Ukrainian Geography Textbook Claims That Belarusians Are Not Slavs, Jews Originate From Galicia

The ancestors of modern French, Spaniards, Jews, and Turks could have come to these lands from Ukrainian Galicia. This conclusion was reached by the authors of the textbook recommended by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine “Geography. 8th class” (P. Maslyak, S. Kapirulina, Kamenets-Podolsky, 2016) based on the similarity of the words “Galiya”, “Galiciya”, “Portu Galiya”, “Galateya”, “galileyani”.

“…spread east and west, north and south. The ancient Indian language Sanskrit is close to the Ukrainian language. And the geographical names of western and southern countries and peoples, such as Galateya, galileyani, Frantsiya (Galiya), Galiciya in Spain or Portugal (Portu-Galiya), probably indicates that the ancestors of modern French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Jews, and Turks could have come to these lands from the Ukrainian Galicia,” it is said on page 271 of the textbook.

The authors were not disturbed by the generally recognised fact that “close” Sanskrit is considered to be a more ancient language than Ukrainian, and the names of the mentioned countries and peoples are used much earlier than the name “Galiciya,” which appeared only in the 2nd millennium.

Ethnic Belarusians, who were excluded from the Slavic nations by the authors of the textbook, were in an even worse situation. Like Russians with Bulgarians. “Slavic-speaking Russians are of Ugro-Finnish origin, and those closest to them in the language of Bulgarian – Turkic. Linguistically, the Belarusians and Poles closest to the Ukrainians also have different genetic origins. Poles – Slavonic, and Belarusian – Baltic,” says the textbook.

As it turned out from reading, in general the textbook focuses on specialised topics. But it starts to generate innovations when it comes to demography or political geography.

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Thus, according to the authors of the textbook, the Trypillia culture with 7,500 years of history is one of the oldest agricultural civilisations in the world, while the “clothes and appearance of Trypillians are very similar to modern Ukrainians”. This is despite the fact that the oldest agricultural civilisations date back 3 millennia earlier, and the Trypillians themselves do not belong to the Indo-European family, which includes the Slavs.

A little later, the same Trypillia culture is called “one of the oldest civilisations on the planet”.

Throughout the current territory of Ukraine, including the vast steppe zone, according to the authors, Ukrainians have been engaged in active farming for thousands of years. At the same time, both the Scythians and Goths are recorded as proto-Ukrainians.

Ukraine’s economic and geographical situation is complicated by the fact that it is surrounded by economically backward countries. “None of the countries that directly border Ukraine are characterised by a high level of economic development,” the textbook says.

The section describing demographic issues deserves special attention. Thus, the division of political migration and refugees is supplemented by the category of people who migrate because they live behind the principle of “no matter where to live, just don’t do anything that counts”.

Ukrainian gastarbeiters would be very surprised to learn where and what they are mainly doing abroad. Here are the main directions where our labour force is involved: along with oil production in Russia and Norway, collection of citrus and olive picking in Spain and Italy, housing construction in Poland and Germany, livestock production in Great Britain and Ireland, our fellow citizens actively collect cars in Germany and France and teach en mass at universities in the United States, South Korea, and Mexico.

Sometimes the authors simply spare the nerves of readers, mentioning a common problem in the context of our neighbours, without touching on Ukraine. When it comes to depopulation and reducing the life expectancy of the population, a reference is made to “some African countries and, for example, Russia”. At the same time, the textbook does not mention the dynamics of life expectancy in Ukraine at all.

Apparently, such a presentation of material is done in order to increase the self-esteem of schoolchildren and to strengthen their faith in the future. “The nation that gave the world Song, Bread, and Wings is able to transform Ukraine into one of the leading countries of the world,” the authors summarise.

Thus, on page 274 of this textbook, Ukrainians, with reference to unnamed researchers, are in general recorded as “Slavinised Germans” and called “the oldest nation on earth”.

Judging by the output data, the textbook was prepared and peer-reviewed under the minister Sergey Kvit, and is approved by the order of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine No. 491 from 10.05.2016, a month after the appointment of Liliya Grinevich as the minister. It was printed in Kamenets-Podolsky entirely using state funds. After that, the Ministry of Education and Science centrally sent it to schools and lyceums with the stamp “Sale prohibited”.

Reviewers of the textbook from the Ministry of Education and Science were teacher-methodist of the Kremenets lyceum in the Ternopol region O.O. Kozachuk, Doctor of Geographical Sciences and Professor of the Department of Geography of Ukraine and Tourism at the Ternopol National University P.L. Tsarik, and methodologist of the Zhytomyr Regional Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education P.I. Shcherban.

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At the same time, the main author of the textbook is Professor of the Department of Geography at the Shevchenko Kiev National University, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, and Academician of the Academy of Sciences of Higher Education of Ukraine Petro Alekseyevich Maslyak. He is the co-author of a whole line of textbooks and methodological geography textbooks for students of grades 6-11 of general education schools. Wikipedia states that 71-year-old Petro Maslyak is the founder of “his own school of geopolitical and geostrategy,” as well as the head of the department of geopolitical and geostrategy of the Research Institute of Ukrainian Studies of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

Olga Fandorina

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