Seriously? You take your time out of your life explaining the meaning of the word "the" in "The Ukraine"? You must live a lonely life.
When it symbolizes the systematic massacre of about 7 million people, the subjugation of a nation for most of the 20th Century, and policies that led to the worst environmental disaster in history (Chernobyl) yes, I do take time out of my life to explain the meaning of the word "the." Perhaps you think Jews are too sensitive about that Holocaust thing too?
And, no, I'm not lonely at all. I just happen to have Ukrainian friends and I have seen first-hand the devastation that Soviet policies had on the nation and its people.
If "The Ukraine" was some area during the time of the USSR then they should have chosen a new name, at least for English speakers, when the country separated. It makes Ukraine sound like plane or plain and both of those are words with which you use "the."
I am embarrassed for you. Sure, after gaining independence following centuries of struggle against foreign domination they should have renamed their country so it wouldn't confuse English speakers. After all, the world revolves around us, right? Oh, and perhaps we should tell other countries they ought to change their name too – The Uganda, The Spain, The Mexico, The Ecuador, The Italy...
I said I wasn't going to beat this horse any more, but some of these comments are too ignorant.