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Say it right -- Russian and Ukrainian proper nouns

For reporters and commentators

Pronunciation of Russian and Ukrainian names of individual persons, places, weapon systems, and organizations



Russian and Ukrainian proper nouns: Say it right

The news stories on TV, radio, and social media videos often include the names of political leaders and other personalities as well as towns, rivers, weapon systems, and acronyms of organizations. English-speaking anchors and other "talking heads" frequently put stress on wrong syllables, making the used proper nouns sometimes unrecognizable.

This phenomenon became common during the last several years, with Russian and Ukrainian proper nouns populating news stories on U.S.-Russia tensions and especially on a major European war.

This web site lists below approximate pronunciations, particularly standard stress, of Russian and Ukrainian proper nouns. Stressed syllables are capitalized. (Note that different syllable breakdowns are occasionally acceptable.)

I included similar pronunciation aids as appendixes in a couple of my books. The readers found them very helpful.

If you need help in pronouncing a proper noun not on the list below, please email me (mikeg at usc dot edu) the word of interest and I will add it to the list.


Bakhmut   –   BAKH-mut or bakh-MUT

Baturina, Elena   –   ba-TU-ri-na, ye-LE-na

Belgorod   –   BEL-go-rod

Bortnikov, Alexander   –   BORT-ni-kov, Alexander

Budanov, Kyrylo   –   bu-DA-nov, ky-RY-lo

Bulava   –   bu-la-VA

Buryatia   –   bu-RYA-ti-ya

Chernihiv   –   cher-NI-hiv

Dnipro   –   dni-PRO

Dnipropetrovsk   –   dni-pro-pet-ROVSK

Donetsk   –   do-NETSK

Gerasimov, Valery (Valerii)   –   ge-RA-si-mov, va-LE-rii (va-LE-rii)

Girkin, Igor   –   GIR-kin, I-gor'

Hromov, Oleksii   –   HRO-mov, o-LEK-sii

Iskander   –   is-kan-DER

Kadyrov, Ramzan   –   ka-DY-rov, ram-ZAN

Kakhovka   –   ka-KHOV-ka

Kharkiv   –   KHAR-kiv

Kherson   –   kher-SON

Kinzhal   –   kin-ZHAL

Kramatorsk   –   kra-ma-TORSK

Krasukha   –   kra-SU-kha

Luhansk   –   lu-HANSK

Malyar, Hanna   –   MA-lyar, HAN-na

Mariupol   –   ma-ri-U-pol

Medvedev, Dmitry   –   med-VE-dev, DMI-trii

Murmansk   –   MUR-mansk

Patrushev, Nikolai   –   PAT-ru-shev, ni-ko-LAI

Peskov, Dmitry   –   pes-KOV, DMI-trii

Prigozhin, Yevgeny   –   pri-GO-zhin, yev-GE-nii

Podolyak, Mykhailo   –   po-do-LYAK, my-KHAI-lo

Poltava   –   pol-TA-va

Putin, Vladimir   –   PU-tin, vla-DI-mir

Reznikov, Oleksii   –   REZ-ni-kov, o-lek-SII

Rosatom   –   ros-A-tom

Rostov   –   ros-TOV

Sevastopol   –   se-vas-TO-pol

Shoigu, Sergei   –   shoi-GU, ser-GUEI

Surovikin, Sergei   –   su-ro-VI-kin, ser-GEI

Valdai   –   val-DAI

Voronezh   –   vo-RO-nezh

Yermak, Andriy   –   yer-MAK, an-DRIY

Zaluzhnyi, Valerii   –   za-LUZH-nyi, va-LE-rii

Zaporizhzhia (Zaporizhia)   –   za-po-RIZH-zhia (za-po-RI-zhia)

Zelensky, Volodymyr   –   ze-LEN-sky, vo-lo-DY-myr

Zhytomyr   –   zhy-TO-myr


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