The origin of the word – Slave – Online Etymology Dictionary

I had always doubted that the word, slave, was the root of the ethnic origin, slavic. It seemed unlikely to me that even a conquered people would refer to their culture with the word.
Turns out I was looking at it backwards. The whites used the word slavic in reference to their slaves. Actually, the similarity in the 2 words just underscores the ancient practice of domination, explotation, and manipulation that the dominant use effectively against external groups, often based on ethnic designations.

slave (n.)

late 13c., “person who is the property of another,” from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus “slave” (cf. Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally “Slav” (see Slav), so called because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples. This sense development arose in the consequence of the wars waged by Otto the Great and his successors against the Slavs, a great number of whom they took captive and sold into slavery. [Klein] Old English Wealh “Briton” also began to be used in the sense of “serf, slave” c.850….



Balaclava | Lexical Investigations at

I have mispronounced this word so many times.


Balaclavas and cardigans have more in common than keeping you warm—they both owe their names to the Crimean War. During the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, British troops were underprepared for the cold Ukrainian winter, and unlike their French counterparts, who were allowed to wear as many layers as required to stay warm, the British were expected to adhere to their uniforms. The poor conditions caused a scandal in Britain and motivated civilians to donate money and knit warm clothing for the troops using government-issued patterns and regulation yarn, including a wool cap to be worn under their helmets. The British referred to these caps as Balaclava helmets, and later just called them balaclavas. Troops were also issued button-down woolen jackets, which were named after the Lord of Cardigan, who led their ill-fated charge known as the Light Brigade against the Russians.

via Lexical Investigations: Balaclava | The Hot Word | Hot & Trending Words Daily Blog at

History of the Makhnovist Movement (1918-1921): Chapter 8

I have been struggling with the idea of “partisans” ever since I first heard the term used to dismiss the Makhnovshchina. Calling the insurgents of Ukraine simply partisans is so imprecise. What kind of army tries to comfort and reconcile with enemy combatants as soon as the shooting stops?

The Soviet authorities and their agents often depicted the Makhnovists as pitiless assassins, giving long lists of soldiers of the Red Army and members of the Communist Party put to death by them. But the authorities were always silent about the essential fact, namely about the circumstances in which these soldiers or Party members had been killed. They were always victims of combats started or provoked by the Communists themselves, combats which were forced on the Makhnovists when they were cornered by the Bolsheviks. War is war; there are always victims on both sides. But the Makhnovists understood perfectly that they were making war, not against the soldiers of the Red Army as a group or against any of them individually, but against the handful of rulers who directed this mass, who disposed of them, and who valued the life of a Red soldier only to the extent that it was useful for the preservation of their power. This is why, although they often struggled bitterly against the Red Army units, once the battle was over the Makhnovists related to the soldiers of the Red Army with the same spirit of brotherhood and friendship which characterized relations among themselves.

via History of the Makhnovist Movement (1918-1921): Chapter 8. (P. Arshinov, 1922)

Famine-Genocide of 1932–3

The Holodomor caused an extremely high mortality rate; in some regions it reached 20 to 25 percent of the population. Some villages in Poltava oblast, Kharkiv oblast, and Kyiv oblast were completely deserted by the spring of 1933. Most of their inhabitants perished, but some did manage to escape. In the fall of 1933 the Soviet regime began resettling those villages with Russian peasants, mainly from Orel oblast. Throughout the Soviet Ukrainian countryside agricultural work was barely noticeable. During the spring of 1933 armed detachments protected the state-assigned seed for sowing, and those peasants who were well enough to work the land received minimal rations. Only the first fruits and vegetables of the summer saved those who had managed to survive. But the mass effects of starvation, disease and accelerated mortality, and a falling birthrate became apparent for many years.

The fact that the 1937 Soviet census was officially declared invalid and not released suggests that its results indicated a catastrophic population decline as a consequence of the Holodomor.

The estimates of the number of how many peasants died during the Holodomor vary widely. At the high end the figure of ten million deaths has been cited, mostly by President Viktor Yushchenko. For many years seven million deaths was the number commonly used in the West. In the 1950s and 1960s some Western scholars (Dmytro Solovei, Mykola Prykhodko, William H. Chamberlin, and Vasyl I. Hryshko) estimated that there were three million to four million deaths, while Volodymyr Kubijovyč and Clarence Augustus Manning suggest the losses were two million to three million. In the late 1970s the dissident Ukrainian Helsinki Group suggested a maximum figure of six million victims. In 1981 the demographer Sergei Maksudov (pseud of Alexander Babyonyshev) determined that the population loss in Soviet Ukraine was 4.5 million. Subsequently Jacques Vallin et al essentially confirmed Maksudov’s figures with their estimate of 4.6 million deaths. Further refinements to their work have established a figure of 2.6 million deaths caused by ‘exceptional mortality.’ In 2008 the Institute of Demography and Social Research of the NANU established a figure of 4.5 million deaths: 3.4 million victims of exceptional mortality and 1.1 million non-births.

via Famine-Genocide of 1932–3.

Russian spreads like wildfires in dry Ukrainian forest

Belittled and oppressed in prior centuries, Ukrainian has made a comeback since the country declared independence from the USSR in 1991. It was granted status as Ukraine’s state language by a constitution adopted in 1996.

Ukraine’s political opposition and pro-Ukrainian language advocates fear that the language legislation could boost use of Russian, in turn reversing gains made by Ukrainian since 1991.

via Russian spreads like wildfires in dry Ukrainian forest.

EU leaders give Kyiv until May to prove it wants to look West

Ukraine’s relationship with the IMF is potentially complicated by Yanukovich’s pledge to keep down gas prices for domestic customers as the IMF has insisted Ukraine should reduce the amount it spends on subsidising prices to cut its budget deficit.

In the past, Ukraine’s quarrels with Moscow over gas prices have led to supply disruptions to the European Union, which depends on Russia for roughly a quarter of its gas.

All parties are seeking to increase their options.

Russia has been busy building pipelines to bypass Ukraine and pushing Kiev to cede control of its pipeline network.

The European Union has been exploring ways to diversify its suppliers by piping Azeri gas to Europe, whileUkraine, which signed a deal with Royal Dutch Shell last month, is seeking to develop its shale reserves.

via EU leaders give Kyiv until May to prove it wants to look West.