Once upon a time Ukraine was prosperous and populated. Now it is poor, corrupt, and depopulating. From Batiushka at thesaker.is:
Introduction: Carpathian Rus
The geographical centre of Europe just happens tobe in the post-1945 Ukraine, 15 km (10 miles) from Rakhovo (in the Ukrainian occupiers’ language, Rakhiv). This is in the far east of the Ukraine, in the province of ‘Zakarpattia’ or ‘Transcarpathia’, which is the imperialist name given by the Ukrainian centralisers to the area. In reality, it is Kiev that is across, ‘trans’, the Carpathians, not ‘Transcarpathia’.
Zakarpattia was before the Second World War the main part of Subcarpathian Rus, also called Carpathian Rus, Rusinia or, in medieval Latin, Ruthenia. Smaller parts of it are now in the corner of south-eastern Poland, where lived the Lemkos, and in far eastern Slovakia. The people there call themselves Rusins or Rusnaks and despite three generations of Ukrainian linguistic imperialism, many still speak Rusin, which, although related, is a separate language from standard Ukrainian or any of its dialects and is also far more ancient. The first Orthodox Christians in what is now the Ukraine lived here, and helped to convert Kiev.
In 2004 I had to go to the far east of Slovakia (also once part of Carpathian Rus) for a village funeral and there met an elderly ‘Ukrainian’ man. In fact, he was a Rusin. In the early 1950s he had fled the Soviet Union for Norway while serving in the Red Army near Murmansk and from there had come to live near family members in eastern Slovakia near the Ukrainian border. The ex-soldier had been born in 1917 in what was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which then became Subcarpathian Rus in Czechoslovakia, which then became part of Nazi Hungary, which was then taken over by the Soviet Ukraine. The village where he had been born had not moved: politicians had. The Rusins are a people without a country and always have been.
I mention all this because the drama of the survival of Europe, of which the Ukraine, despite Western European illusions of self-importance, is the geographical centre, is now being played out in another part of the Ukraine. This is 960 km (600 miles) east of the centre of Europe, in the city of Zaporozhye, where there is situated one of the four nuclear power plants in the Ukraine. It is the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, supplying the Ukraine with 20% of its total electricity needs. Since 4 March 2022 it has been under Russian control.