The most prominent lexicographer of the Russian language Vladimir Dal was born in 1801 in what is now the Lugansk oblast of Ukraine. His Danish father and German-French mother were both fluent in several languages which affected young Vladimir and helped him develop his talent from early childhood. Interestingly, despite his foreign ethnic origin, young Dal adopted the pen name ‘Cossack from Lugansk” which was probably his desire to be associated with the freedom-loving Cossacks in the area. His lifetime work “Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language” was published in 1863-1866 and it is believed that Dal spent more than 50 years compiling it. Many famous writers including Nabokov used the Dictionary for their references. But there is a secret about the title of the Dictionary. As the image below shows, in the year 1861, the title was “Explanatory Dictionary of the Greater Russian Dialect of the Rusian Language” and two important facts need to be stressed about it. First, it is the Rusian Language spelled with a single “s”. It is not a typing error, it is the language of Kyiv Rus that Vladimir Dal had in mind. One can think of the difference between Roman and Romanian to better understand the difference between Rusian and Russian. (Muscovy-Russia was just a province of Kyiv Rus and the backward one, see below).
Second, the Russian language is just a dialect of the language of Kyiv Rus. Very interesting and extremely insightful is a letter Vladimir Dal wrote to Kyiv Professor of Linguistics Mykhailo Maksymovych. Vladimir Dal wrote it on November 12, 1848, more than a decade before completing his Dictionary. It is a long letter and so far its official translation into English has not been made it seems, so the translation of some parts of it below is made by the author of the article. (Ru text is available here):
“On hearing here and there several occasional words about the publication of the book “Origins of Russian Philology” by Maksymovych without any positive review about it, I went yesterday to Badensdok and took the book from N. A. Nevolin because buying it in our bookstores is difficult. Today, I got up at five o’clock in the morning and started reading the Origins hungrily… From the first pages, I was impressed by the knowledge of the subject, which is close to me by feeling, by love for it; often, some guesses had been born, some hints had been noted down in questions, with some answers but with doubts, but I lacked the knowledge to untangle. What, for example, one could advise doing while studying greater russian dialects and coming across the Sakharov division which is hard to understand because the Moscovite dialect is mixed with the Suzdal dialect, and which he [Sakharov] cannot or does not want to explain himself? Your work, which is in all aspects pleasing to my heart, ignited me and gave me the spirit and desire to work…
You seem to be the first one to observe the similarity of the greater russian dialect with the southern one, Novgorodian with Kyiv one. It is because in the south there were the Slavs, and in all of Greater Russia – the Chukhna of different origins; then Kyiv made a colony in Novgorod and the area in between gradually became Rusified, Belorusians went on foot to Moscow – the Rusified (with single “s”) ones started talking somewhat differently, but the north [Novgorod] preserved the language that is the closest to the southern [Kyiv], which is its cradle...”
On reading the last part, it is simply shocking how much Vladimir Dal managed to deduct about history of Kyiv Rus by simply analyzing the language. And what he arrived at turned out to be in contradition to the Moscow’s version of history because according to it, it was Novgorod that brought civilization to Kyiv. But, as can be seen above, Vladimir Dal concluded that it was the other way around!
Moscow even now claims that Ukrainian is a dialect of Russian, but the greatest authority on the subject Vladimir Dal said it was vice versa. And one can be confident that Moscow has been trying to exterminate the Ukrainian language for that very reason – the language shows where the cradle of civilization was and who became the ungrateful recipient of it.
That is also the reason why Dal’s original title of his Dictionary was changed.
The “Gardariki, Ukraine” e-book has more insights into the origin of Kyiv Rus.
Could there be a link between the Ukrainian and Proto-Indo-European language? >