Why is it called THE Ukraine and not just Ukraine?

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The Ukraine picture

When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union (USSR), some Soviets referred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkSSR) as “the Ukraine.” However, since the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine has become a sovereign country and referring it to as “the Ukraine” is incorrect. Ukraine is the correct name of the country.

Ukraine’s name is thought to come from the Slavic word for borderland, so saying THE borderland makes sense. However, the use of the extra “the” irritates many Ukrainians because they think it makes them sound like they are a territory to another country and not a country themselves.

Many other countries are often referred to with the “the” article such as Congo, Netherlands, Philippines, etc. However, according to most sources, such as the CIA World Factbook and the US Department of State, only two countries should officially be referred to using the “the” article: The Bahamas and The Gambia.

INTERESTING FACTS
  1. Unlike in most countries, Ukrainians wear wedding rings on the right hand, not the left.
  2. The Chernobyl disaster took place in Ukraine, not Russia.
  3. The world’s longest musical instrument, the trembita, originated in Ukraine.
  4. The world’s first constitution was created in 1710 by Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk.
INTERESTING REFERENCES
  1. Time.com – Ukraine, Not the Ukraine: The Significance of Three Little Letters
  2. BBC.co.uk – Ukraine or the Ukraine: Why do some country names have ‘the’?
  3. TheFactLife.org – 40 Interesting Facts About Ukraine

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