He provides materials from three books prepared by a late 19th century Russian ethnographer, Vladimir Dobrovolsky, who collected materials about the Smolensk language and suggests that those words, if revived and promoted, could serve as the basis of a regional language within the Russian nation.
Mikus says that this is an especially worthy project because Smolensk means far more to its residents and to Belarusians than it does to Russians. Smolensk was where the Belarusian SSR was proclaimed a century ago this month. More than that, it was one of the most important cities of the Grand Principality of Lithuania, rather than of Muscovy.
Now, unfortunately, he says, “even the name Smolensk is something that Muscovites and we following them do not understand. They think it comes from the Russian word for “tar” (smol), but in fact apparently it comes from the Baltic word for “bee” (kimal), as even some Russian investigators have acknowledged.
This can and should be recalled, the commentator continues; and “possibly, the Smolensk language will become one of the projects for the future cultural decentralization of Russia,” something from which the people of Smolensk and other regions would clearly benefit however much the imperial center can be counted on to oppose.