and BBC, have already made the switch.
In 2018, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry launched a social media campaign encouraging journalists and publishers to change their spelling of Kyiv.
The hashtag #KyivnotKiev has gone viral, and numerous airports and companies have shifted to “Kyiv.”
Many Ukrainians have welcomed the change. They don’t like the Russian transliteration because it is outdated and associated with the time when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, rather than an independent country.
Watch the Kyiv Post’s video: Kyiv, Not Kiev. Why Ukrainians care so much about their capital’s spelling.
Other changes, however, are still underway: Ukraine is asking international media to use the Ukrainian names of cities like Kharkiv, Odesa, Mykolaiv and Lviv and to refer to the country as “Ukraine,” rather than “the Ukraine.”
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