Is it really allowed to write the word ‘russia’ with a lower case letter in Ukraine?
“In Ukraine, it is officially allowed to write the word ‘russia’ with a lower case letter.” Such headlines can even be found in prominent Ukrainian media outlets. At times, we can see it in international media, “Ukraine officially allowed to write ‘Russia’ and ‘Moscow’ in small letters.”
It was difficult for us to draw a definitive conclusion in this matter. However, we have decided to call it a form of manipulation.
Firstly, the lowercase spelling of the name of the aggressor country applies exclusively to UNOFFICIAL texts.
Secondly, no explicit permission has been granted. The National Commission on State Language Standards merely deliberated on this issue during a meeting and subsequently announced that henceforth, this spelling would not be considered an error.
“In light of the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people for the independence of the Ukrainian state [...], the lowercase spelling of names such as ‘russian federation,’ ‘russia,’ ‘moscow,’ ‘muscovy,’ ‘moscow kingdom,’ ‘russian empire,’ ‘state duma of the russian federation,’ etc., in unofficial texts cannot be considered a departure from the norms of the Ukrainian language,” stated the Commission.
This is logical. Just stop and think about it. Who can prohibit us from informally writing the word “russia” with a lowercase letter? No one. So, no official permission is required. Linguists are simply documenting the natural evolution of the Ukrainian language and have not introduced any spelling changes.
Politicians, in turn, seized the opportunity to gain visibility on this matter. Notably, the Commission’s meeting was in response to a social media appeal made by Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine.
Previously, the Ministry of Education and Science issued a directive stating that the phrase “russian federation” be capitalized in documents concerning the education of Ukrainian children abroad.
The head of the ministry, Oksen Lisovyi, shared on his Facebook page that while he personally considers capitalizing “rf” to be a mistake, he is compelled to follow this convention due to regulatory requirements.
“Without this correction, the Ministry of Justice would not have registered our directive outlining the specifics of education for Ukrainian schoolchildren currently residing abroad,” Oksen explained