Talk:White Russia

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Origins of "Rus"[edit] (talk) 11:09, 11 January 2009 (UTC)The belonging nowadays Belarus teritory to Kiev Rus doesn't mean that those lands were Ruthenian lands, like later Lithuanians ruled even Pskov doesn't mean that Pskov was the ancient land of Lithuania. In nowadays Belorussia lies the ancient lands of tribes of Balts Ostrogots and Lithuanians (who are half Osrogots and half Vesigots) even today call Belorussians Gudai or Gots. Belorussians never called themselves Ruthenians, like Ukrainians did. (talk) 11:09, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

"the equation of Rus’ and Russia is controversial today and does not have any historical basis. "

First of all, this statement is self-contradictory; the same proposition is described both as "controversial" (indicating dispute) and baseless (which indicates a resolution of the dispute). Following up the links, it would seem that the resolution is actually the opposite of what this sentence would indicate: that there is no doubt but that the "Rus" element in both "Russia" and "Belarus" come from the same word for an East Slavic people ancestral to both Russians and Belarusians.


It has a historical basis and the equitation is right. The Russian people were one ethnicity before 1917. The Russian people had 3 groups: White-Russians, Little-Russians, Great-Russians. Rus and Russia is basically the same. Same example with The Netherlands and Belgium (Flemish part) where they speak also Dutch and use the official Dutch language. The Netherlands and Flanders have different Dutch dialects. Such we also see in Germany where you have Low, Middle, High Germans living. Also in Poland you have Greater-Poland and Little-Poland with its small cultural, linguistic differences. The only difference between those countries is that they didn't suffer under the policy of bolshevism. Where the middle and higher class was deprived of its right and the culture of the land, workers, peasants began the Soviet state policy. This is how the forced Belorussification started in process.

Do you know about the existence of Alexander Guagnini. He was a writer, soldier, chronicler and historian who served the Polish king himself. Gwagnin is known for publishing the Latin book Sarmatiae Europeae descriptio, quae Regnum Poloniae, Lituaniam, Samogitiam, Russiam, Masoviam, Prussiam, Pomeraniam... complectitur, usually translated as "A Description of Sarmatian Europe" (printed in Kraków, 1578), which contained descriptions of the countries of Eastern Europe (history, geography, religion, traditions, etc.).

There Moscovia was described as 'White-Rus' territory and he also described that a part of the Rus territories is divided and part of it is under the Polish power.

Ivan the great, Grand prince of Moscow who was also named Ruler of all Rus'. It is well known that his goal was to gather all the Russian lands from the yoke of Poland-Lithuania. Moscow Grand duchy was the last orthodox Christian nation standing and they wanted to free their christian Russian brothers who were persecuted under Polish catholicism.

Also the Lithuanian grand duchy had the full title of: Великое княжество Литовское, Русское, Жемойтское и иных. Velikoe knyagestvo Litovskoe, Russkoe, Zhemoitskoe i inih. Which means: Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Russia and Samogitia.

Till this day the language in Russia is known as 'Russkii Yazik', you don't call it Ruthenian language do you? The White-Russian or Belarussian language is called 'Belorusskii yazik'.

Until 1917, in all academic forms the terms were used, White-Russia, Russia, Little-Russia. Also on the maps and in academic circles.

What you call Ruthenia is just your Western way of Latinizing the word Russia.

Naive etymology[edit]

I suggest to remove the naive speculative hypotheses about the name: Baltic sea, hair, clothes.... Opinions? Mikkalai 16:32, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

...Removed. Mikkalai 23:29, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There are a number of speculative hypotheses, although no conclusive documentary evidence has been found for any of them. One such theory is based upon the accepted fact that the Belarusian people are the descendents of both Slavs and Balts. The root "balt-" means "white" in the languages and dialects of the Baltic languages. Hence "Baltic Sea" (Balta jura in Lithuanian) literally means "white sea". Thus "Balta Rusija" could have been the original source of the name "Belarus", rather than a later secondary derivative from "Russia".
Another theory suggests that the name may refer to the blond hair that many inhabitants of Belarus possess, much like Balts and Scandinavians. Still another theory is that Belarusians are named after the predominant colour of their traditional (uncolored linen) clothes.
I don't think that this is so naive. There are peoples (Miao) who are named according to color of their clothes. So, this at least is plausible. Nikola 13:22, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Some explanation of 'white' is necessary here. The Red Ruthenia page mentions that white means 'north' due to the faces of Svitovyd. I don't know if this is really likely but some attempt at explanation should be made. Malick78 (talk) 14:01, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, White = Western[edit]

See: Cardinal points#Central Asia. bogdan | Talk 13:46, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

That is what I always understood. Likewise Golden Horde is Golden due to its geographic position. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:11, 16 April 2012 (UTC)


Contradiction in terms[edit]

The article states that "Many languages today continue to use this obsolete name when referring to Belarus". If the name is in use it cannot be obsolete. Did the author mean to write "In English this name is obsolete, however many other languages continue to use a literal translation of White Russia to refer to Belarus"?

White Russia still used[edit]

In English, he name "White Russia" is still used synonymously with Belarus (although less commonly). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 uses White Russia and the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th Ed 2004) describes the usage as "dated". I suggest that the article's second sentence would be improved by changing it to "In English the use of White Russia to refer to Belarus is dated, however many other languages continue to use a literal translation of White Russia to refer to Belarus."

I think this is appropriate. Rmhermen 13:18, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Did you actually check the links? Both of them say: see Belarus. How is it supposed to justify the article's name? If both are synonims, the most widely used (Belarus) should be used, not the one supplied as a variant of the main name. --Hillock65 (talk) 13:39, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

White Russia = Belarus in Belarussian[edit]

"Because of its association with perceived Russian and Soviet imperialism, some people in Belarus consider the name derogatory"

  • Bela= White
  • Rus = Russian 13:15, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Same applies to Polish and Ukranian

  • Rus is not equal to "Russia", let alone "Russian". (talk) 09:04, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Rus is equal to Russia. Russia is called 'Rossiya' in Russian but the language is called 'Russkiy'. The language isn't called 'Rossiskiy'. They also speak about 'Ruskiy narod' which means Russian people. The White-Russian language is called 'Belorusskiy'.

Therefore there isn't a difference. You don't call Russian language Ruthenian or Rus language don't you?

(talk) Vladislav Nikolaevitch

What to do with the article[edit]

This article is the fork of the Belarus article and should be merged there. The only difference between the two is that it uses an archaic name White Russia, not in use any more in respectable literature. The article should not be named thus. Moreover, we have Red Ruthenia, Black Ruthenia ... and all of a sudden White Russia? The article should be merged to History of Belarus or appropriate sections of Belarus article. Moreover this article is replete with original research and is without a single source to support any of the multiple erroneus statements in it. Are there any ideas as to what should be done with it? --Hillock65 (talk) 13:34, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Moreover the term White Russia, can mean also Belaya Rossiya or White Movement, so I agree with you that this term here should be but a disambig page, there is a Name of Ukraine article, and Name of Belarus would do to explain the equally not-straightforward name of that country. --Kuban Cossack 22:46, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
Great. Let's see if there any other ideas before we move with the reorganization. --Hillock65 (talk) 00:08, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Upon coming to this page i was looking for information on the losing side of the 1917 Russian civil war, not the archaic name for the current nation of Belarus. i'm not an editor but should there be a disambiguation or some further information separating the two.--EEE-- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:24, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I think all that has to be done here is to rename the article form White Russia to White Ruthenia (like Red Ruthenia, Black Ruthenia). The current name is so misleading Ales Hurko (talk) 06:43, 31 January 2011 (UTC)


It is misleading because it has no use of doing it. You don't call the language that Russian people speak (Russkiy) Ruthenian don't you? White-Russia is also the correct term.

white Russia is the only official name for Belarus in German[edit]ßrussland you can see it here--Venajaguardian (talk) 05:31, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Map needed[edit]

Since this is an article about a geographical region, it needs a map. David Spector (talk) 00:53, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Biased comment[edit]

"White Russia" is a sensitive issue in Belarus, and could be seen as inappropriate. Unlike it, the term White Ruthenia does not suffer from such ambiguity.

I tried to delete this because its a biased comment. The majority of Belarussians see no problem in be calling White Russia since it's a correct historical term. And it's still used in many languages. Such as Dutch, German, French, etc...Also many Belarussians acknowledge the historical ties and culture with the Russian.

(talk) Vladislav Nikolaevitch 18 June 2016

Do you have reliable sources to back this up? I've also noted that you've been adding original research and removing content on a personal dislike basis. I have no idea of where the sources for 'White Russia' applying to 'The Grand Duchy of Moscow' and 'Novgorod' come from given that you introduced a map depicting White-Russia, Novgorod and Russian lands as different entities to support your assertion. I've never encountered the positions you've tried to introduce in any language, so please stop tampering with the content of the article in order to shoehorn your personal opinions. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 03:16, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
I had added a lot of maps from the 15th century where those territories, the Grand Duchy of Moscow and Novgorod were depicted as White-Russia by several European cartographers. But the user Argos keeps deleting them. The map “Territories of the Tsar of White Russia or Grand Duchy of Moscow year 1648” is literally translated from the French decription left on the map “estats du Czar ou grand duc de la Russie Blanche ou Moscovie” That isn't my position or opinion it's all in the sources before the 20th century that are mentioned. Also the text was very biased about whether Belarussians like to be associated with White Russia or not. Are there any statistics on this? (talk) Vladislav Nikolaevitch 19 June 2016 —Preceding undated comment added 09:53, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
The maps withous explanations coming from reliable sources are delete correctly. We are not in a position to correctly interpret the writings on very old maps. - üser:Altenmann >t 21:04, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
The issue is that the maps are WP:PRIMARY sources. Reliable secondary sources are needed to provide context for whether this was significant common usage over a period of time. It is not up to us to draw our own conclusions as to the significance or insignificance of any material. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 23:45, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you Iryna. There are many authors, encyclopedias throughout history with many works who can confirm the information on the maps and that the White-Russians were one people with the Great-Russians and Little-Russians.
"Russian dialects fall into two main divisions - Great (Velikorusskij), including White (Belorusskij) Russian, and Little Russian (Malorusskij). The latter is spoken in a belt reaching from Galicia and the Northern Carpathians (see Ruthenians) through Podolia and Volhynia and the governments of Kiev...." Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 28. 1911. P. 913.
"The Russian population is composed of three large groups: Great Russians, or Veliko-Russ; Little Russians, or Malo-Russ; and White Russian, or Bélo-Russ." Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Vol. 35. London. 1873.P 350.
"Subdivisions of Russians. Three different branches can be distinguished among the Russians from the dawn of their history: - The Great Russians, the Little Russians (Malorusses or Ukrainians), and the White Russians (the Byelorusses)." The Encyclopaedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information". Volume 23. Cambridge. 1911. P. 884.
Alexander Guanini describes also in his book "Sarmatiae Europeae descriptio, quae Regnum Poloniae, Lituaniam, Samogitiam, Russiam, Masoviam, Prussiam, Pomeraniam... A Description of Sarmatian Europe" (printed in Kraków, 1578), which contained descriptions of the countries of Eastern Europe (history, geography, religion, traditions, etc.) that the Moscovian territory is also named as White-Russia or White-Rus.
There are many more works, books, maps who can confirm this information. --Vladislav Nikolaevitch (talk) 13:43, 13 July 2016 (UTC)