To: Editor of The Economist
25 St James’s Street
London SW1A 1HG
Fax: +44 20 7839 4092
I would like to bring your attention to the fact that your paper constantly refers to the capital of Ukraine as Kiev. For several reasons provided below, name Kyiv should be used instead.
Whenever you arrive to Kyiv Boryspil International, you will never miss four big shining letters KYIV on the top of the airport building. When you drive further towards the city, you will be greeted by the board “Kyiv welcomes you” on the side of the speedway. You may think these changes occurred after the Orange Revolution. Let me reassure you that this was already the case in earlier nineties and long time before it.
Ukrainian Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, through many of its Commissions allows only one spelling, Kyiv [ http://www.rada.gov.ua/translit ]. Probably, the most important argument is the Constitution of Ukraine, which clearly states that “The capital of Ukraine is the City of Kyiv” [Article 20, http://www.rada.gov.ua/const/conengl.htm ].
Even your style guide insists on the modern spelling “… But follow local practice when a country expressly changes its name, or the names of rivers, towns, etc, within it. Thus Almaty not Alma Ata; …”. You prefer to write Moldova, Belarus, Chisinau instead of Soviet era names Moldavia, Byelorussia, Kishenev, saying nothing about Myanmar versus Burma and Beijing versus Peking.
I wonder why you drop Kyiv out of this list? You wrongly make an impression on many of your readers who actually have visited Ukraine that your journalists are not particularly aware of what is going on in the country.
I would like to use this opportunity and welcome you to visit our capital and see it for yourself. The face of Kyiv changes every day, except for its name.