Friday, February 3

The truth that shakes Putin: the common origin of Ukraine and Russia two millennia ago


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Well, no, the history of Russia was not lit up in the Moscow of the bulb domes or on the shores of St. Petersburg. The most remote origin of the country that rules today Vladimir Putin it stands in the same land where the next international conflict is simmering: Ukraine. Historians agree that it was there that various Slavic, Finnish and Baltic tribes formed the germ of what, in the 19th century AD, was called the Russian from Kiev. From it, in later centuries, the peoples who could face each other today with rifles and battle tanks drank.

Although today the idea that the origin of both peoples was common – some consider it an aberration – still generates controversy, historians such as Paul Bushkovitch they subscribe to it.

In his works, the professor is in favor of the fact that this state born in the 9th century was the predecessor of both and is even clear about its etymology: «Rus was the name that its inhabitants had given themselves, and Kiev its capital ».

For his part, the also professor Carlos Junquera Rubio corroborates in ‘The roots that gave life to Russia’ that, for these two countries, the Rus occupies a place analogous to that which Roman Hispania or the Visigoth Kingdom suppose in the past of Spain and Portugal.

Russia before Russia

Kievan Rus existed as a single state until the 12th century. Before, however, this confederation of medieval tribes prospered into a commercial powerhouse. They soon reached Constantinopla, istanbul and the capital of Byzantine Empire. As narrated by the ‘
Chronicle Nestor
‘ –the oldest source that speaks of this period– came to establish an agreement between equals with Byzantium. And that only in principle, since they also ended up adopting their religion: the orthodox christianity. The Velikii Knyaz Vladimir I was the one who initiated the conversion in 988; apparently, to unite under his scepter political and religious power.

But all history comes to an end, and three centuries later, the arrival of the Mongols caused Kievan Rus’ to disintegrate into a series of autonomous principalities ruled by a single dynasty: the Rus’. Rurikida. From it emanated, like tributaries, an infinity of Rus or small states. Among them, the Vladimir, the one of Galicia-Volynia, the Republic of Novgorod or the one of Polotsk. The latter, considered the predecessor of the future Belarus.

Different on paper and maps, in reality they all had the same religion, language and culture. Junquera, in fact, maintains that in the warmth of these new peoples the current nations of Eastern Europe began to be forged.

The Mongol presence spanned three hundred years of vassalage and destruction. Although differently between the territories that today would correspond to Ukraine and Russia. While the former were reduced to ashes and suffered severe depopulation, the latter escaped the debacle and were able to survive by paying tribute. They did it thanks to the political nose of princes like Alexander Nevsky, who only longed for the time to come when they could strike back at the invader. Vengeance arrived in the fifteenth century, when Novgorod Y Moscow they made power shake and they rose as powers in the region. Thus the future Russia was born.

Ukraine is born

While that first Russia was fighting its particular war, the future Ukraine was doing the same. Its closest origin is found centuries after the disintegration of Kievan Rus. In 1648, an alliance formed by Cossacks, tartars Y farmers managed to expel the invaders who had settled in the territories that today make up the country. They founded an independent state, but it was short-lived. Shortly after, the area ended up divided between the two great empires of the region: the Russian and the Astro-Hungarian. Its status did not broadly change until the 20th century, when the area was divided between the Soviet Union Y Poland.

From here begin some murky and agitated years. After the fall of tsarism, the Soviets invaded part of the Ukrainian territories in the spring of 1918. Until 1920, the country was a hotbed of tensions between supporters of the communist revolution and those who opted for nationalism. The former won and, in 1922, the region became one of the founders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The arrival of the Second World War and the advance on Poland allowed Iósif Stalin to add Western Ukraine to his particular red empire – made up of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania – and even expand its borders.

Needless to say, Ukraine was not the right eye of the communist dictator. Rather the opposite. Since he came to power, Stalin’s economic policies have swept away some four million Ukrainians because of the famous Holodomor and ethnic cleansing. In addition to the fight against the local language. And from those powders these muds. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became independent in 1991. Although that has not given it peace of mind, since then the country has been divided between those who support embracing Russia and those who are committed to reorienting its policy towards the West.

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