Ukraine has offered to change the alphabet: what’s the matter

В Украине предлагают поменять алфавит: в чем дело

Ukrainian intellectuals and officials to discuss the transition from Cyrillic to Latin. Seriously talking about it after the decision of Kazakhstan to abandon the Cyrillic alphabet. What are the pros and cons of a possible transition – versed OBOZREVATEL.


  • Several former Soviet countries have switched to the Latin alphabet. Think about it in Ukraine;
  • One of the main advantages of this idea – Ukraine will become a cultured and philological closer to Europe;
  • Main disadvantages: cost, volume, unpopular.


Among the main advantages of a possible transition to the Latin alphabet – the proximity to European countries. It is the basis of writing most of the EU countries, including those that belong to the group of Romanic-Germanic languages. In the case of transition, communication between Ukraine and other countries will become easier.

Besides, Ukraine has already made attempts to go to Latin. So, in the first half of the 19th century Ukrainian ethnographer Joseph Lozinski published an article “the introduction of the Polish alphabet in Russian (Ukrainian) literature.” Since then among the Ukrainian intelligentsia there is a debate around the possible changing of the alphabet.


They can be reduced to a few basic:

These are very expensive. If Ukraine decides to go to Latin, then change the documentation, maps, signs and so on will leave millions of hryvnias

“This is an incredible amount of work. Given that we have in the country of 40 million population, and there are many laws that need to be translated, the names, documents and institutions. I can appreciate the amount of work approximately 3-4 billion dollars. And the amount of work for five years, not less,” said blogger Yury gudymenko.

The majority of Ukrainians will not accept this idea, at least not immediately

“We have no such tradition. Second, we must understand that the emphasis now needs to go to the quality of training of the future generation, therefore any transition to the Latin alphabet should be of high quality… And we now have enough problems, we must ensure that our children are learning at least 3 languages: their native state and one of the languages of the European Union. Our nation needs to be educated,” – said the head of the Committee on education, the people’s Deputy from Blok Petro Poroshenko Alexander Spivakovsky.

It is difficult and voluminous. Given the bilingualism of Ukrainians, the transition to the Latin alphabet can cause a negative reaction among the population.

Why is the question relevant?

In Ukraine, spoke about the possible transition to the Latin alphabet after similar initiatives in Kazakhstan. The President of the country Nursultan Nazarbayev in October 2017 signed a policy to completely abandon the Cyrillic alphabet. The full transition will be completed until 2025, however, the government incrementally translates educational institutions and also government agencies to the new alphabet.

Besides, in 1990-ies moved to Latin Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The idea with the transition of the Ukrainian language in another alphabet and the Minister of foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin. In March 2018 in his Facebook politician suggested to make a topic for public discussion.

“In a friendly, historian and journalist from Poland Ziemowit szczerek asked why would Ukraine not to introduce the Cyrillic alphabet along with Latin. Our goal is the formation of the Ukrainian political nation, so we should work on what unites us rather than divides us. On the other hand, why not debate?” – wrote Klimkin.