But the swapping of a single letter in this case has political echoes and underscores an increasingly fractious divide between ethnic Russians and Ukrainians who live together in the same country.
The Russian spelling is Kiev. Ukrainians prefer Kyiv. Shortly after the country gained independence in 1991, it asked the rest of the world to go with the Y spelling. The US State Department (and the CIA), along with the United Nations, among others, have adopted the change. Most Western news organizations have not.
The issue is fairly sensitive. Many Ukrainians have lingering bad memories of the times when their lives were controlled by Moscow (the Monitor recently explored this here). That’s one reason why Ukrainians bristle a bit when Westerners describe their country as “the” Ukraine, as if it were still a territory. Kyiv/Kiev is a bit more subtle of a difference, but it’s rooted in the same desire by Ukrainians to be recognized as an independent country with a language and culture that are similar, but not identical, to Russia’s.
We applaud Christian Science Monitor’s efforts to use the correct spelling and while it will continue to add the Russian spelling in paranthesis’ the publication made the change due to reader feedback – viewers like you! It goes to show you that we can make headway correcting these newspapers, it only takes one click to their ‘Contact us’ page.