There Has Always Been a Ukraine – Part IV

Dear Readers:

Today continuing my review of this piece by reporter Anton Lisitsyn.  We saw that writer Sergei Plachinda was the source of several myths about the “ancient Ukrainians”, to whom  he assigned both historical longevity and many outstanding feats.  If you want to read more about Plachinda’s various claims, I wrote this related piece back in 2017, for those who are interested.  The term “svidomite“, for those unfamiliar, is what Russophiles call Ukrainian Nationalists who are really into their cultural/historical claims, they believe in Ukrainian superiority and in Ukrainian exceptionalism.

Another of Plachinda’s claims involves the so-called ancient “Ukry” people.  Most Russians believe (correctly) that the word “Ukraina” is the Russian word for “Borderlands”, and that is how the Ukrainian entity took shape, as the borderlands of the Russian Empire.  Many svidomites feel otherwise, however, and insist that the country name “Ukraina” has a more ancient (and more dignified) origin.

This map shows the Elbe River (in Germany) and the Oder (in Poland)

Namely in an ancient tribe who dwelled between the river basins of the Oder and Elbe Rivers.  As one can see from the map, this is a huge swath of very fruitful and valuable real estate.

In order to give this version its due discussion, I have this piece from LikBez, by researcher Evgeny Sinitsa.  The ancient Uchri did in fact exist and were most likely a Slavic tribe who lived in that juicy inter-river area.  And they had their own smaller river, called the Uccer or Ikker, from which they (the tribe) took their own name, as in “people who live on the Uccer River” (the modern Uecker River).  Etymologists posit that the name itself could stem from the Proto-Slavic word vikru, which means “rapid”, as in a rapid river.

These Slavs are first mentioned in history in the 10th century, in connection with the expansion of German rulers (in particular the Margraves of the Saxony March).  These Germans expanded their conquests and gobbled up lands previously belonging to Western Slavs.  And two points here:  (1) the Uchri were most likely Western, not Eastern Slavs, unlike Ukrainians; and (2) there is no archaeological foundation to date them back as early as the 6th century.  For example, a Bavarian geographer writing in the 9th century makes no mention of the Uchri, which he would have done if he knew about them, given that they were such great people.

11th-century Poles, just hanging around, having a good time…

The “conquest” of these Slavs by German rulers, was not such an earth-shattering event.  These areas, during the 11th-12th centuries were the objects of dispute between the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Poland.  The people living there just continued doing their thing, no matter who their overlords happened to be.

Things didn’t get really nasty until 1147, when Rome declared a crusade against the Slavs.  At that time the Germans became more aggressive in their agricultural colonization of the choice lands.  Missionaries followed behind the soldiers, as usual, and converted the local Slavs to the Roman Catholic variety of Christianity.   The Slavs of that region became so assimilated that even their language practically disappeared.  Only a few toponyms remained, to indicate that Slavs had once lived here, for example “Terra Ukera” (“Uchri Land”).  Some toponyms survive to this day (German Uckerland, Uckermark), yet they don’t really mean “Land of the Ukry”, they actually refer to the Uecker River itself.

The beautiful Uecker River, in Brandenburg, Germany

According to svidomite mythology, the Ukry tribe, under pressure of the German colonization, were forced to migrate South.  So they entered the territory of the modern-day Ukraine, thus endowing it with their name.  Which, however, contradicts the myth of Ukrainians deriving from the ancient cucuteni people, as we discussed earlier in this series.

Anyhow, the “Ukry migration” theory is not backed by any mention of such an event in the historical texts.  But it may have some archaeological foundations: Archaeologists believe they can show a continuity of cultural artifacts or, at the very least, trade relations between people living in the Oder-Elbe inter-river system; and other peoples living in the Southern part of medieval Rus.

In conclusion:  the Uchri tribe did in fact exist, but they happened to be a very localized people, and there is zero evidence that they migrated en masse and/or gave birth to the Ukrainian proto-nation.

Rus X

Even some factions of Ukrainian nationalists recognize how silly this whole “Ukry” thing is, since they are now agitating to change Ukraine’s “slave-name” from Ukraina (“Borderlands”) back to its original “Rus“.  For which there is more than a grain of legitimacy, since Kiev has long been known as the “Mother of Russian Cities”.

Be that as it may, we now get to meet another influential svidomite writer named Valery Bebik, whose claim to fame is that ancient Ukrainians were one and the same as the “Sea Peoples” who terrorized the ancient world around 1200 BC!

[to be continued]

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