Kiev or Kyiv? The Homes of Dynamo

Within a week of Russia’s latest strategic adventure into its neighbor the western media had started to call the Ukrainian capital ‘Kyiv’.

Strange as I always regarded it as Kiev?

The reason behind was a media campaign to exclusively use Kyiv (a name derived from the Ukrainian-language ‘Київ’) instead of Kiev (which is derived from the Russian-language ‘Киев’).

What is certain is that many legendary playing names all ring true when mention is made of Dynamo Kiev.

The Ukrainian capital of Kiev this is a city rich in historical sites where museums, cathedrals and the beauty of public parks partner a range of modern buildings that includes the redeveloped Olimpiyskiy stadium.

Kiev or Kyiv is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe and the original area surrounding it (Kyivan Rus) is said to have been at the root of the religious and cultural foundations for the modern Ukraine.

In 1775 Kiev was annexed by the Russian Empire – territorial squabbles back in the 18th century were the norm even back then.

The city remained under Russian rule, with only brief but uncertain periods of independence, before the Soviet Union took ownership after the revolution.

In the centuries since Kiev and the wider Ukraine has experienced various levels of growing Russification and Russian immigration with large areas in the east known for the Russian language and ethnic Russian feeling.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kiev became the capital of an independent Ukraine.

Due to its huge geographic spread it is a nation still discovering its place between east and western Europe as a unified if fragmenting nation.

Territorial integrity between east and west underpins the whole current conflict.

Dynamo Kiev or Dynamo Kyiv?

The inaugural match of Dynamo Kiev was played on June 17th 1928 against Dynamo Odessa.

Soon friendly matches started against the big Russian clubs of the time and the club contested the first USSR Supreme League.

The great periods of dominance came during the 1970’s and 1980’s thanks to the work of  the Valery Lobanovsky.  

With his unique brand of highly scientific management and excessive disciplinarian coaching, under his care Dynamo won the Soviet championship in 1974. 

Soon they would consolidate a place in the eyes of the west with a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup win over Ferencvaros and a UEFA Super Cup defeat of Bayern Munich. By then Oleg Blokhin was known for his goalscoring heroics and in 1975 he was named European Footballer of the Year.

Post iron curtain Dynamo Kiev established themselves as the clear domestic power and a Champions League force by clinching nine Ukraine Vyscha Liga titles.  Eye catching performances of the young academy graduate Andriy Shevchenko came to the note of AC Milan.

With its distinctive traditional emblem of the white uppercase ‘D’ inside a blue rhombus, Dynamo have recently been dethroned in the Ukraine by the power and wealth of Shakhtar Donetsk a club now effectively in a no mans land.

Based in a city no longer part of Ukraine in the eyes of some – with a modern stadium the Donbass that has not seen football since 2014.

Valeriy Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium

Set amongst a hillside park between the river and the Komsomol Square, there is a special place which combines the historical landscapes and special architectural features of Kiev. The Valeriy Lobanovskyi Stadium is the historic home of Dynamo Kiev.

At the beginning of the 20th century this area of land was originally a fruit and vegetable patch which supplied the Baroque royal residence of the Mariyinskyi Palace.  A football stadium was opened in 1934 and in 2014 street battles occurred here as part of the Euromaiden revolution – the forerunner to the conflict we see today.

The stadium became the home arena for Dynamo and matches occurred here in both the Soviet Union championship and the Ukrainian league.

During the Second World War the stadium was destroyed and Dynamo played many matches at the Republican Olympiyskyi Stadium. From 1962 the stadium was named after Nikita Khrushchev but then renamed the Central Stadium after his downfall as communist leader.

Although the Dynamo Stadium was rebuilt in 1956 it was at the larger Central Stadium that Dynamo played most of its most significant football fixtures. Here, huge crowds of 70,000 could watch some of the greatest sides of the Soviet era.


Beats the flame of passion and stirs the blood!

Since the end of the communist era the Dynamo Stadium has been rebuilt for football purposes only.

Plastic seating was introduced with new administrative offices, meanwhile player memorials and fitness facilities have been added.  The stadium infrastructure is open yet remains grand with classical soviet entry columns, huge floodlight pylons and open banked terraces.

After the death of the legendary coach Valeriy Lobanovskyi in May 2002 the main shareholders of Dynamo Kiev decided to name the stadium after its greatest ever figure.  Its hard to walk anywhere near the stadium without an image of the great Ukrainian coach being visible.

Today, Dynamo Kiev plays nearly all its home matches at the Olympic Stadium complex a venue rebuilt for Euro 2012.

UEFA competition matches are played in Poland or Hungary and this will be the case for as long as the conflict in the eastern lands continue

You can see some of our images of the old and new stadiums of Dynamo here.