Once there was Rus (about 9-15 centuries). Then there are different historical moments, different countries. And finally Ukraine, Belorussia, Rossia (17 century) (and maybe more that related to historical territory), not RUssia, but ROssia appeared. And in general, the Russians pronounce their country as RAssia.

In theory, Russians (from Rus, not rossians) can be called both Ukrainians and Belarusians. But that country (Rus, not Rossia) has long been gone (does not exist). And there are some historical disputes or inaccuracies about the Rossians' affiliation to Rus.

It is perhaps important to note that when Ukraine and Belarus left the USSR, Rossia's (17) relationship with Rus (9-15) became questionable.

Why has historically the name of Russia in English notRusskoje tsarstvo later changed with the creation of a new country to ROssia or RAssia?

And yes, the letters u, a, o in the words Russia, Rassia, Rossia were intentionally changedRossiyskoye tsarstvo.

Please refrain from politics. I am interested inWhy is the historical direction.

I apologize immediately for my English. I am a native speaker of the Ukrainian language. If you see a mistake in the words, please let me know about it.


In my question, I did not focus on stress, I want to pay attention of using symbol "o" instead of symbol "u" in the name of the country.

For Ukrainians and Belarussians (those who still speak Belarusian), this symbol (u or o) indicates two different countries. And I'm curious why this name change has not historically affected the name of the country in English.


It just seems that in English there is a country of Rus (Russia, why not Rossia), which has "Russia" not existed for about three centuries.spelled "Rossia"?


Someone hacked my account and made changes "edited Dec 26 '19 at 20:38."

I will try to expand my question.

I'm sorry, for some reason I didn't see the conversation in the chat. And I can't write there anymore.

I noticed that in our history, country Tsardom of Russia is called as Moscovian tsarstvo. That is different names. No connection with Rus in this period. It's interesting maybe someone will.

For me, it's definitely interesting. This is the difference that can show the reasons if I can find something. And maybe you will suggest something.

I am not a professional historian. For me, it's just a hobby. As a spend 30 minutes a day to relax from everyday worries.


It seems that I was denied help here. I'll look for it myself. Thanks to everyone who tried. And once again I pay attention that I speak not about how the name of the country is spoken, and about a difference in the name of the country after creation of new.

I will not delete the question, maybe someone will be found. Thank you.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 18:33
  • Incidentally, I just had a Russian speaker correct my transcription of the phrase "stavaytye" to "stovaytye". But I listened to the audio many times and, while the Russian vowel system may call that an o, in English we would not spell it that way -- in part because it's harder to intuitively reduce it (correctly) to a mid vowel. In fact, it may be having some knowledge of foreign phonology in general that interferes with the intended reading: if I see an o in an obviously foreign word, I as an English speaker am very likely to read /o(w)/, even if it should be an unrounded mid or something. Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 3:21
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    It is spelled via "u" in most European languages, not only in English.
    – Anixx
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 9:21
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    Languages are frequently stubborn, illogical and, in many cases, resist changes, in particular, when this concerns names of other countries. Consider the fact that "Germany/Германия/L'Allemagne" are names that three languages use for the country, called "Deutschland" by its habitants. These names for Deutschland can be traced to the Roman period (about 2000 years ago) and are inconsistent with what Germans call their own country. All in all, I think your question is more appropriate for english.stackexchange.com. But, most likely, you will get an answer similar to my comment. Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 16:47
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Germany is an interesting summary of the names of Germany in various countries, with a map. Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


And in general, the Russians pronounce their country as RAssia.

This is true, but (unlike English) they put the stress on the second syllable, so the first vowel becomes a schwa-like sound. 'rasSIa' would be a better representation for those of us (myself included) who don't regular use IPA.

English is a rather unique language in many senses, one of them being that all vowels can reduce to a schwa. In this case, the u. Also, what @Spencer says: "Why do you expect anything about English spelling to make sense?"

  • I would argue, that this is not true. In the word "RAssia" in English the "A" would sound like in "Ramsey" etc. If one wanted to closely mimic the pronunciation it should be something like "Russeeya"
    – d.k
    Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 20:35
  • That's the point, they're not calling it RAssia, but rasSIa.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 20:36
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    Is that "RA" as in "RAn", "RAmen" or "RAke"? But in any case, note that a description for English speakers on how to pronounce "Rossiya" gives ruh-syee-yuh .
    – user15620
    Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 0:54
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    Also, what @Spencer says: "Why do you expect anything about English spelling to make sense?" - this is a myth. Very few English words have illogical spellings. It just seems that way because most of the 'culprits' are among the most commonly used words, and because unusual patterns tend to stand out / be more noticed. Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 1:09
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    Not sure any English feature is the reason. We have Russland, Rusko, Russie. Spellings with o or a do exist, but they are the minority. Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 8:50

What you have here is one instance of a larger question: why do English speakers (and I presume speakers of other languages*) often use different names for foreign countries than the inhabitants of those countries do? For instance: Spain/España, Germany/Deutschland, Finland/Suomi, Japan/Nihon…

"Russia" is in fact exactly how (most) English speakers pronounce the name of the country.

  • Just for curiosity, what do Russians call England?
  • I'd suggest "Germany/Deutschland"; and to kill your cat: either Англия (Anglija) or a fitting poison from Британские острова for the greater conundrum… Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 20:20
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    @andriyivanchenko The Danes did more or less wipe England off the map at one point. (The great heathen army didn't quite manage it, but Cnut sort of did.) And England's capital is no longer Winchester. :)
    – C Monsour
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 17:40
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    That's just the point. Go to 'the continent' and ask a Dutch, French or German person what that thing in uniform colour across a few islands is named, and Angleterre, Engeland or England is given, just as Holland is often given out pars pro toto for The Netherlands. There are mainly historical contingencies coming out on top, then sometimes political meaning is added (like in Thatcher case) or Germans using German names for cities West but no longer much for cities East of current borders. Given the Bloodlands nature of Q, that loading seems goal? Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 17:52
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    It may hover somewhere in between Servia/Serbia, Kitai/China, cha/te, Burma/Myanmar, Cheb/Eger. I guess we see that in comments about Belarus and the insistence that Ukraininan is a distinct language (sth my linguistics prof would nail your feet to the ground for) Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 17:55
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    Ukraine is situated in "Bloodlands" and as a young and artificial entity that strives for a nationalist definition of itself (is it partly settled with Russians, partly Russian itself etc). The Russian Wikipedia entry on etymology notes the distinction in Russian language that shines through in this question — one distinction hardly anyone else makes. -> From a nationalist interpretation it may look like 'the West' spells Russia to mean Uk is part of it? Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 8:36

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