Magazine December 31, 2019, Issue

Ukraine and Us

In the center of Ukraine’s capital (Jay Nordlinger)
A report from an anxious capital


Like you, perhaps, I grew up with “Kiev” — as in “chicken Kiev” and “The Great Gate of Kiev.” Here in the city itself, they want “Kyiv.” Why? Fussiness? An urge to be newfangled? No. “Kiev” derives from the Russian, and “Kyiv” from the Ukrainian. “Kyiv” is an expression, or an acknowledgement, of Ukrainian independence and nationhood.

“The,” too, is problematic — as in “the Ukraine.” That phrase suggests a region, not a nation. The first time I heard “Ukraine,” without a “the,” was in the mid 1980s. Robert Conquest, the great historian, had come to campus to talk about the

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