Updated September 2020

The original request has been declined by a moderator arguing that:

And our current standard is to use Wikipedia for reference, which lists the city as Kiev currently. Once Wikipedia changes their mind we can change our tags as well.

Now that Wikipedia did change their mind, and the main article is Kyiv, it seems like a good time to keep a moderator's word and fulfill the request laid out in the title.


On Travel.SE, the main tag for the capital of Ukraine is , while is marked a synonym.

The main article on Wikipedia is Kyiv. Since other spellings still retain their historic value, they are preserved as synonyms.

As listed here,

  1. all major English publications that used their own stylebook have made updates to their styleguides and now use Kyiv spelling,
  2. all major English publications that use standard stylebooks (e.g., Associated Press Stylebook or Canadian Press Stylebook) are now following recent updates in those styleguides and are now using Kyiv,
  3. IATA has switched to Kyiv and therefore all international airports have updated their English spelling to Kyiv,
  4. BGN has switched to Kyiv and, therefore, all major geographical bodies followed suite and are now using Kyiv and, lastly,
  5. The Library of Congress has switched to Kyiv and, therefore, all major library organizations followed suite and are now using Kyiv.

The list goes on linking to about 20 public statements by major Air, News, and state organizations and agencies.

The #3 above seems the be the most relevant to the Travel site. IATA is the entity to regulate what spelling is used for airport names.

Suggested Solution

To keep this site on a par with the history,
To avoid any further confusion to travelers,
I suggest to swap the main tag and its synonym, making the main one.

  • 11
    How politically-motivated is this request? How useful will the modification actually be for the site? Is it an improvement? These are the criteria I would use before making this decision. In all honesty I don't know much about the political side, if any, hence why I am asking you.
    – JoErNanO Mod
    May 27, 2018 at 6:22
  • 1
  • 2
    @JoErNanO, it is motivated by the official spelling accepted by the United Nations (namely, UNGEGN). I was hoping that I point to this mistake, a Moderator would say "oh yes, fixed, thanks for noticing", and that's it. Instead, my request receives some strange resistance that I cannot explain. Frankly speaking, I see it very strange for some people to deliberately resist the UN ruling in this case, but follow the UN otherwise. Is there any particular reason to do so? May 27, 2018 at 12:49
  • 3
    @bytebuster The linked question has an accepted answer which says to use Kiev. What changed since then? Oh and we are not deliberately resisting anything. We are just discussing openly trying to figure out an optimal solution. That's what Meta is for.
    – JoErNanO Mod
    May 27, 2018 at 22:28
  • @JoErNanO, nothing has changed. The UN has adopted a single possible spelling. Here's what JonathanReez♦ commented about it (I've fixed the link): Since Stackexchange is an English-language website hosted in America, shouldn't we use whatever is the official name accepted by the US government? […] The Kiev/Kyiv question is clearly resolved on the embassy website, for example: usembassy.gov/ukraineJonathanReez♦ May 27, 2018 at 23:23
  • 4
    @bytebuster If nothing has changed and we're still using the Wikipedia standard then we'll stick with Kiev. Or did I misunderstand?
    – JoErNanO Mod
    May 28, 2018 at 13:05
  • @bytebuster the policy is to use Wikipedia. My comment was just one proposal on which standard to use.
    – JonathanReez Mod
    May 28, 2018 at 13:48
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    @JoErNanO, I have posted an answer to shed some light on why the Wikipedia, being open to all sorts of cyberterroristic attacks and infiltration, can not be considered a reliable reference for a serious site like the Stack Exchange is. May 28, 2018 at 15:14
  • Shades of Georgia and Macedonia.
    – choster
    May 29, 2018 at 23:09
  • Gdańsk style meta posts ought to be a meme of (meta) travel.se
    – Golden Cuy
    Jun 1, 2018 at 7:34
  • 1
    Can't you just make a new question (even if it is not allowed)? How can now a real voting of the community take place?
    – guest
    Sep 29, 2020 at 9:07
  • @guest, I don't think it's a good idea. Meta is also a Q&A site. No need for duplicates, they would be closed pointing to initial posts. Edited questions go up in site's questions list so they draw attention anyway. Sep 29, 2020 at 13:18
  • But how should all the upvoters go there and remove their votes? They might be inactive etc..
    – guest
    Sep 29, 2020 at 13:34
  • 2
    I agree with the OP -> we should update to Kyiv spelling. The whole world has already updated their spelling to Kyiv (even English Wikipedia in Sep 2020!)
    – piznajko
    Oct 11, 2020 at 18:54

6 Answers 6


The established standard is to follow Wikipedia's names; after more than 17 years of discussion and 13 years of failed proposals to resolve the matter, they have elected to go with Kyiv for the main article. They have also established that no proposal to revert the name or propose another alternative may be tendered until 16 September 2021.

The change of sentiment as noted in the revised proposal follows the decision of non-political authorities like the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and Library of Congress to prefer this spelling, as well as its adoption by major journalistic organizations including the BBC and the Associated Press, all in 2019.

Given all this, I am mollified that making the primary tag would be a minor but nevertheless real and practical improvement of the Stack, and see no reason why the standard naming policy should not be enforced.

This answer was accepted, but as of 2021-03-04 the primary tag is still at kiev; it's unclear to me whether a moderator attempted the rename but it did not succeed, whether the change requires staff intervention but staff were not notified, whether it requires staff intervention but staff have not executed the request, or whether it requires staff intervention but is stalled on account of a bug or system problem, or some other issue.


Update: renaming to Kyiv now that Wikipedia is updated

I am going to decline this request as Kiev is still a much more common spelling than Kyiv. Tags don't necessarily have to follow the official spelling of a given place.

And our current standard is to use Wikipedia for reference, which lists the city as Kiev currently. Once Wikipedia changes their mind we can change our tags as well.

  • 12
    I am very sorry to hear this from a person whose very home city throughout the centuries was known by its German name Prag in most European languages, and it changed only after the liberation in 1945. The very same happens to Kyiv today, "Kiev" is the occupant's name. May 26, 2018 at 13:45
  • 5
    @bytebuster it is still Prag in German and several other languages. And our goal here is to have useful tags, not to follow whatever are the current political trends.
    – JonathanReez Mod
    May 26, 2018 at 14:20
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    @JonathanReez Ukrainian language is not a current political trend. It is the official language of Ukraine and the capital of Ukraine is Kyiv. Kiev is the shadow of Soviet past, where Russian was the official language of USSR and toponyms were spelled in official language as well. Now Ukrainian is the official language and toponym spelling should follow official language.
    – Ivan
    May 27, 2018 at 11:13
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    @Ivan Russian is the mother language of the majority of people living in Kiev. And it doesn't even matter as we're talking about the English spelling here, not the Ukrainian one. Let's keep this site out of politics.
    – JonathanReez Mod
    May 27, 2018 at 22:15
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    @Ivan, we are not talking about the language dominance in Ukraine. Although your reasoning is probably true, it distracts other users who would think that the language my mother sang lullaby to me (surprise, it was russian) somehow impacts the naming of the tags at Travel.SE. It does not. The real thing is, there is only one ruling that says it is Kyiv according to English regulations, end of story. May 30, 2018 at 2:11
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    @bytebuster The government of Ukraine does not have the power to enforce "regulations" dictating popular English usage. (Nor does anyone else.) It sounds like you're looking for a prescriptive thumb on the scale, but this site is inherently descriptive.
    – Sneftel
    Jun 1, 2018 at 16:37
  • @bytebuster My point was not about language per se. I meant to say that during Soviet time Russian was dominant language and thus Kiev was the name of the capital officially recognized by UN. After independence (it took time though) UN recognized Kyiv as the name of the capital of Ukraine.
    – Ivan
    Jun 1, 2018 at 23:03
  • @Ivan On the Ukranian language version of any stack exchange website, the tag can be called Kyiv. But for the English speakers, Kiev is recognisable and Kyiv is at best hard to recognise, and at worst unintelligible gibberish. English has no standard, so the best we can do is use what is popular.
    – fabspro
    Jun 5, 2018 at 23:16
  • 5
    For now Wikipedia has Kyiv as standart. Sep 24, 2020 at 15:45
  • 2
    I would like to downvote this now but I don't have enough reputation.
    – guest
    Sep 29, 2020 at 21:04
  • 2
    it's Kyiv in Wikipedia now, would you change the tag now?
    – P. Vowk
    Oct 8, 2020 at 13:46
  • 1
    @P.Vowk sorry I missed your message! Its done now (might take a few hours to propagate)
    – JonathanReez Mod
    Mar 24, 2021 at 23:38
  • @JonathanReez thanks for your efforts!
    – P. Vowk
    Mar 25, 2021 at 8:35

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from

Personally, I cede to a country/city/region the right to dictate its name; that is, to choose how it is pronounced, and spelled, in its national language. I'm not sure I cede to anyone the right to determine how their name should be rendered, worldwide, in all the other languages of the world.

I do think it's important that, whatever we do, it not be arbitrary. I agree that the UN is one body who might set a standard, but there are others. Previously, the policy was to do what Wikipedia does, and contrary to the OP's view above, that is what we seem to be reliably doing.

So although I think we can re-examine the policy at any time, we do have one, and I don't think we should be making exceptions to it simply because people feel strongly about the particular case.

  • 2
    South Korea demands that the body of water to its east be known as the East Sea and a collection of micro-islands there be called Dokdo. Japan demands they be called the Sea of Japan.and Takeshima respectively. In both nations' eyes it is "their" land and water to name. And in the specific case here, historically, the city was split 50-50 with Russian and Ukrainian speakers. So to borrow a phrase, there's no "their" there.
    – choster
    May 29, 2018 at 23:05
  • @choster you forget about the vast Polish and Jewish population.
    – P. Vowk
    Dec 12, 2018 at 21:26

Here are the uses on some websites.

British Airways  : Kiev
Google Flights   : Kiev
Google Maps      :       Kyiv
Lufthansa        : Kiev
Skyscanner       : Kiev, Kyiv
Turkish Airlines : Kiev
Yandex.Maps      :       Kyiv

EDIT: I changed my opinion and now I'm totally neutral about OP's suggestion. Keeping the post just for the table above.

  • Ultimately, allowing one single country's government to dictate that the spelling is "Kyiv" is basically enforcing one country's propaganda. Your post is clearly demonstrating that Kiev is the usual spelling.
    – fabspro
    Jun 5, 2018 at 23:19
  • Again, the UN does not choose what "official" spelling is for anyone other than the UN.
    – choster
    Jun 14, 2018 at 23:29
  1. Stack Exchange doesn't seem allow for non-A-Z tags.
  2. If we'd do the same for Bangkok the tag would be, and I'm not joking: กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยามหาดิลก ภพนพรัตน์ ราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์ มหาสถาน อมรพิมาน อวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะ วิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์

I think we should keep using English names, like Gothenburg instead of Göteborg (which would be Goteborg...).

  • 2
    Sorry but you seem to have misread the question. I'm not advocating for a non-Latin tag. There are two Latin spellings for Kyiv, just like there are Bangkok and Khrungthep Mahanakhon. However the problem is about the origin of an incorrect one. Imagine if Thailand was under a foreign occupation and the occupant called it something like "Krongthap Mihinukurn". And this spelling became popular in English (because a foreigner would not care). And after the liberation you as a patriotic Thai citizen were advocating to revert it back to Khrungthep Mahanakhon. Dec 14, 2019 at 8:46
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    So, because Bangkok is incorrect we should always refer to that city as the native/official Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanu Kamprasit? Dec 14, 2019 at 18:22
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    Bangkok is not incorrect. Its history is described in many sources and its origin clearly has nothing to do with a foreign occupation. Please read the original question. It is neither about a non-Latin tag nor about an excessively long tag. This post is not answering the original question. Dec 14, 2019 at 19:31
  • 1
    Bangkok is the name foreigners gave Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanu Kamprasit. Dec 14, 2019 at 20:31
  • Or as many Thais call it: กรุงเทพมหานคร (Krungthep). That's actually pretty common, for example on license plates. Just like many call it The United Kingdom rather than it's full name The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
    – JJJ
    Sep 28, 2020 at 4:52

That people from a country should define how others should write city names rises bad memories of its abuse for political purposes.

There is the renaming of foreign cities to German ones after the invasion of Poland and Yugoslavia (Warschau, Danzig and Laibach) and the corresponding renaming of German cities to Polish names after the war with the rearranged borders (Ustka, Bydgoszcz). Another example is the renaming of South Tyrol cities to Italian ones (Bozen-> Bolzano, Meran->Merano). There are countless examples where the ruling power tries to eradicate old names, often with prohibition and suppression of a language. That only raises bad blood.

And there is also the problem of having a majority of local people which are in power and favor one spelling, but which governments are internationally not/only partially recognized for political reasons. There is Abkhazia, China (for over 20 years!), North Cyprus, Kosovo. So whatever you want to decide, there will be trouble whatever path is chosen.

For this reason we should use an independent source of spelling, Wikipedia is now favored by most (I fear it is too easy to tweak it with political power games because it is editable, but so it goes).

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