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Russian historians preparing textbooks on “Novorossiya”

Russian historians preparing textbooks on “Novorossiya”

Russian academicians are promising to complete an edition of the “History of Novorossiya” by March 2015.

The Director of the Institute of Russian History, Yuri Petrov, made the announcement at a joint meeting of historians from the Russian Academy of Sciences with State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin , reports Ukrainska Pravda, August 26, citing ITAR-TASS.

“We have already formed a creative team, and we are ready to get to work and prepare a draft of the text by March or so, Petrov said. The volume is 60 printer’s sheets (more than a thousand pages).” The future book is included on the list of priority projects of the Russian Historical Society,

In July 2014, the Russian Academy of Sciences announced plans to write a history of “Novorossiya’ under the auspices of the Russian Historical Society. According to the academicians, the borders of the “Novorossiya” consist of the “mouth of  the Dniester River, the North Caucasus in the east, the present Luhansk and Kharkiv region in the north.

The Russian Historical Society was founded in 2012. It is headed by Sergey Naryshkin, who previously was chairman of the Historical Truth Commission, the presidential commission to counter “attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia.” The Board of Trustees is headed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is this organization that develops the “canonical” concept for the teaching of Russian history in secondary schools.

In June 2014, Putin instructed the Ministry of Education and the Historical Society to “adequately present the role of Crimea in Russia’s destiny” for the new Russian history curriculum in the schools. In July 2014, it was reported that the State Duma wants to change the official name of the southeast of Ukraine to  “Novorossiya.”

Novorossiya is an administrative term, introduced in the XVIII century by the imperial administration in St Petersburg, for the lands of the Zaporizhzhia (Cossack) Army and the Crimean Khanate. During tsarist times it was used as a political term.

The Novorossiya Gubernia (province) existed on Cossack and Tatar lands twice: during 1764-1783, with a center in Kremenchuk, and during 1796-1802, with a center in Novorossiysk (later moved to Katerynoslav, today’s Dnipropetrovsk).

In the XIX century, the gubernia was divided into three — Katerynoslavsk, Kherson, and Tavriya. Part of the territory of current Donbas (Luhansk, Donetsk, Artemivsk, Mariupol) belonged to the Katerynoslavsk Guberniya with a capital in today’s Dnipropetrovsk. Tahanroh and Rostov-on-Don also belonged to it (now in Russia).

The northern lands of today’s Donbas never belonged to “Novorossiya.” Sloviansk (previously Cossack fortress Tor), Kramatorsk, Starobilsk, Bilovodsk were part of Slobozhansk Ukraine (during the time of the Kharkiv Gubernia).

Gained as a result of wars with the Ottoman Empire, the lands of the Dyke Pole (Wild Steppe) from the Dniester River to Kuban were colonized primarily by Ukrainians.

According to Vladimir Kabuzan, the noted Russian researcher in historical demographics, Ukrainians made up 74%  of the population in the Kherson and Katerynoslavsk provinces in the mid-nineteenth century.


Pravda, translated by Anna Mostovych

Image credit: Ukraine Internet Portal. New Russia or Novorossiya c.1800

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