There Weren’t any Ukrainians Before the Break up of Austria in 1918

Let me continue the topic [see here] of Ukrainians not existing before the Great War. I have recently uploaded a short video featuring an unknown, West Ukrainian, elderly gentleman, which I titled in Russian There weren’t any Ukrainian under the Kaiser (the Austrian Emperor). Let’s check out the contents, here is a transcript.

The interviewer:

Tell us, during the Austrian rule, did your parents consider themselves to be Ukrainians?

The interviewee:

We Ukrainians did not exist back then during the Austrian rule. Back then, the official nomenclature was “Ruthenians”, and otherwise the name was “Rusyns”. And we all called each other “Rusyns”. And only after 1918, when Austria broke up, we began calling ourselves Ukrainians. Until then it was considered that we were all Rusyns.

Bathory under Pskov. Antonio Possevino in black.

Rusyny or Rusyns, as I anglicise it, is a term that means a man of Rus’, a Russian. Before suffering a rebranding in the twentieth century, the ancestors of the Ukrainians were known as Rusyns in what is now Western Ukraine, and as Malorossy (Little Russians) in Ukraine proper. To my knowledge, the first person that suggested there is a separate ethnic identity called Ukrainians was, to my knowledge, the historian, Nikolay (Ukrainian: Mykola) Kostomarov, who wrote the essay Две русския народности (two Russian ethnicities). The term was used in the early modern period to denote the Polish gentry (I may be descended of those according to a family legend) and Cossacks in Central Dnieper area. A video on my channel by Mikhail Onufrienko says that the Poles began referring to the entire area of South-Western Rus’ as “Ukraine” (borderland) at the suggestion of Papal Legate, Antonio Possevino, to divide the lands of Rus’. However, this was not accepted by the people.

The Readers should know that in the nineteenth century, the area known as Ukraine was much more limited and there did not exist an ethnicity called Ukrainians. Also, when Taras Shevchenko mentions Ukraine in his poems, it is the Ukraine you see above that he mentions.

The most important point to take away from this is that Ukraine is an ahistorical entity. Ukraine’s statehood begins in the time of the Great War, 1917 more precisely, when the first entity named Ukraine was formed, following the February Revolution. Ukraine’s legitimacy is based on a peasant vernacular codified into the Ukrainian language, a mixture of Polish and Old Russian, and perhaps some historical geography, where the Ukrainian nation is said to live in the territories that belonged to Poland before the division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the late eighteenth century + areas settled by the Russian Empire in nineteenth century along the Black Sea coast with populations originating from these formerly Polish territories. The detail one needs to remember is that the peasant vernacular was never the language of the cities. Cities in the East and South of Ukraine were established by the Russian tsars and were consequently Russian speaking, and cities in the West of Ukraine were Polish speaking. Lvov was a Polish city until World War II.

The latter is where the stereotype of Ukrainian being a language of country bumpkins comes from. The Svidomite Ukrainians find this offensive, and another thing they find offensive is their old ethnonym “Maloross”, Little or Lesser Russian. They show their rural ignorance here as well because Maloross was an ecclesiastical designation. In the Greek understanding, Little referred to Greece Proper and Greater to the colonies. In Poland, the Greater Poland meant the center, and Lesser Poland meant the province. The only reason why the Ukrainian nationalists chose the name Ukraine for the new nation they sought to create is that it lacks any connection to Russia. However once they severed the connection to Russia, they need a new narrative to explain their existence. Let’s see how they cope?

As a trained historian, I would suggest to them to explore the linguistic origins of the Ukrainian language, and tie its origins to the history of occupation of Western Russia by foreigners. Then continue with a discussion of the Ukrainian movement in the nineteenth and twentieth century, what motivated it, what were the ideas surrounding it? The ethnogenesis of Ukrainians is hiding in these processes. But that is not what the Svidomites are doing. Instead they lie to children:

Rus-Ukraine the first Ukrainian state

They lie to children about the Old Rus’ being the first Ukrainian state, and they included Staraya Ladoga and Novgorod in it. What they do not realise that the Old Rus’ has its origins in the north, around Staraya Ladoga, and it was began by Swedish Vikings called Varangians in the east. The Primary Chronicle of Nestor tells us that these Vikings were invited by the Slavic tribes in the south, therefore Rus’ originated in the north and came to the territory of contemporary Ukraine from the north, not the other way around. The christianiser of Rus’, St. Vladimir, spent youth in Norway, and then came to Kiev from Novgorod. The Svidomite mythologisers create a fictitious called Rus’-Ukraine. Old Rus’ was really one of the first state formations on the territory of Ukraine (although that was only the Central and Western Ukraine of today, the Black Sea coast was controlled by Kipchak nomads) but it was not a Ukrainian state. Was it a Russian state? Yes, and the Russian Federation is its direct descendant, while the Ukraine is a mutinous province without historical statehood to derive its origins from.

Recently Alexey Arestovych suggested Ukraine rename itself into Rus-Ukraine, or Ukraina-Rus. To which Volodymyr Vyatrovych replied that putting Rus with Ukraine would just come out to foreigners as Ukraine and Russia. That is because Rus is Russia, and Ukraine is part of Russia. The debate on whether Ukraine is Russia or not are still raging today.

To illustrate how much the Ukrainian officialdom is in the grips of myths and lies about history, check out this initiative by the Lvov and Kiev city councils. Not so long ago, they decided to rename the Russian Federation into Moscovia, believing that Peter the Great renamed Moscovia into Russian Empire in 1721. What actually happened in 1721 is that Peter the Great assumed the title of All-Russian Emperor, and thus the Russian Empire was born. Previously, Russia’s rulers held the title Tsar of All Russia, and before that Grand Duke of All Russia.

Moscovia, from which comes the English word, Muscovy, was a designation employed particularly in Poland and Lithuania that ruled over part of Russia, and laid claim to the entirety of Russia. The Kiev and Lvov representatives must think that if Ukraine was unfortunately named by the Poles, then Greater Russia, or what is now the Russian Federation must suffer the same kind of rebranding.

To wrap up, every Ukrainian is at the same time a Russian because his ancestors were Russians. Ukrainians are defined purely on their language, which is a local patois of Old Russian and Polish. Maybe this is why the government there is so hostile against the Russian language.