m. kiev

So Richard Holbrooke apparently has a new regular column with the post and has decided to write his first one about Ukraine and potential NATO membership following a presumed Yushenko win on the 26th.

His opening paragraph amused me:

KYIV, Ukraine -- The world still knows this city as Kiev, its name in Russian, but let this dateline and this column call the capital of Ukraine by its rightful name.

Look, Dick (and everyone else caught up in this Ukrainising of city names specifically Kiev), I'm not a fluent Russian or Ukrainian spaker by any means. But I do live in "Kyiv" and I can tell you that at least 80% of this city speaks Russian. I'm not saying that they're just capable of speaking Russian, I mean that 80% of the people in this city speak Russian at home, to each other, and to me. If anything, when I hear Ukrainian spoken in this city, I think it's kind of odd.

Granted, Russian is spoken here with a bit of a Ukrainian accent, but it's spoken here nonetheless. This in spite of the fact that every street sign, every billboard, and about 90% of TV programming is in Ukrainian (which makes it real fun to try to immerse yourself in Russian while learning it). Which leads me into a whole other meme that needs to be dispelled regarding the "orange revolution." I can't count the number of stories I've read that have portrayed the internal divisions in this country as the Ukrainian speaking west backing Yushenko vs. the Russian speaking east backing Yanukovich. Well, yes, that's partially true, except that it leaves out the predominantly Russian speaking center of the country that overwhelmingly backed Yushenko and also was the center of all the election fraud protests.