Dear New York Times,
Do you see any difference between The Nueva York Times and The New York Times?
It’s the same as the difference between Kiev and Kyiv.
Correct transliteration of Ukrainian geographic names doesn’t make a lot of difference to the average Joe. But to thousands of your readers — readers of Ukrainian heritage in America, Canada, Britain and Australia — it does.
The governments of these countries have already switched from the Russian (Soviet) transliteration to the Ukrainian (post-Soviet) transliteration. This trend reflects a UN policy that promotes indigenous geographic names.
Your articles largely rely on the Ukrainian (post-Soviet) transliteration: Lviv (not Lvov), Ternopil (not Ternopol), Kharkiv (not Kharkov), etc. Kiev is the notable exception.
According to legend, Kyiv (key-eve) derives its name from Kyi, one of its founders. Now that you have switched from Bombay to Mumbai, from Calcutta to Kolkata, and from Kishinev to Chisinau, why haven’t you switched from Kiev to Kyiv? The Christian Science Monitor already has, along with Facebook and Twitter.
It’s a question of goodwill. One of your recent op-eds, “The Difficulty of Being Ukraine,” praises freedom and then deliberately parades the Russian transliteration of Ukrainian cities. You don’t praise freedom by rubbing the legacy of Russification into Ukraine’s wounds.
We Ukrainians deserve freedom no less than Indians and Moldovans do. If you respect our freedom as much as you respect the freedom of Indians and Moldovans, make that change. Make it K-Y-I-V.
Taras, KYIV, Ukraine
The Make it K-Y-I-V! petition to The New York Times was written by Taras and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.