In discussions on Anatoly Karlin’s blog, the commenter AP tries to argue that the modern states of Russian Federation and Ukraine have just as much relation to pre-modern entities like Rus’ as Romania has to Rome. I shall argue that Ukraine and Russia are far more interconnected than the Romance nations.
For starters, we need to understand what Ukraine is, and where it comes from. Ukraine is a state based upon the vernacular linguistic culture of Slobozhanshyna, Little Russia, Volhynia and Halychyna, going from East to West. This linguistic culture developed sometime after the destruction of the Kievan Rus’ by the Mongols, out of the communication between Eastern Slavic peasants and their Polish, and the increasingly polonised local rulers. To prove my point, consider the lexical closeness of Ukrainian to other languages. Ukrainian is closest to Belorussian, which developed through the same process as Ukrainian, then comes Polish, and after it comes Russian.
While being ruled by a Western power, and undergoing creolisation, the Ukrainian intellectual culture was expressed in Slavonic and Russian. Hardly anything was written in Ukrainian before the late 18th century (the language itself wasn’t referred to as Ukrainian until late 19th century). This Slavonic/Russian intellectual culture was the culture of cities, and the entire history of Ukrainainhood is the history of emancipation of local creolic peasants with the culture of the cities.
The Russian linguistic culture dominated the Ukrainian high culture landscape since literally the time of the Cossacks to our day. I have easily read the Cossack chronicles in their original back in university, and my Ukrainian skills weren’t that great back then. Luckily the language was not Ukrainian. This Russian culture gave the World “Mykola Hohol”, and would you look at this?! Vice published a map of the most favourite book by country. Ukraine is coloured by Death and the Pinguin, it is quite telling Vice didn’t mention a book originally written in the Ukrainian language.
Hence, saying that Rus’ has just as much relation to the Russian culture as Romania does to Rome does not fit the reality on the ground, where modern nations are still bound by the common legacy of Rus’ that is also the national culture of the Russian Federation, LNR and DNR. The effort of the vernacular culture to assert itself against the Common Russian culture are very cute, but they are wrong!
I am uncertain whether Ukraine will ever get rid of her attachment to the Eastern Slavic umma, as Mykola Riabchuk calls it. And I doubt the Russian culture will ever be completely purged from Ukraine. This process is unnatural and rather unachievable in the present conditions of globalisation and modern communications.
Let us hear what language the children of Ukraine speak?
Ladies and Gentlemen, new video on my channel: Mikhail Poroshenko, son of the president, drunk as a motherfucker. Listen to the language the kids speak, provided you know Russian and Ukrainian:
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And Ukraine will never fall very far from Russia.