Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has drawn the world’s interest to this region of eastern Europe. But a lot of very well-informed and well-educated people still refer to the country the wrong way.
OK…so what is it? Ukraine or The Ukraine?
The correct way to refer to the country is Ukraine.
But does it matter if I call it the Ukraine instead?
Yes, it does.
The term “The Ukraine” originated in the Soviet-era, when Russians referred to that area of the Soviet Union (a popular vacation spot by the way) as “the Ukraine”.
But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Ukraine became its own independent state. It no longer wanted to be controlled by the Soviet Union, Russia or anyone else for that matter. And the independent nation wanted to be known as Ukraine.
Calling Ukraine – “the Ukraine” harkens not-so-positive Soviet memories for Ukrainians. And given Russia’s recent propensity to interfere in Ukraine – militarily, economically and diplomatically – it’s easy to see why Ukrainians don’t want their country to be referred to as “the Ukraine” anymore.