The Albanians in Ukraine (also known as Albantsi, Ukrainian: Албанці) are an ethnic minority group located mainly in Zaporizhia Oblast and Budjak. They descend from Albanian warriors who fought against the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish wars and were allowed to settle in the Russian Empire in the 18th century.
The historical community of Albanians in Ukraine call themselves ga tantë (from ours) and they speak a language si neve (like us). Their ancestors came to Ukraine in the 18th and 19th centuries. Yet, they trace their ancestry to tosks Albanians (southern dialect) who in the 16th century settled in the eastern Bulgaria (Despotate of Dobruja) along with Gagauz people. The arrival of the Albanians was connected to the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774. During this war some Orthodox Christian Albanians revolted against the power of the Ottoman Empire. After their rebellion initially failed many joined up with the Russian fleet which was on its Aegean Expedition. At the end of the war about 1,700 Albanian fighters and family members went to the Russian Empire. They settled primarily in the vicinity of Kerch and Yenikale. Some Albanian immigrants to the Russian Empire from Bulgaria settled primarily in the vicinity of Odessa and Budzhak. In 1811 Albanians established their own settlement of Karakurt in Budzhak near the Bolhrad city. After the Albanians in Odessa there are two streets Great Arnaut Street and Little Arnaut Street. Due to defeat of Russia in the Crimean War, many Albanians moved to the east Ukraine in 1861 and resettled there. It was not until the 20th century that the Albanians of Ukraine realized that there are Albanians. At some point of time in Odessa existed the Albanian cultural center "Rilindja" (Renaissance).
Albanian studies in the Soviet Union and Russia
The first who studied the Albanians in Ukraine since 1914 was a Soviet philologist (Slavic studies) and historian Nikolai Derzhavin who born on the territory of modern Zaporizhia Oblast (at the time Taurida Governorate). In 1930 he published his monograph in Russian language "Albanians in the Ukraine". After the World War II, the major study on Albanians of the Southern Ukraine was conducted by the academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yulia Ivanova. In 1957 with help of the academician Agnia Desnitskaya at the Saint Petersburg State University was opened the Department of Albanian language. Alas, in the modern Ukraine Albanian studies are not being conducted.
By the late 20th Century, only a few years before the fall of the USSR the Albanian of Ukraine were mainly concentrated in Zaporizhia Oblast:Geandran, today (Hannivka), Taz (today Divninske) and Tuiushki (today Heorhiivka). There is also an Albanian village in Budjak: Caracurt (Karakurti in Albanian, Caracurt in Romanian, Karakurt / Каракурт in Ukrainian and since 1947 Zhovtneve / Жовтневе).