Staunton, Mar. 15 – Ukrainians who want to call Russia Muscovy are pursuing three main goals, Russian historian Aleksandr Orlov says. All of them have their roots in the complex history of Eurasia, and all are extremely offensive to Vladimir Putin and his understanding of the country over which he currently rules.
First of all, Ukrainians want to assert that they and not the state now calling itself Russia is the true descendant of Kievan Rus and its civilization. Some Ukrainians have proposed renaming Ukraine Rus-Ukraina. Calling Russia Muscovy is simply a product of Ukraine’s understanding of its own history (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2023/03/15/nu-vy-znaete-rus).
Second, Orlov continues, Ukrainians are animated by a desire to “strip the contemporary Russian Federation of its status as ‘a great power’ and ‘empire,’ which are connected with the name ‘Russia.’” Using the term Muscovy thus calls into question Moscow’s rule over most of the rest of the country.
And third, this current effort is “an attempt to exoticize the RF and symbolically exclude it from Europe to the extent that Muscovy of the 16th and 17th centuries was for Europeans a more ‘barbaric’ and ‘unfamiliar’ country than was the Russia of the 18th and 19th centuries, Orlov concludes.
As such, the current Ukrainian drive to restore the name Muscovy to the map is the latest in a long line of efforts to use toponomic nomenclature to achieve political goals, something Russians should fully understand because they have used that device so often against others they have sought to rule.