White Russia and Belarus. Ukraine

etail Krynica (the well). Houses Myloserdyya

The origin of the name Belaya Rus was firstly mentioned in written sources in the XII century. It was determined as a certain part of the Northeast area of the Ancient Russia, but the term began to be used with the regard to the territory of the modern state of Belarus a century later. The name of Belaya Rus became current only to the area which is now occupied by the Belarusian regions Dnieper and Dvina since the XVI century.

The scientists can not reach a consensus about the term «Belaya» (White) Rus because this common noun had been variously interpreted for a long time not only by various kinds of chroniclers but by local population of mentioned areas until the contemporary name of Belorussia was firmly established.

Among the possible options we are mostly impressed with the origin of the name Belaya Rus from possible national designation of unoccupied land which was independent of the sway of Lithuanian princes and Mongolian khans in that difficult time of XII-XIV centuries.It is the word «Belaya» that was used in the meaning of «Free» back in those days.

But we should also note that there are various kinds of speculative interpretations of the name of, for example, Ukraine. Typically, nationalists and foreign know-alls interpret the name «Ukraine» as «Outskirts», i.e. the edge of the state or the land.

However, a more likely and nationally significant explanation of the origin of the word «Ukraine» is common, domestic definition of people who live in this particular country, in Ukrainian it sounds like «u kraini», i.e. «in country», literally. It is the name that completely explains usual and acceptable by local people definition of «Ukraine» as well as the word «German» was used to designate «dumb people», i.e. incomprehensible for natives, because their language was unintelligible for local population.

Considering the above-stated, we can make up a confident conclusion that self-sufficient people cannot accept externally imposed, accidental name which would contradict internal state of each representative of the nationality. So when Belaya Rus- Belarus is a definition of «Freedom», and a Ukrainian takes the name «Ukraine» as the center of his universe, his country («kraina»), we can proudly call ourselves Belarusians or Ukrainians.