Saturday, February 20, 2016

Verkhovna Rada Mulls Requiring Ukrainian Officials to Call the Russian State ‘Muscovy’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 19 – Two deputies from the Radical Party, Andrey Lozovoy and Oksana Korchinskaya, introduced a bill in the Ukrainian parliament last summer that would prohibit all government agencies from calling the Russian Federation “Russia” and instead reintroduce “the historical term, ‘Muscovy.’” That measure is now being discussed.

            On the one hand, this is little more than a response to Vladimir Putin’s repeated insistence that Ukrainians are not a separate nation and Ukraine is not a real state.  But on the other, such a proposal, even if as seems likely it is not adopted, has potentially far-reaching consequences less for Ukraine than for some in the Moscow-centered state.

            In their explanatory notes for the bill, the two deputies write that “the name ‘Rus’ and of ‘Russia’ which is its derivative’ are a generally accepted name of present-day Ukraine” (

                “The territory of the present-day Russian Federation never until recent times was called by foreign sources and local residents either ‘Rus’ or ‘Russia,’” they continue. Instead, up through the 18th century, “Ukraine appeared under the name ‘Rus’ and its people, including the Cossacks, was called ‘Rusites’ or ‘Ruthenians.’” 

            The Ukrainian deputies’ action will give aid and comfort to those like Aleksey Shiropayev of Russia’s National Democratic Alliance who have argued consistently that Moscow “occupies” Russia and that the solution to Russia’s problems is the “de-muscovization” of the country  (

            For background on this trend in Russian thought and on some of its implications, see “To Escape Putinism, Russia Must Expunge Muscovy as Germany Did Prussia,” July 29, 2015, at; “For Russians, Ukraine is a South Korea to Russia’s North,” September 9, 2015, at

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