EU knitting brows at Malorossiya
The European External Action Service reacted to Malorossiya project declared by the leader of Donetsk (pictured) Alexander Zakharchenko with the following statement:
“Recent “declarations” and provocative rhetoric from so-called leaders regarding certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine not currently under the control of the government run counter to the objectives of the Minsk agreements. The European Union expects Russia to distance itself unequivocally from such “declarations” or actions that violate the spirit of negotiations in which it is engaged, stepping up its efforts to bring this conflict to an end.”
“This most recent deplorable development is part of a worrying trend that includes “administrative measures” such as the expropriation of companies, the declaration of a “state border” or adoption of currencies other than the Ukrainian Hryvnia in Donetsk or Luhansk. In parallel, the EU also continues to support an inclusive approach on Ukraine’s part towards Ukrainian citizens living in areas not currently under the control of the government.”
“The European Union supports fully the ongoing diplomatic efforts towards complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine that respects Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The diplomatic raw has a its political background background. Malorossiya is a historic toponym extensively used through centuries signifying the left bank of Dnieper river, and population of the territory, according to the census of 1897, Maloross represented 17,8 % of population of Russian Empire, thus 22,3 million subjects.
However the term was abandoned in times of the USSR, when the Bolsheviks sliced Russian Empire into Soviet Republics. ‘Malorss’ as a ethnic term defining inhabitants of the South-West of Russia continued to exist in literature and folk culture through the years of Communist reign, but politically was evicted with the White Guards in immigration in the course of the Civil war followed the October revolution in 2017.
Today the term ‘Malorossiya’ is still politically heavily charged underlining the unity of three major branches of Russians, existing before the USSR: ‘Velikorossia'(Great Russia), ‘Belarussia’ (White Russia)’ and ‘Malorossia'(Little Russia).
The ancient concept of Malorossiya as an integral part of Russia is in a direct opposition to modern Ukraine as a state assembled by Communists in different political contexts, and receiving de facto independence after the collapse of the USSR.