Ukrainian parliament mulls requiring officials to call the Russian state ‘Muscovy’

Map of Poland and Hungary by Sebastian Munster, 1550. The map shows "Russia" for Ukraine, "Russia Alba" for Belarus, while the Moscow Princedom is called "Moscovia." (Source: karty.by)

Map of Poland and Hungary by Sebastian Munster, 1550. The map shows "Russia" for Ukraine, "Russia Alba" for Belarus, while the Moscow Princedom is called "Moscovia." (Source: karty.by) 

2016/02/21 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia, Ukraine

Two deputies from the Radical Party, Andrey Lozovoy and Oksana Korchinskaya, introduced a bill in the Ukrainian parliament last summer that would prohibit all government agencies from calling the Russian Federation “Russia” and instead reintroduce “the historical term, ‘Muscovy.’” That measure is now being discussed.

On the one hand, this is little more than a response to Vladimir Putin’s repeated insistence that Ukrainians are not a separate nation and Ukraine is not a real state. But on the other, such a proposal, even if as seems likely it is not adopted, has potentially far-reaching consequences less for Ukraine than for some in the Moscow-centered state.

In their explanatory notes for the bill, the two deputies write that “the name ‘Rus’ and of ‘Russia’ which is its derivative’ are a generally accepted name of present-day Ukraine.”

“The territory of the present-day Russian Federation never until recent times was called by foreign sources and local residents either ‘Rus’ or ‘Russia,’” they continue. Instead, up through the 18th century, “Ukraine appeared under the name ‘Rus’ and its people, including the Cossacks, was called ‘Rusites’ or ‘Ruthenians.’”

The Ukrainian deputies’ action will give aid and comfort to those like Aleksey Shiropayev of Russia’s National Democratic Alliance who have argued consistently that Moscow “occupies” Russia and that the solution to Russia’s problems is the “de-muscovization” of the country.

For background on this trend in Russian thought and on some of its implications, see “To Escape Putinism, Russia Must Expunge Muscovy as Germany Did Prussia,” July 29, 2015; “For Russians, Ukraine is a South Korea to Russia’s North,” September 9, 2015; and “Muscovy Must Become a New Republic in Russia,” August 27, 2013.

Map of Poland and Hungary by Sebastian Munster, 1550. The map shows "Russia" for Ukraine, "Russia Alba" for Belarus, while the Moscow Princedom is called "Moscovia." (Source: karty.by)

Map of Poland and Hungary by Sebastian Munster, 1550. The map shows “Russia” for Ukraine, “Russia Alba” for Belarus, while the Moscow Princedom is called “Moscovia.” (Source: karty.by)

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dirk Smith

    Love it. Rightfully so.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    To me, Dwarfstan, or Karlikstan (Карликстан) seems more appropriate…….

  • Quartermaster

    History is such a nasty thing, is it not? The truth keeps drawing the noose tighter.

  • Turtler

    As someone who understands the history behind Moscow’s imperialism quite well for a layman and how the rulers of one city collaborated with the Mongols to bludgeon or crush their local rivals and gain strength until they could turn on their old masters….

    … I can’t support this bill.

    While it does make a useful point, FORCING people to refer to it as that is both unintuitive (we have been talking about “Russia” for nearly three centuries since Peter the Great, no matter how we feel about it a mandatory switch is awkward for many), and worse. Coercive.

    Can I point out the ugly fact that even Putin’s psychopathic tyranny does not require its’ thugs to refer to Ukraine by a specific name? Certainly ,ti requires them to do worse things, but not THAT.

    I can support a referendum or motion ENCOURAGING Ukrainian officials to use the term, but not one REQUIRING them to. Freedom starts at the base level.