Here's Some Cool Ukrainian Things You Should Know
Good morning to you dear reader. We are back in the saddle this week and want to start off with a couple housekeeping items
- If you ordered one of our Russian Warship shirts - our card got blocked by the bank because so many got ordered at once. We are working on it. Don't stress.
- We have had a couple churns recently - if that's you, reach out to us and less us know what we could do better.
- For the sake of transparency - At the time of writing this Sunday evening, we are at 395 total subscribers, 130 of those being premium. That seems like a pretty good number and we're having a blast doing this.
Now, onto the meat of this.
Kyiv is old. Like, Really old.
Do you know where the word "Russia" comes from? It comes from the tribe of the Kyivan Rus, which started in, you guessed it, Kyiv. Estimates of Kyiv's founding put it in the 6th century-ish.
The Sofia Cathedral in the header photo of this email was founded in 1011 according to UNESCO and celebrated its 1000th birthday in 2011.
Moscow was founded in 1147.
Kyiv is ~600 years older than Moscow and Russia is named after the people of Kyiv.
For the majority of its history, Kyiv was not aligned with Russia
We already talked about the age difference between Kyiv and Moscow - but even then, the majority of the current Ukrainian territory was either independent tribes, under Mongol rule, or part of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. It was not ceded to the Russian Empire until 1667.
It existed for a millennium before it became part of the Russian state.
The Whitty Memes and Sass and Standing Up to Invaders Goes Back to the Cossacks
This photo got recreated the other day:
This is one of the most famous Ukrainian paintings ever. It's a depiction of a real letter that was sent by the Zaporizhian Cossacks to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire after defeating his army. He sent a letter using every stupid title for himself:
Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks: As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians – I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.— Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV
Then they wrote back with this gem:
Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!
O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil's kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are thou, that canst not slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil shits, and your army eats. Thou shalt not, thou son of a whore, make subjects of Christian sons. We have no fear of your army; by land and by sea we will battle with thee. Fuck thy mother.
Thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig's snout, mare's arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow. Screw thine own mother!
So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won't even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we'll conclude, for we don't know the date and don't own a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year with the Lord. The day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!
What a mood.
Their National Anthem Should Remove Surprise From Their Reaction
The song was a poem written in 1862, set to music by a priest in 1863 and first performed in Lviv in 1864. After the fall of the Russian Empire and Austria/Hungary, 3 Ukrainian states were formed - The Ukrainian People's Republic (from the Russian Empire), The West Ukrainian People's Republic (from the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and Capartho-Ukraine (now a province in Ukraine, but at the time was an autonomus area of Czechoslovakia). Eventually all 3 were united into the Ukrainian SSR under the Kremlin.
Here's the lyrics:
Ukraine's glory and freedom are not dead. Brethren, our fate smiles upon us. We will vanquish our enemies like dew in the sun, and we, brethren, will rule our own land.
(Chorus) We will lay down our bodies and souls for our freedom. We will show that we are true Cossacks.
Carol of the Bells isn't About Bells
It's about a swallow flying into the house and telling the master that his ewes were lambing and he could make fat stacks of cash by selling them. It's traditionally a New Year's carol.
Bells are cool too though.
Ukrainians have invented a lot of important stuff
The hard drive.
The concept of an immune system (thanks Elie Metchikoff)
Beekeeping hives that didn't kill the bees at harvest.
Borscht is a Ukrainian dish.
These things are all pretty neat.
The flag means clear skies and fields of golden wheat.
Which you better stock up on flour, because Ukraine and Russia combine for 1/4th of the global wheat output.
It checks out
It's rude to put books on the ground.
This one still gets me - and I try to remember to tell my kids to pick them up. It is considered disrespectful to put books on the ground, or just throw it in a pile, or toss it on your bed when there's a dirty shirt touching it, etc.
Books are knowledge, and knowledge is to be revered and respected.
It's about the size of Texas
After Russia, it's the second biggest country in Europe. Ukraine has the highest concentration of "black soil" which is extremely fertile - to the extent that there was an underground market to harvest and sell it to other countries. The amount of agrictulture and fertile land has earned it the nickname of "Europe's Breadbasket"