On Kyiv/Kiev, Zelenskyy/Zelensky, and the Spelling of Ukrainian Names

In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Benjamin Dreyer writes about the various spellings of Ukrainian place names and personal names. “Kyiv” and “Zelenskyy” are transliterations of Ukrainian spellings, whereas “Kiev” and “Zelensky” represent Russian spellings. Adding the definite article before “Ukraine” evokes a colonial past, when the now-sovereign state was a territory. Dreyer writes, “Those of us who follow publishers’ usages and standards at least as much as we set them out will continue to watch the Zelensky(y) matter with interest — and will be reminded that words, even “the” small ones, even their smallest components, can carry a big meaning.”

Read more in The Washington Post.