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Where does the name "Ukraine" come from?

Actually, there is no unambiguous answer to this question. Many scholars worldwide have long pondered the question. According to the version adhered to by the Russian empire and also within Ukraine when it was a republic within the Soviet Union, the name "Ukraine" originates from the word "okraina" meaning "borderland". This version was even put forward by Soviet officials during the lighter moments of top-level international negotiations.

The very word "Ukraine", however, is much older than Russia itself. It was first used in the 12th century chronicles when the powerful Kyivan Rus state stretched over the territories of modern Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Belorus and the Baltics. Impressive as that might sound, the name is said to appear even earlier. It's roots can be found in the modern Ukrainian language, which still retains the word "ukraity" meaning "to mark out". Scholars who adhere to this school of thought maintain that in ancient times "Ukraine" simply meant "the land singled out for us by God".