Thursday, May 1, 2014

WaPo: From Luhansk To Lugansk And Back Again

I guess few here are interessted in this, but I cannot resist noting the weird gyrations of spelling of urban names in Ukraine going on at the Washington Post.  I note first that they consistently use the Russian-favored spelling of the national capital, Kiev (rather than Kyiv), while they consistently use the Ukrainian-favored spelling for the name of the second largest city in the nation (is it still a nation?), Kharkiv (rather than Kharkov).  But they are gyrating on this other city near the Russian border, east of Donetsk, with its major public buildings under the control of pro-Russian separatists, without any other cities in its oblast under such control.

So, prior to the recent uprsisings, WaPo had been using the Ukrainian-preferred spelling: Luhansk.  Then fairly recently as I noted in a previous post they suddenly switched to the Russian-preferred spelling: Lugansk.  Yesterday in their main article on the region, they were openly schizophrenic, with a photograph labeled using the Russian-preferred spelling, with the text having reverted to the Ukrainian-preferred spelling.  Today, there were several articles, and all have reverted to Luhansk, the Ukrainian-preferred spelling.  I do not know who is making these decision or on what grounds, but I confess that I feel their pain.

3 comments: said...

A peculiar possible outcome given the way things are going is that Kharkiv and Luhansk may well end up Russian-controlled de facto, if not de jure, while having the western media spelling their names in the Ukrainian way, while the capital of the remaining Ukraine, Kiev, will have its name spelled in the Russian way.

Bruce Webb said...

Barkley I swear to God (or Russian 'Bog') that I found at least one Western news site using 'Kyiv'. But on a Google search could not replicate it. On the other hand, and in a striking reminder that Irony is NEVER dead the fourth return from Google on a 'kyiv' search was this:

"Insideout" indeed. said...

There are pro-Ukrainian blogs and sites that use "Kyiv." It is a dead giveaway that that the site is pro-Ukrainian, just as any site using "Kharkov" is a dead giveaway that it is pro-Russian.