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If you don't mind a small set of corrections by a linguist (in the academic sense), it wasn't Old Church Slavonic that was created in Byzantium, but rather the Cyrillic alphabet. The language (sometimes also called Old Bulgarian and Old Church Slavic) is just the earliest recorded identifiable Slavic language. However, there are many other Slavic languages--three main branches: West (Czech, Slovak, Polish etc.), South (Bulgarian, Macedonian, OCS) and East (Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian)

Old Church Slavic became influential because it was used to translate the Bible, and that spread the language far and wide. Pretty much every Slavic language that adopted the Orthodox religion also adapted the Cyrillic writing system to their own language. This includes Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian and many others. And Cyrillic has undergone many modifications within each Slavic language too.

Just as Latin influenced all Western European languages, including those not derived from Vulgar Latin, OCS influenced all Slavic languages, and, not coincidentally, Romanian and Moldovan, which are Romance languages.

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As a linguist, can you also confirm my understanding that the designations of Rus' Major and Rus' Minor are by definition relating to their distance from Constantinople and in not in any way to be understood in the context used by Moscow to denigrate Ukrainians as "Little Russians"?

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Have to do some research on that. I'll get back to you.

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Oy! I've done some preliminary research and it looks like it's a highly contested story that I wouldn't try to definitively rule on without more research than I have time to spend. The Wikipedia entry on Ukraine has one story, but the Wikipedia entry on 'Little Russia' seems to have three or four, all conflicting, and all going back at least 200 years. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

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Curious that you didn't mention the Ukrainian attempts at independence before, during and after World War II. On the one hand, they are evidence of Ukrainian national consciousness long predating 1991. On the other, Ukraine doesn't really like to bring them up now because of collaboration with the Nazis and atrocities against Poles.

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Watching news about the developing news coming out of Ukraine and Russia. Noticed in the background Ambassador Michael McFaul has a copy of Bloodlands on his table.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW1GVlgp6EA

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Thank you for the history. It does help to understand.

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Any thoughts regarding Mike Pompeo and Trump's praise of Putin? Will the sanctions cut off the flow of dark Russian money into Republican campaigns for 2022/2024? Or are there ways around the sanctions?

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Putin gives the order....The invasion begins.

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