According to the Wikipedia article Name of Ukraine, Ukrainians prefer the English term to be "Ukraine" rather than "the Ukraine".

Do any governments, such as Russia, or other political groups want Ukraine to still be called "the Ukraine" in English, akin to the Gdansk/Danzig dispute on the English language Wikipedia?

  • 2
    In German it is called "die Ukraine", even though most countries are refereed to without an article. In French, articles are used or not depending on the grammatical context just like every country. I am afraid it's more a language quesiton than a political one. Also, Gdańsk and Danzig have always been the respectively Polish and German names for that city, back then when it was ~94% German and still now that it is 100% Polish. The city didn't have "it's name changed", contrary to what you might think at 1st approach, it just had it's country changed.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 25, 2016 at 8:35
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    However it is true that today Gdańsk is usually refered to the outside world (except German speaking word) by it's Polish Name, and before 1945 it was referred to by it's German name. What I meant is that Germans and Poles never changed the name they use to they refer to the city.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 25, 2016 at 8:37
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    @Bregalad: German uses the article with country names when they don’t have neutral grammatical gender (or are plural). So it’s der Iran, der Tschad, die Schweiz, die Slowakei, die Ukraine, die Vereinigten Staaten, die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate. (Sometimes there are regional/dialectal/individual differences, e.g. Iran is sometimes considered neutral.)
    – chirlu
    Mar 10, 2018 at 14:22
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    Apparently I would love to listen people calling "India" as "The India".
    – user17709
    Mar 12, 2018 at 16:31
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    Not sure if it is political and not english language question May 23, 2018 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


There can be multiple answers on this question.

Official position of Ukraine is: "Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America". Other official entities follow the same pattern.

Here's how "The Telegraph" puts it:

7. It’s not The Ukraine

The English-speaking world commonly referred to the country as The Ukraine. That is, until independence in 1991 when the West gradually dropped the definite article. In 1993 the Ukranian government requested that the country be called just Ukraine. US ambassador William Taylor, who knew that addition of the “the” was considered insulting by some Ukrainians, said it implied a disregard for the country’s sovereignty.

Average people in Ukraine. Unfortunately, there is no preference among Ukrainians. The main reason is probably due to the fact that many of us don't speak English well enough to see any difference on using the definite article with toponyms. Sad but true.

The level of foreign language competency in Russia is not better than in Ukraine (to say the least), so I don't think there are big enough communities there who would advocate using or omitting "the" when calling other states.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian language has articles at all.

However, calling Ukraine by Russians has yet another notable issue.
In both Russian and Ukrainian languages, there are two ways to tell location: "in" and "on". According to grammar rules, "in" is used for state names, while "on" is for landmarks, territories, islands, etc. For example, "on Ural", "on the river(-side)", "on the North".

A vivid example: "on Cuba" means "island", while "in Cuba" means the name of the country. However, quite often they use "on" even in this case.

Russians tend to call countries that they have occupied or plan to occupy like they were lands, not countries. So the Russian government tends to say, "on Ukraine", not "in Ukraine".

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    "в Кубе" is totally wrong. And besides, it coincides with the math term.
    – Anixx
    Apr 25, 2016 at 20:56
  • @Anixx Say what?
    – cpast
    Apr 25, 2016 at 21:36
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    @Anixx - "V Kubinskoy respublike" :)
    – user4012
    Apr 26, 2016 at 0:41
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    Lol, what? The "в" and "на" preposition cannot be translated as "in" and "on" directly. We say "на Украине" but this must be translated as "in Ukraine". May 17, 2016 at 6:11
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    "Russians tend to call countries that they have occupied or plan to occupy like they were lands, not countries" - if that would be true, then constructions like "на Польше" (occupied in the end of XIX century, so at least that period's literature would have it like that), "на Якутии" or "на Сибири" would be valid, but that's not the case, unless you would argue all of those are sovereign states now (or were in that period of occupation, in case of Poland or Finland, for example). Only the regions with geographical designations are called ike that (the North, the Far East...). Jul 18, 2018 at 4:49

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