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BBC News - Ukraine or the Ukraine: Why do some country names have 'the'?
"'The Ukraine' is incorrect both grammatically and politically, says Oksana Kyzyma of the Embassy of Ukraine in London.
"'Ukraine is both the conventional short and long name of the country,' she says. 'This name is stated in the Ukrainian Declaration of Independence and Constitution.'
"The use of the article relates to the time before independence in 1991, when Ukraine was a republic of the Soviet Union known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, she says. Since then, it should be merely Ukraine."
tom_geoghegan  2012  2010s  ussr  independence  bbc  grammar  english  name  country  geography  history  reference  language  article  gambia  bahamas  congo  yemen  lebanon  sudan  netherlands  philippines  ukraine  the_hague  toponymy  the  21st_century 
june 2012 by cluebucket

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