The term Novoròssiya has been much abused by Putinist propaganda. Used in its proper context, however, it is legitimate and meaningful. The first post I wrote about the proper use of Novorossiya, in August 2014, may sound like an angry harangue but I believe it makes the right points.

Over the years, I added more posts trying to explain the history and geography of those regions. At this moment, I believe the two points below sum things up in the best possible way, and the two linked posts would lead to others with more particulars:

  1. The Russian Empire was largely a settler empire.
  2. The part of Novorossiya that is now in Ukraine was originally settled mostly by Ukrainian peasants.

In November 2014, I wrote four posts taking apart the claims Putin made in his Valdai club speech in the previous month:

  • First, Novorossiya is not a “single region with its centre at Novorossiisk.”
  • Second, Kharkiv is part of Sloboda Ukraine, a different region of Ukraine with its own fascinating history.
  • Third, the supposedly “Russian” areas that Bolsheviks allegedly assigned to Ukraine ca. 1920 had Ukrainian-speaking majorities at that time.
  • Finally, the temporary, buffer-zone Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic was meant to be merged into Soviet Ukraine.

More posts (2016) on the settlement of Novorossiya:

None of this means that the Ukrainian part of Novorossiya is exactly the same – linguistically, culturally or politically – as the rest of the country. It’s different but it’s part of Ukraine all the same.