Ivan IV was the Grand Prince of the Duchy of Moscow who may have named himself the Tsar of all Russias, but a Tsar who had moments of insanity. In a fit of rage, he killed his son and could not believe nor undo what he had done.
One wonders whether Vladimir Putin will ever realise that Ukrainians are defending themselves? This invasion is madness so profound that Putin does not want other countries to help Ukraine. He will destroy Britain if Britain opposes him. He seems to believe that Ukraine is his possession and that he can do as he pleases …
That one man should be allowed to unleash such devastation as Ukraine is suffering makes no sense. Putin, and Putin alone, stands between war and peace. No one should be this powerful. Moreover, President Putin may no longer be completely aware of what he is doing. He may be ill. At any rate, he will not be brought to his senses.
Millions have left Ukraine, and thousands of lives have been lost, but, ironically, because the world knows Putin could use nuclear and chemical weapons, it is paralysed. Have we out-weaponed ourselves? An army! Give Ukraine a multinational army that will end this massacre. Ukraine must defend itself. I remember the Holocaust and pogroms.
I sound like a preacher and will, therefore, close this post. I apologise for not being an active blogger. I haven’t recovered. Ilya Repin (5 August [O.S. 24 July] 1844 – 29 September 1930) was a Ukrainian-born Russian artist.
Kievan Rus’ dates to the Rurik dynasty. Prince Rurik was a Varangian Viking who entered an East Slavic territory. He and his two brothers were asked to rule future Ukraine because of political strife. Prince Rurik’s brothers died, so Rurik alone founded Kievan Rus’, “a loose federation in Eastern Europe and Northern Europe” (see Kievan Rus’, Wikipedia).
The Primary Chronicle or Tale of Bygone Years (12th century) is a written history. Although it is not altogether accurate, it remains a precious document. For instance, it provides the name of a few Varangian Princes who ruled Kievan Rus’, an independent state. The first Varangian Prince is Prince Oleg (879–912), who protected Varangian traders from Khazar incursions.
Sviatoslav I (943–972), Grand Prince of Kiev was given a Slavic name. Prince Sviatoslav’s father, Igor of Kiev, was assassinated when Sviatoslav was a child. His mother, Olga of Kiev, avenged Igor’s death by burying Drevlians alive. They had come to fetch her believing she would marry a Drevlian ruler. Olga reigned until her son grew of age. Prince Sviatoslav moved his capital from Kiev to Pereyaslavets in current-day Romania. Prince Sviatoslav was a conqueror. Under his rule, Ukraine would grow to be the largest country in Europe.
Yet, although Ukraine did not gain its independence until the collapse of the USSR, the former Soviet Union, Ukraine is pushing back Vladimir Putin‘s forces so energetically that one expects Ukraine to survive. Nationhood is not always defined by borders. Ukraine is an ancient culture.
On Good Friday, I remembered the sayings of Jesus on the Cross. Regarding the objectionable invasion of Ukraine, the first saying would be the most important, but forgiving would be difficult: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do ( Luke 23:34).” One would like a multinational army to fight alongside Ukrainians and push out the Russians. Providing weapons seems insufficient. But would Vladimir Putin see intervention as other than humanitarian? At any rate, Putin is not at liberty to destroy a country. Will autocracies replace democracy?
I had to revise my post on the word Ruthenia. I am sure all of you realised that the exonym Ruthenia is derogatory. However, I forgot to include a quotation that clarifies that exonyms could be insensitive.
After the Battle of Batih (Batoh), on 3–4 June 1652, between 3,000 and 5,000 elite Polish soldiers and officers, including 3,500 members of the szlachta,were tied up and massacred in two days of methodical beheadings and disembowelments.
During the Cossack Hetmenate, Ukrainians exercised greater control over their country. Therefore, Bohdan Khmelnytsky is a hero to Ukrainians, but he could be ruthless. All of us are paying a price for the current war in Ukraine. Wars kill and they are costly. I read today that Russia opposed gifts of powerful weapons to Ukraine on the part of the United States. Does anyone expect Ukrainians not to defend their country?
Outsiders have often given Ukraine the name Ruthenia, which is confusing. Ruthenia is an exonym, a name for a place that is only used outside that place. But Ukraine, an endonym, is the name Ukrainians give their country.
Exonyms and Endonyms
There are exonyms and endonyms. According to Lexico, “many exonyms can be considered insensitive and preference is given to the endonym.”(See Exonym [other examples], inLexico). Ruthenia, an exonym, would mean a small Ukraine, which is insensitive. However, it has often been the meaning of the exonym Ruthenia, since the state of Kievan Rus’, today’s Ukraine, was founded in the 9th century by Varangians, Vikings from Sweden mainly. Kievan Rus’, was vandalized by Mongols in the 13th century. (See Mongol Invasion of Kievan Rus’, Wikipedia.) Since the Mongol Invasion, Ukraine has been under external control except for the years when it was a Cossack Hetmanate, from 1648 to 1764. Ivan Mazepa was the Cossack Hetman of Zaporizhian Host in 1687–1708. He died in Turkey, where he and Charles XII of Sweden had fled after their defeat at the Battle of Poltava (8 July 1709).
Ukraine has been independent since 1991, but Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014. The current war is a continuation of the annexation of Crimea.
In short, the Latin word Ruthenia reflects the foreign domination of Ukraine. The Russian army entered Ukraine in February 2022, when it was directed to do so by Vladimir Putin. President Putin may think that Russia will defeat Ukraine, but Ukraine will probably survive.
At a NATO-Russia summit in 2008, Vladimir Putin “told US President George W. Bush that ‘Ukraine is not even a state!'” while the following year Putin referred to Ukraine as “Little Russia.” (See Vladimir Putin, Wikipedia.)
Sweden’s defeat at Poltava was a turning point in the history of Europe. After the Battle of Poltava, Charles XII and Ivan Mazepa fled to Turkey for protection. Ivan Mazepa died in Turkey at the age of 70. In 1721, Sweden ceased to be an Empire, and Ukraine remained under Russian control until 1991, or the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Ukraine had also been autonomous for a few years after the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Under the control of Sweden, Ukrainians were likely to gain more independence and escape brutality. It did not during World War I (See Alchetron.com). Cruelty toward Ukrainians did not start with the current invasion of Ukraine. When Tsar Nicholas II ordered the quelling of riots at Odessa, it was a blood bath. But Ukraine always remained a nation. Many Ukrainians speak Russian, but they have retained their own language, and they are the Petits Russes who commandeered the Potemkin.
Ukraine has survived as a nation, so a nation is not necessarily a country. Ukraine did not have territorial integrity until 1991, but its territorial integrity is now threatened by Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Ukraine has been attacked, and it is defending its territory. So, what we are witnessing isn’t altogether a war. It is an invasion, and it seems a genocide. I read and heard that Russians did not know what was happening in Ukraine. This could be the case, but I wish they knew Putin has invaded Ukraine and could help send their President to an international court of justice. The more prolonged Putin’s attacks and destruction, the more substantial the bill, assuming Putin fails to annihilate Ukraine. He must not be successful. Sanctions may not suffice, and various ententes to prevent war could turn the world into Vladimir Putin’s accomplice.
The list of works I had taken from Wikipedia’s entry on Ivan Mazepa disappeared briefly. Yesterday evening, I could no longer find it. I most certainly do not wish to spread hatred for the people of Russia. On the contrary. Vladimir Putin is hurting both his people and the people of Ukraine. The people of Ukraine fell at Poltava, and Putin’s forces are destroying Ukraine once again.
Let us hope the Ukraine crisis ends as soon as possible. Ukrainians are suffering, and the world fears a war. Negotiating with Vladimir Putin is difficult.
It is horrific. The atrocities committed at Bucha qualify as a war crime, but although the world grieves, the world will not defend Ukraine. Ironically, our best defence, NATO and the European Union, have turned into weapons. What about the United Nations?
Vladimir Putin knows that nations will stand still for fear that he, Vladimir Putin, one man, will trigger a Third World War. Putin has allies in what President Biden has described as a fight between autocracy and democracy. But Putin leads the pack.
Now that Vladimir Putin has ceased to be a world leader to change into a “dictator,” he can no longer go anywhere except an international court of justice where he will be tried as a criminal. But who will take him there? Putin is surrounded by his military, and he is, in fact, part of the military.
Putin has betrayed his people. Russians are fleeing, and he has nearly destroyed Ukraine. He is turning Ukraine into a petite Russie, and former Soviet nations bordering the AdriaticSea and the Baltic Sea could be attacked. Finland is afraid. It shares a border with Russia.
Mazepa and the Battle of Poltava
Ukrainians, however, are a nation and Ukraine is a country. They have heroes, perhaps the main one being the great Yvan Mazepa (Wikipedia).
Mazepa lost the Battle of Poltava to Russian emperor Peter the Great. It was the final battle. Mazepa also inspired other composers and writers, and a 1993 film features Mazepa.
Crises have led several generations of Russians to move away from Russia, and the war in Ukraine is yet another crisis. As soon as Vladimir Putin threatened to wage war in Ukraine, Russians left, and tens of thousands followed in their footsteps. It’s an exodus. Opponents of the war in Ukraine who have spoken publicly and have been imprisoned are also very likely to leave Russia after they are freed. Russia will lose some of its population. They will join Russians who settled abroad after the collapse of the USSR. Vladimir Putin, who seems to be Putin alone, tramples on the freedom of two people who have close ties, making the war even uglier. Earlier, after the 1905 Revolution and the Revolution of 1917, other countries welcomed Russians. Many went to France. Most Russian aristocrats spoke French. When I lived in France it suprised me that so many of the French I met had Russian ancestry. Their family left Russia at different points in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Ukraine was once called be called une petite Russie. Une petite Russie may be an area abroad where Ukrainians have chosen to live. There are numerous petites, including petites Cadies and petits Canadas, small Acadies and small Canadas. My father was brought up in a small town in the Eastern Townships where French-speaking Canadians lived in a p’tit Canada. These areas were called Canadas because English Canadians were les Anglais. But la petite Russie (Le Figaro) I am referring to is Ukraine. Ukraine is located on the shore of the Black Sea, which has been a coveted area. Russia is inland, a geographical drawback. It has compensated by being “toutes les Russies,” all the Russias, a country so large that it suggests conquests.
La petite Russie was located on the shore of the Black Sea and allowed Russia to have a navy. Russia’s port was the port of Arkhangelsk, located far to the North. Russia wants ports, which the annexation of Crimea in 2014 reflects. History repeats itself.
Kievan Rus’, the Tsardom of Russia, and the Russian Empire
Kievan Rus’ until 1574
1574-1721 Tsardom of Russia
Ivan IV (self-declared Tsar)
The House of Romanov (Michael of Russia, appointed Tsar…)
In fact, both Russians and Ukrainians are Slavs, a large number of people who speak Slavic languages and inhabit several countries. The modern nations of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine all claim Kievan Rus’ as their cultural ancestors. (See Kievan Rus’, Wikipedia). But, eventually, Ukraine became a petite Russie as the former centralized Tsardom of Russia expanded into the Russian Empire. Ukraine was divided following a war waged in the 17th century between the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The east was controlled by Russia and the west fell under Polish control splitting Ukraine between the east, which was controlled by Russia, and the west, which fell under Polish control. splitting Ukraine between the east, which was controlled by Russia, and the west, which fell under Polish control. This divide existed until 1793, when the Russian Empire annexed western Ukraine, plunging the country into a century of “Russification.” For Russia, they claimed this was “reunification” of the Kyivan Rus’, but for Ukrainians, it was another subjugation. (See The Contentious History of Russia-Ukraine history)
The Mutiny of the Battleship Potemkin
I will tell a story that may exemplify the relationship between the petits Russes and the grands Russes. It is the story of the mutiny on Potemkin. Potemkin was a Russian battleship that sailed on the Black Sea after 1793, but perhaps earlier, when Ukraine had been annexed to Russia. The Russian Empire now had a port south of Moscow, but the petits Russes of Potemkin rebelled against the ship’s officers.
In early June 1905, Afanasy Matyushenko and Potemkin crewman Grigory Vakulenchuk joined with other disgruntled sailors in plotting a fleet-wide mutiny. Their audacious plan called for the rank and file to rise up and strike a concerted blow against the officers. After commandeering all the navy ships in the Black Sea, the conspirators would enlist the peasant class in a revolt that would sweep Czar Nicholas II from the Russian throne. (See History)
Potemkin was commandeered under Afanasy Matyushenko, and Grigory Vakulenchuk after conscripted crewmen were served borscht crawling with maggots. Captain Evgeny Golikov ordered crewmen to eat the borscht, which some did, but the “hard-liners stubbornly held their ground.” (See History.) Golikov called his marines, but a few men went to a turret and grabbed weapons. Golikov killed Vakulenchuk, but the crewmen, numbering 763, commandeered the ship after 30 minutes. Golikov was hiding in a stateroom. He was shot and died as soon as he was found.
Potemkin headed for Odessa, and Matyushenko showed Vakulenchuk’s dead body. When Nicholas II heard of the mutiny, he ordered his military to quell the revolt. The following day the military started firing at people standing near the shore, and mounted Cossacks went down the Richelieu steps killing civilians with their sabres. It was a massacre: a thousand Odessans died.
Potemkin went to Romania and surrendered the ship in exchange for political asylum. Most mutineers went into exile. These were petits, Russes, Ukrainians.
It is now as it was then. Petits Russes, Ukrainians, are fleeing their country. Could a modern-day “Tsar” want ports on the Black Sea, crushing peaceful Ukrainians? And will he then conquer other lands? Where does he go if he does not pull out of Ukraine? He has done considerable harm in Ukraine and many have suggested he is already a war criminal, which he seems to be.
Who would have thought that thirty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the President of the Russian Federation would compel Ukrainians, humble Russians, the Grinbergs, and tens of thousands of other Russians to leave?
My page about Russia is incomplete, but it is under construction. I have named it the “Art and Music of Russia,” but we have also discussed, briefly, the history of Russia. Posts on the history of Russia will be listed separately. I also wrote posts on Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes. For the time being, I am not separating these posts from the “Music of Russia.” Igor Stravinsky, Sergey Prokoviev and other composers wrote the music for the ballets. Diaghilev’s ballets were produced by a team, including artists, one of whom was Pablo Picasso. The musician featured below is Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, one of “The Five” who wrote operas and music based on folktales.
I believe that Vladimir Putin started the war in Ukraine almost single-handedly. However, many Russians support him, and soldiers obey orders. I suspect he is opposed by countries that formerly comprised the USSR. Sadly, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor was killed in Kharkiv,
Not so long ago, we explored the music of Russia. Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) was the leader of The Five. The Five were composers who attempted to write music that was distinctly Russian. Mussorgsky had befriended architect and artist Viktor Hartmann who died of an aneurysm when he was 39. It was a shock for Mussorgsky. According to critic Vladimir Stasov, Viktor Hartmann gave two pictures to Mussorgsky, one of which was a sketch of the “Great Gate of Kiev.” The two pictures inspired Modest Mussorgsky, who composed Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite of ten pieces for the piano divided by promenades and written in 1874. The tenth and final piece of the suite is based on Hartmann’s the “Great Gate of Kiev.” (Kiev is Kyiv)
Pictures at an Exhibition is Modest Mussorgsky’s most famous composition. We seldom hear the piano suite because it must be performed by a virtuoso pianist. Remember that the ringing of bells is a characteristic of the music of Russia and Ukraine.
Vladimir Stasov’s portrait by Ilya Repin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hartmann’s Kyiv is now being destroyed by Vladimir Putin; I cannot believe what I am seeing. This is madness on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and if I could close the sky over Ukraine, I would. Vladimir Putin is the architect of this massacre. The flying zone is an open gate because Ukraine is not a member of NATO, which, ironically, gives Putin the freedom to destroy a country. As for the United States, it is burying Manifest Destiny.
It could be that Putin remembers times that will never return. Russia was once so large that it was called “toutes les Russies,” all the Russias.
At what cost will Ukraine survive this insane invasion?