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 Definition Capital and largest city of Ukraine, located along the Dnieper River, with an estimated population of 2.8 million people. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Geography and History [Editors asked to check categories]
 Talk Archive 1  English language variant British English

The "Kyiv" versus "Kiev" naming controversy continues on Wikipedia, where I have posted some entries (as Wikipedia user:shmorhay) to one particular page there --

   Wikipedia Kyiv vs. Kiev talk page

While I am Ukrainian-American, my area of expertise is in computer technology, not Eastern European affairs, so I would be very grateful if someone with recognized expertise in this area could tackle this issue. I will defer to the rulings of the more knowledgeable, but some "adult supervision" on this topic is definitely required.

-- Bohdan Shmorhay

Well, I for one love good Chicken Kiev (not the awful frozen stuff), so I would hate to see it renamed Chicken Kyiv.... On the other hand, Peking Duck has not been renamed Beijing Duck in Chinese restaurants as far as I know.... Hayford Peirce 18:51, 9 August 2007 (CDT)
It turns out that the name Chicken Kiev itself has an interesting cultural history, and even political ramifications --
Wikipedia's Chicken Kiev article
As you can well imagine, Ukrainian-Americans were not pleased by Bush senior's "Chicken Kiev" speech, and saw it as an American presidential directive to "keep to your place, and don't make trouble for your overlords":
Text of Bush Sr. Chicken Kiev speech
The critical lines were: "Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny [based in Moscow] with a local despotism [based in Kyiv]. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred."
Oddly enough, that was one recipe my mom never made, although we all managed to gain lots of weight from her other stuff.
And needless to say, none of us never considered voting for a Bush.
-- Bohdan Shmorhay
I voted, very reluctantly, for Bush in '88, but certainly not in '92. I do remember the Chicken Kiev speech and thought at the time that it was a strange aberration for someone who, up till then, had been pretty good on foreign policy. As for making chicken kiev, no wonder your Mom never did -- it's a fairly difficult, and quite tricky, dish to make successfully. I've done it maybe 10 times in 30 years. Unlike a lot of wonderful dishes, where it's just as easy to make it for 8 people as for 4, Kiev doubles the work for each additional person. There are shortcuts, but they're not going to taste as good. Hayford Peirce 23:04, 9 August 2007 (CDT)

The name "Kiev" has a long history and many associations. And most Americans would spell it this way. But what is your opinion on switching over to a new spelling (Kyiv), the way we have switched over to Beijing from Peking, and Mumbai from Bombay? There are lots of discussions going on about this on Wikipedia currently, some rather heated --

What are your thoughts on this? -- Bohdan Shmorhay

Let's not repeat the long discussion. I'll make a decision, if no editor shows up to do so. I think it depends on what is most in use in the English language among informed English speakers, e.g., Eastern European journalists and Slavic Studies scholars. If that means "Kiev," then that is what we will use; it's very simple. --Larry Sanger 12:13, 10 August 2007 (CDT)

That works for me -- here are some links to various Ukrainian Studies university departments and organizations:

You will find them unanimous in support of the "Kyiv" spelling. Much thanks! -- Bohdan Shmorhay

I had to do due diligence completely waste my time by checking this out. I used Google "search this site" to find number of uses of each word:

  • Harvard: kyiv 127; kiev 41
  • Toronto: kyiv 67; kiev 16
  • Alberta: kyiv 7; kiev 0
  • Ency. of Uk.: kyiv 718; kiev 15
  • AAUS: kyiv "about 500"; kiev 225
  • CFUS: kyiv 3; kiev 1

But then I decided to dig a little deeper, and the following makes me wonder if this is a biased sample:

--Larry Sanger 23:06, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Well, it is biased in that these are very specifically Ukrainian Studies departments, as opposed to Russian/Slavic/Soviet Studies departments, or simply educational institutions in general. Depends on what you consider more canonical.

Here is a list of official government references for using the more recent (more modern) "Kyiv" spelling:

All of these entities except the (more conservative) British are now using the Ukraine-government-preferred "Kyiv" spelling.

(See also the Ukrainian Weekly news article on Ukrainian transliteration.)

A useful interim policy might be -- always use a conjoined form such as "Kyiv (Kiev)" or "Kiev (Kyiv)" for all occurrences. This is what I prefer personally when sending email to friends -- it is a bit more typing, but it seems to educate rather than confuse. This would honestly reflect the ambiguity -- similar to your conflation of 'due-diligence/time-waste' above -- alas yes, both are true.

-- Bohdan Shmorhay

Well, I propose the following solution. You are probably the only person on CZ right now who cares or knows anything about this. The matter of assessing majority usage is clearly complicated, but it looks like a plausible case can be made that the majority of the people who are most expert--namely, Ukraine scholars and residents--prefer this spelling. I personally would have no problem with you simply redirecting Kiev to Kyiv. Kyiv (Kiev) is not necessary, I think. --Larry Sanger 23:37, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

All content above was moved from Talk:Kiev to Talk:Kyiv on 16-Aug-2007 13:00 PDT by Bohdan Shmorhay

Agreed -- thanks! I will work with the Geography Workgroup to make sure we have a consistent system for Ukrainian (and possibly also Eastern European) geographic name spelling and gazetteers. This turns out to be a major headache, and is the reason I began to study this topic in the first place, to help others with genealogy research. It can quickly turn into a nightmare, so at a minimun I plan to construct a gazetteer of oblast (province) and city names for Ukraine as soon as I dig out the information from the UCSD library. Standardizing on location names will be key to subsequent entries for history, linguistics, and economics. -- Bo Shmorhay

As useful background information, following is an email reply from Professor Ihor Steblsky, who responded when I polled various Ukrainian Studies departments in the US and Canada --

"Bo Shmorhay" (by way of "Marko R. Stech" ) 10/08/2007 10:24 AM To [and many others] Subject Your Ukrainian Studies expertise is urgently needed at


Would anyone from the Ukrainian Studies Department be able to publicly clarify the correct spelling of the name of the capital city of Ukraine as "Kyiv" versus "Kiev"?  

There is currently quite a flame war going on at Wikipedia regarding the correct spelling of the name for Ukraine's capital city, so I have started equivalent articles at

<   [see the articles and talk pages for Kyiv and Ukraine]

which is just like Wikipedia, but uses subject-matter experts working under their real names as authors and editors instead of random and anonymous amateurs."  .... my further explanation of Citizendium, and the process for contributing then followed .. but here now is Professor Stebelsky's reply to my naming information request --

"Original Message On 9/11/2007 17:36 wrote:

Dear Bohdan,

Thank you for this letter. I have been away and preoccupied with other issues, so my response is tardy. As you know, I served as the Geography editor of the Encyclopedia of Ukraine as well as the Ukraine editor of the Columbia Geographical Gazetteer of the World. I may be of some help in explaining the issue at hand.

Kyiv is the officially sanctioned (by the Ukrainian government) spelling of the Ukrainian name of the Ukrainian capital city in English. Other versions may also be encountered in English, such as Kyyiv (which is a transliteration from the Ukrainian using the US Board on Geographic Names transliteration system).

Kiev is a common rendition in the English language, which derives from the Russian version of the city's name. Like it or not, old usage dies hard. Unfortunately, it still persists in style sheets of various publications, such as that of the Globe and Mail (Toronto) or the Economist (UK). I have done battle with both, but to no avail. Perhaps one day they will see the light, as have some other, more forward-looking publications, such as the National Post (Toronto).

Hope this helps,

Ihor Stebelsky

Professor Emeritus "

I consider Professor Stebelsky's response to be cogent and definitive -- it would be difficult to find anyone else as abundantly qualified on the subject of Ukrainian geographic names.

-- Bo Shmorhay


Still called Kiev as far as I can see. Ro Thorpe 00:34, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. If no-one objects, shall we move it in 24h? Also there are a lot of .ru urls on the project that have long since 'died'. I'm going to go through them all and find replacements and/or delete. Meg Ireland 03:35, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
If you decide not to do this after all, please create redirects at Kiev and Talk:Kiev. I have had to delete these because the original move was achieved by copying-and-pasting, leaving behind an edit history which would have blocked a move back. The old Talk page, which is mostly duplicated here, I have moved to an archive. John Stephenson 12:31, 3 March 2014 (UTC)