1: УРОК 10
ГЕОГРАФИЧЕСКИЕ НАЗВАНИЯ В РОССИИ
Geographical names in Russia and the former Soviet Union have undergone numerous changes over the last century. You may need some background to follow what the speakers have to say.
Санкт-Петербург is the original and current name of the city on the Neva. In a show of patriotism in World War I, Czar Nicholas II had the city renamed to the more Russian sounding Петроград. Between 1924 and 1991, the former Russian capital bore the name Ленинград. Today some older Rusians still say Ленинград. And nearly everyone uses the colloquial Питер.
Former Soviet republics. Nearly all the Soviet republics and their main cities had Russianized names, which are still in common use today inside Russia. However, the old Russianized names have an air of polical incorrectness. Among these are
Беларусь (fem.: в Белоруси) –
Алматы (former capital of Казахстан)–
Finally, most Russians inside Russia say на Украине. But is politically correct is в Украине. This has to do with the name of the country itself. Край means 'edge'. The use of на makes it sound like Ukraine is some sort of territory off to the side of the “main” country.