January 17, 2013

"Throughout their existence as a separate culture, Ruthenians formed in most cases rural population, with the power held by local szlachta and boyars..."

"... often of Lithuanian, Polish or Russian descent. As in the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, the trade and commerce was mostly monopolized by Jews, who formed a significant part of the urban population."
Since the Union of Horodlo of 1413, local nobility was assimilated into the traditional clan system by means of the formal procedure of adoption by the szlacht... Initially mostly Ruthenian and Orthodox, with time most of them became polonized. This was especially true for major magnate families... whose personal fortunes and properties often surpassed those of the royal families and were huge enough to be called a state within a state. Many of them founded their own cities... with settlers from other parts of Europe. Indeed there were Scots, Germans and Dutch people inhabitating major towns of the area, as well as several Italian artists who had been "imported" to the lands of modern Belarus by the magnates.
Have you thought about Belarus, today's "History of" country?

27 comments:

edutcher said...

I worked with a husband and wife who were from Belarus, Minsk, in fact. Very nice people.

The monument to the war dead there is a tree standing off from a grove of three other trees - symbolic of the fact 3/4 of the people died in WWII.

I'm sure what happened in the War was part of it, but, when The Blonde asked the wife, Sveta, what religion they were, she said they used to have one but forgot, so those people had been persecuted for a very long time.

Makes you appreciate what we have had here.

And resist those who want to take it away.

YoungHegelian said...

I had some very interesting conversations in grad school with a Belarus grad student in physics.

He was Jewish and had been allowed/forced to emigrate by the Soviets after getting into trouble with the regime. He told me about how the Jews had lived integrated into the population in Belarus, unlike in the Ukraine, where they had been forced into the Pale.

He told us that the Soviet Union wouldn't last for 10 more years (this was in 1980). We all laughed. Damned if he didn't almost nail it! He missed it by a year!

Balfegor said...

Today, Belarus is a remnant out of a dead age of the West. An age when men were ruled by moustachioed dictators.

ricpic said...

Joe Sobran was of Ruthenian heritage. A superb mind and a good man, but like so many raised by Eastern European parents poisoned in the cradle with Jew hatred.

Balfegor said...

On a different note, is the adjectival form of Belarus Belorussian? Byelorussian? Belarusski? Something else?

Erika said...

Belarus=monstrous Chernobyl birth defects, in my mind anyway. Isn't that sad?

wyo sis said...

Chernobyl is in the Ukraine isn't it?

Erika said...

Belarus was downwind.

Erika said...

A lot of places were downwind. But this stuck with me.

RazorSharpSundries said...

Yes, Chernobyl is in the Ukraine, but Belarus got a lot of the radiation.

Cedarford said...

wyo sis said...
Chernobyl is in the Ukraine isn't it?
===============
Belarus got a good chunk of the fallout.
Anti-nuke hysteria, fanned by George Soros in Central Europe, led to a mass wave of abortions.

Turned out that the babies that were born in areas of increased radioactivity were no different - in physical and mental health than babies born elsewhere in Europe.

THe UN's ongoing BEIR reporting on Chernobyl has put the toll in almost 25 years - as under a thousand deaths and premature deaths on Cherobyls rad releases.

But the same reporting in the early years, appears to show between 51,000 and 58,000 excess abortions by ill-informed mothers fanned by fearmongering from the Soros Group and anti-nuke hysterics.
Belarus was among the places hardest hit by excess abortions.

RazorSharpSundries said...

Just did a google search on Joe Sobran, and found this eulogy for the guy. http://brandondutcher.blogspot.com/2010/09/mourning-joe.html
Too bad Sobran got sucked into the anti-Semitic lobby.

Aridog said...

Just my opinion, but I think to really understand "Ruthenian culture" you should read Henryk Sienkiewicz's Trilogy: With Fire & Sword; The Deluge; and Fire in the Steppe, translated by W. S. Kunczak circa 1992. What I'd call historic romance novels, by the author of the better known "Quo Vadis."

CWJ said...

I could write quite a bit on this country, but its enough to say that Belarus no longer allows its children to be high school exchange students.

David said...

Nice tractors.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Years ago I read the amazing book "The Truth About Chernobyl" by Gregori Medvedev, who had been a high ranking engineer at the plant before reassignment to Moscow. Loren Graham, who taught history of science at MIT, wrote an early review of the book. In it he said:

In Mr. Medvedev's indictment of incompetence, delusion and arrogance the only inspiring element is the heroism of the men and women who fought to overcome the calamity. Firefighters, electricians, turbine engineers, physicians and nurses rushed to the scene without protective gear and sacrificed themselves to a radiation so intense that in some cases they returned from their posts turned brown with what Mr. Medvedev calls "nuclear tan," and incapable of further action. Helicopter pilots fell ill while dumping tons of sand on the open incandescent reactor core. Scuba divers swam to certain death in the pool of water under the reactor to close valves and prevent even greater damage.

That part of the book stuck with me most. Countless and nameless incompetent thoughtless Soviet bureaucrats caused the accident. A small group of incredibly brave people knowingly gave their lives to protect millions they did not know after the accident occurred.

David said...

By the way, I take that bravery personally. During the entire Chernobyl event, I was in Bavaria, which received considerably more radiation than was being disclosed at the time. Nineteen years later I developed a kind of leukemia which is associated with radiation exposure. There is no way to know whether the chernobyl accident had anything to do with my leukemia, but my radiation exposure would have been much worse without these brave people.

Rod said...

Isn't Victoria Azarenka, the #1 woman tennis player, from Belarus?

FWBuff said...

Our neighbors have a nice garage apartment that they have leased to a young Belarussian graduate student and his wife and little girl. Dmitri studies classical piano at the local university, and the "rent" that he pays is to give concerts from time to time for the neighborhood. Our neighbor sends out an email alert, people bring their blankets and picnics, and Dmitri opens the windows of his apartment and plays Debussy. It's really remarkable.

Kirk Parker said...

Aridog,

Second your recommendation of With Fire and Sword.

I read the free Kindle edition; people who know Polish (I don't) say pretty bad things about the old Jeremiah Curtin translation used for the free edition. Any experience with Kuniczak's translation? Is it better enough to be worth spending $$ for another take on it?

Aridog said...

Kirk Parker said...

Any experience with Kuniczak's translation? Is it better enough to be worth spending $$ for another take on it?

I have the Kuniczak translation of the Trilogy in hard cover, a gift from Polish born, college educated, Polish speakers within my circle of friends. That is essentially 4 fairly large books. They seem to think it is far superior to other translations. I have no basis to disagree as I enjoyed all of the books.



Mitch H. said...

This is the part of Europe which was most horribly violated and devastated by WWII, leftist pogrom after leftist pogrom from both sides, fought over multiple times, entire populations exterminated. And yet it has no real identity of its own, a contested area between the Lithuanians and Poles on the one side, and the Great Russians and Tartars on the other. The szlachta got pitchforked into the Russian dvoriane when the Tsars successfully claimed the land back from the Poles and Lithuanians, IIRC, and the White Russians melted into the Great Russian empire much more smoothly than the Poles and Lithuanians ever did.

Wow, looking through that Wiki... the history of Belarus is mostly the history of its triumphant neighbors passing it back and forth, and passing over it with torch and saber in hand, laying waste as they went.

If I recall correctly, the country is kind of swampy, difficult land historically left to go to woodlot. Even the trade routes tend to go around this area, as the great trading cities of Kievan Rus' were mostly to the north and east and south - Novgorod, Pskov, Vladimir, Kiev.

I have been continually surprised that Belarus's political independence, such as it is, has continued for this long. It is heavily dependent on the Russian Federation both geopolitically and economically, and it is actually more authoritarian on its own than it would be under Czar Vladimir I.

Shana said...

I bought my husband the trilogy a few years ago. I tried to read it, but got bogged down in the first book. I need to give it a shot again.

Shana said...

I have the Binion translation. Maybe I need to try again with Kuniczak.

Strelnikov said...

In most of Jerzy Kosinki's novels (in fact all of them except "Being There" - which I do not think he wrote), the main character was always a sexual and moral pervert, and also almost always Ruthenian. Worth a read, if you're into that sort of thing. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Strelnikov said...

Those of you interested in the after effects of Chernobyl should read Cruz' novel "Wolves Eat Dogs".