My favorite things Ukraine

I am just arriving, and for the first time  Here are my favorites:

1. Pianist: Emil Gilels, most of all for Beethoven and Chopin.  Vladimir Horowitz was born in Kiev, he was often best in unusual pieces, such as Scriabin, Prokofiev, and John Philip Sousa.  But there is also Cherkassy, Pachmann, Moiseiwitsch, Lhevinne, and others.  Simon Barere was one of the greatest Liszt pianists.  So we are into A++ territory here.  But wait…Richter was born in Ukraine!  My head is exploding now.

1b. Violinists: You’ve got Nathan Milstein, Mischa Elman, Isaac Stern, Leonid Kogan, the Oistrakhs, among others, with Milstein’s Bach recordings as my favorite.

2. Composer: Prokofiev was born in eastern Ukraine (or is it now Russia again?), but somehow I don’t feel he counts.  Valentin Sylvestrov would be an alternative.

3. Novelist: One choice would be Nikolai Gogol, then Mikhail Bulgakov, born in Kiev but ethnically Russian.  But I can’t say I love Master and Margarita; it is probably much better and funnier in the original Russian.  His The White Guard is a more directly Ukrainian novel, and it should be better known.  A Country Doctor’s Notebook is perhaps my favorite by him.  For short stories there is Isaac Babel.  Joseph Conrad was born in modern-day Ukraine, though I don’t feel he counts as Ukrainian, same with Stanislaw Lem.  Vassily Grossman is a toss-up in terms of origin.  The Brazilian author Clarice Lispector, now very much in fashion, was born in Ukraine.

4. Movie: Alexander Dovzhenko’s Earth, a 1930 take on agricultural collectivization.  With Dovshenko as my favorite director.

5. Movie, set in: Man With a Movie Camera.  It is remarkable how fresh and innovative this 1929 silent film still is.

6. Painter: David Burliuk, leader of the Ukrainian avant-garde and later member of the Blue Rider group.  Ilya Repin was born in modern-day Ukraine, though he feels “Russian” to me in the historical sense.

7. Sculptor: Alexander Archipenko was born in Ukraine, though he ended up in America.

8. Economist: Ludwig von Mises.  He was born on territory near current-day Lviv, part of Ukraine.

9. Actress: Milla Jovovich is pretty good in The Fifth Element and Resident Evil.

10. Tech entrepreneur: Max Levchin.

11. Israeli: There is Golda Meir, Natan Sharansky, and Simon Wiesenthal, among others.

12. Legal scholar, blogger, and First Amendment advocate: Eugene Volokh.  And don’t forget Sasha!

Other: Wilhelm Reich deserves mention, though I’m not really a fan.  The region produced a few good chess players too.

Overall, this is a stunningly impressive list, though there are legitimate questions as to who and what exactly counts as Ukrainian.  They’re still trying to sort that one out, which is part of the problem.


So many famous Ukrainians are Jewish, in fact. Including Ludwig von Mises and Milla Jovovich. Ukraine has lost so much of its human potential by several waves of emigration, including that of our times. Not to mention the Holodomor and the Holocaust.

I had a creepy experience with Ukrainian anti-Semitism at the supermarket one night. In front of the clearance rack, a wizened woman with a heavy Slavic accent asked me, “Are you American?” When I said yes, she asked, “of what extraction?” I told her Danish. She then said, “I thought you were northern European. I am Ukrainian....” Then, apropos of nothing, she grabbed a packet of leftover clearance Passover napkins off the shelf, pointed at the Star of David, and added, “... but not THAT. Trash!”

In the 21st century, inside the Beltway. I was so dumbstruck that my great comeback was, “how quaint.” She then asked me, “do you know Ukraine?” Helpful as ever, my brain tossed out the only Ukraine fact at the front of my mind: “Mila Kunis is Ukrainian.” Then I mentally berated myself, “Idiot! Isn't Mila Kunis Jewish? This nutcase is going to fly off the handle.” Fortunately, though, she didn't seem to know who Mila Kunis is, and she wandered off.

Welcome to how many Eastern Europeans think. And not just about Jews. It was eye opening experiencing it in the early 90s in Germany, even as Yugoslavia was descending into genocidal conflicts.

It is amazingly good luck that Americans are rarely so utterly blinded by long held hatred against other groups.

And one should keep in mind that Orban, a man much admired by some commenters here, would share that woman's attitude.

> It is amazingly good luck that Americans are rarely so utterly blinded by long held hatred against other groups.

Lately they seem to be hell-bent on making up for past neglect of this kind of sentiment, though.

Sadly, that does seem to be the case from the outside of the U.S., at least to this American.

Fortunately (assuming that is the correct term), Americans still have a long way to go in this regard, regardless of how assiduously a few Americans continue to work on changing a virtue that continues to mark the U.S. as a place that so many people consider admirable for precisely this reason.

I read this paragraph fully regarding the resemblance of
hottest and earlier technologies, it's awesome article.

Netanyahu like Orban a great deal, and Orban's Hungary has far less anti-semitic crime than european countries that have allowed in Muslims. Your post is pure slander. Orban does not like Soros, because of Soros' penchant for overthrowing nationalists (see Ukraine.) Disliking one person who happens to be jewish is not anti-semitism.

You are completely wrong. Hungary was labeled by the World Jewish Congress as the most anti-semitic country in Europe, even with barely any Muslims. Try getting your facts straight before mouthing off like a tiny-brained fool.

So sayeth the World Jewish Congress....omg it must be true! Or is that opinion informed by historical fear of right wing Europeans? Hmmmm

In Budapest last weekend, 72 Hungarians were shot, 10 killed, but not a single arrest was made!

Evil and anger are more widespread than one thinks

which is why you need to pray for your fellow humans, even if your goal in life is to be an articulate and persuasive atheist/libertarian/Chestertonian. God even listens to prayers of people who do not believe in God. He is very good natured that way.

If your goal in life is to be impressively libertarian or impressively atheist or, God bless you, if your goal in life is to be a chesterton-of-our-days, well, Good luck in any of those goals (well, God help anyone whose goals in life are that limited, but who am I to talk, it is not like this world thinks of people like me as anything important, I know that, which is the only reason you can read this and think I know what I am talking about)

Greg Mankiw??

Yuriy Gorodnichenko!!

"My favorite things..." should include a bullet point for STEM =)

For Ukraine I just remember a case of science fraud: Trofim Lysenko, but that's my pessimist bias at work.

In more positive light, I just checked the Nobel laureates for Ukraine and found about Selman Waksman, a Nobel laureate for Medicine. He and one of his graduate students discovered Streptomycin, the first ever effective treatment against tuberculosis.

Tyler's last line poses an interesting question. Waksman was born in the Russian Empire, now Ukraine, to Jewish parents. The first line in his Wiki bio says what is Ukrainian?

Obviously the question is who you would consider Ukrainian in this context, would you count someone like Lee Strasberg? Otto Preminger? Arthur F Burns?
I would at least add Joseph Roth and Paul Celan to the favourites.

Does Celan count as Ukrainian? At the time of his birth Czernowitz was part of the Kingdom of Romania.

I suppose a natural criterion to test wether someone counts as Ukrainian is whether that person spoke Ukrainian at home as a child. I suspect that this criterion would eliminate at least half of your list, full of people who probably spoke Russian, Polish or Yiddish at home.

+1 for the comment on Master and Margarita. I read it, it was not bad, but I didn't like it as much as I was told I should. Thanks for the suggestion of reading The White Guard and A Country Doctor Notebook by the same author. I will try.

'I suppose a natural criterion to test wether someone counts as Ukrainian is whether that person spoke Ukrainian at home as a child.'

Pretty much - according to a couple of Ukrainians I have known, during the Soviet era, the school system in the Ukraine was taught mainly in Ukrainian, not Russian. According to one Ukrainian, the differences between Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian are roughly equivalent. That is, all three (spoken) languages are roughly equidistant, at least in his opinion. Though one can take with a grain of salt his observation that Ukrainian is more lyrical and poetic than either Russian or Polish, as the Russians at least acknowledge.

Though in this comment section, discussing how East Europeans tend to have very firm opinions about any number of subjects concerning their own ethnic group is to be avoided, recent experience has shown.

> According to one Ukrainian, the differences between Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian are roughly equivalent.

That's absurd. Language structure of Ukrainian and Russian are identical down to smallest details. The script is mostly the same. There are some borrowings from Polish but nothing compared to Russian.

> during the Soviet era, the school system in the Ukraine was taught mainly in Ukrainian, not Russian.

From Wikipedia:

"In 2000/2001 academic year, 70% of students attended Ukrainian-language schools (that is where Ukrainian is the primary language of instruction), while 29% were studying in Russian-language schools. [...] From the mid-1930s to the mid-1980s, the Soviet government policies favoured Russification. In the 1970s and 1980s, the number of Russian-language schools constantly increased at the expense of Ukrainian-language schools. After Ukraine obtained independence the trend was reversed. However, reintroduction of formal Ukrainian-language study has taken longer than expected. In some schools that have tried to switch to Ukrainian, part or most of the instruction is still given in Russian. In universities there are similar trends. In 1991/92 academic year, according to the Razumkov Centre, 49% of high school students were receiving their education in Ukrainian, and 50% in Russian."

In my experience in the 90s / early 00s despite being prescribed to teach in Ukrainian teachers mostly struggled with it or outright ignored it, I can only assume the same people were teaching in Russian before. Also I'm guessing quite a few classes that were taught in Russian figured as Ukrainian in statistics. This was Kiev, more western regions would have more native Ukrainian speakers. I also don't think I personally know anyone from the older generation who was taught in Ukrainian. Definitely not at college level.

To sum up "was taught mainly in Ukrainian" looks like an exaggeration from here. Having said that, Ukrainian culture and let's call it "attitude" isn't exactly dependent on the language.

Linguists agree with you Sergey. For (almost all of) them, Ukrainian and Russian belongs to the same subgroup of Slavic (deemed "eastern slavic") while Polish, together with Czech for example, belong to another subgroup ("western slavic").

However, Russian has the particularity that its vocabulary contains a lot of borrowing from Greek and even from Latin, due to the role of Russia in the orthodox church after Constantinople's fall. So superficially, looking only at the vocabulary, you will see many cases where a word in Ukrainian is close to its slavic cousin in Polish, and not close at all to the corresponding Russian word which is borrowed from a language of another group. This typically makes genealogical computer softwares fail to recognize that Ukrainian is closer to Russian than to Polish (a famous cases is the various dated trees constructed by Atkinson and Grey, who were famous in the decades 2000-2010, but I think are now widely considered as wrong), and I can imagine (as with Clockwork's Ukrainian couple of friends, and also a Polish friend of mine), that people knowing those language but without linguistic training may have the same wrong opinion.

Interesting - thanks for the information.

transparently the issue here is the Ukrainian attempt to demonstrate that they are not in fact a province of Russia. It's politics, not linguistics.

As for identical languages, and recognizing that these are two other languages I do not speak, apart from smallish differences in vocabulary and different pronunciation, Czech and Slovak are not really distinct languages either - except in the eyes of Czechs and Slovaks, if history is any guide (the Czech translator I worked with translated both Czech and Slovak - she considered the languages roughly as distinct as American and British English are distinct).

As for Serbo-Croatian - well, several groups of speakers of that language seem to feel that the differences are worth fighting over, including whether the language is actually Serbian or Croatian (though the last generation has probably experienced a deeper split along those lines than the generation preceding it).

The degree of Russian-Ukrainian vocabulary differences largely depends on which vocabularies one is using. There is a world of difference between Brezhnev-era ones and e.g. Grinchenko's 1920s dictionary. There was a systematic effort to root out any Ukrainian words that did not have exact Russian cognates, and/or to promote rarely-used cognate synonyms and demote non-cognate synonyms, as well as promoting Russian-style derivations (see e.g. Українська мова у ХХ сторіччі, за ред. Л. Масенко, К., 2005). There are also differences in usage, in that quite a lot of Ukrainians speak a sort of Russified Ukrainian which is easy for Russians to understand.

> I notice you did not dispute the more lyrical and poetic aspect, though.

Well spoken Ukrainian is beautiful, I remember hearing some ranking of languages based on how pleasant they sound ranked Ukrainian 1st with Italian being 2nd. Whatever the exact ranking is, Ukrainian would definitely be up there.

A data point on how close the languages are: knowing Ukrainian will enable you to converse with a Russian speaker rather freely (discussions where one party speaks Russian and the other Ukranian is a completely normal thing here) while doesnt help much with Polish. I for one don't understand Polish at all (native Russian, fluent Ukrainian).

WRT languages in Soviet Ukraine, I don't pretend to know exact numbers but another reason I'm a little surprised and suspicious of those statistics is how much effort in the education system of the newly independent Ukraine seemed to have been expended on moving all teaching to Ukrainian. It felt forced and counterproductive (and rather Soviet-like, ironically), so many people in education clearly didn't ever speak Ukrainian before nevermind teaching in it, that the claim that it was already at 50% at USSR breakup sounds off to me. But oh well, could be true I guess. It varied wildly by region, but the western regions are more sparsely populated, so I'm not sure how would it work out to those stats overall.

I see it mentioned in another comment that Ukrainian was Russified during Soviet rule. I suppose that is true, but I'd guess it was more of a selection process -- Ukrainian exists on a continuum and the Russian side of it got a boost. But I question if it's wise to try to roll it back. I'd prefer if the language was left alone and not treated as a territory in a culture war (in which it is treated, again, with very Soviet-like forceful, prescriptive attitude).

On the topic of accomplished and famous people from the past I have some thoughts I'll spell out in a top-level comment, but regarding how people define who is or isn't Ukrainian I think it became much more sharply defined after the events of recent years. While it would be more acceptable to "share" a famous figure from the past, today one would much more readily claim or disown someone as Ukrainian. Even on a personal level, if asked what ethnicity one is I think far fewer people today would honestly describe themselves to be half-and-half Ukrainian-Russian. Some events just encourage you to take sides in ways one wouldn't guess beforehand. It's hard to keep sitting on the fence when bullets start flying over it.

'I for one don't understand Polish at all (native Russian, fluent Ukrainian).'

Interesting - I've never asked a Russian about Polish, but a Polish translator I worked with considered (spoken) Russian and Polish to be somewhat like Spanish and Italian, while not being as extreme in difference as Spanish and French (an imperfect description of course, just an example of the spectrum involved). Just his opinion, and like a number of East Europeans who spent time in school before 1989, he did learn Russian as a foreign language.

Always interesting to learn from people with recent direct experience.

'It's hard to keep sitting on the fence when bullets start flying over it.'

Yes it is, which is why the split between Czechs and Slovaks stands out as a real achievement in Eastern European terms.

(And without getting too strange or involved about it, the Crimea resembles the Canal Zone in a number of ways - the U.S. is not going to allow a potentially hostile government control the Canal Zone, regardless of whatever treaties the U.S. signed. What happened beyond the Crimea is another discussion - and as always, changing any national boundary in Europe tends to lead to bloodshed.)

Valentina Lisitsa is the best performer of Rachmaninov IMO. Born in Kiev.

Born in Kiev, yes, but considers herself Russian. She even considers Kiev Russian, from what I understand, and probably thinks it's a matter of time before Ukraine is absorbed by and assimilated into Russia. I'm hoping that's wrong.

As a pianist, she is a mediocrity, and even calling her that is probably being too generous.

I didn't mention her opinions on the current events as I would guess a lot of other people on the list would be similar.

The reason I rate her highly is that she plays the music as it was intended, her performances don't inject her own interpretations as is common for "great pianists" (IMHO and all that). It's not controversial to note that there is some composer-performer conflict and in case of Rachmaninov I'll take the composer neat, thank you very much.

Ah, Oleg must be offended by Valentina's outspoken criticisms of anti-semitism and violence towards ethnic Russians in Ukraine. See for yourself - she's on Twitter (though you have to translate some of her tweets). @ValLisitsa I've heard her play three times live, and she is the heir apparent to Argerich. (I've heard Brendel, Gilels, Ashkenazy, the young Argerich live and Argerich and a few others like Kissin are the only ones who approach her talent. To say she is a mediocrity says something about one's musical taste. She has 443,000 subscribers to her You Tube channel. This particular video, of the Moonlight Sonata's last movement, has over 30 million views. I welcome readers to be their own judges. She has over a hundred self-made videos on You Tube - you can see exactly what she plays like unedited, unlike many performers who have a limited repertoire for the public and carefully edited recordings. Some of the highlights of those who have watched her -- she live streamed a recording session of all of Chopin's etudes - she insists on complete takes. When she was to play at the Proms, she unveiled the score she had never played (the war horse Warsaw Concerto) and took viewers through the complete journey of how she learns a score. Fascinating to watch. She completely opens up her musical soul for everyone with a heart to see.

Ukrainian nationalists are very angry at her because she points out all of the instances of anti-Semitic behavior by politicians, and the ultra-right nationalists. There are now dozens of mainstream press article about modern say anti-semitism in Ukraine. You can easily Google them. Even Radio Free Europe has articles.

Here is what they do in Ukraine to people who bring up Ukraine's nasty history. The Nobel Prize winner in Literature for 2015, Svetlana Aleksievich, was recently scheduled to give a talk in Odessa. But then her name was put up on a site called Myrotvorets, run by the Ukraine government, which identifies and doxxes people considered enemies of Ukraine. Aleksievich had made a speech some time ago in the US talking about Ukrainian participation in the Holocaust. Organizers of the literary event started getting calls about her, she was informed, and wisely canceled. The story translates easily using Google translate.

Volokh needs a "Conversations"

Sleeping in the Vokzal'na Square, 2 McDonalds?

Can't the beat the "savings on air conditioning costs, as well as comfort and security"

Hat Tip, Kevin Lewis.

"Milstein’s Bach recordings as my favorite..."


The White Guard is an anti-Ukrainian novel, and extremely so. Bulgakov hated the guts of anything Ukrainian that didn't admit its complete inferiority before and subservience to Russia. He's by no means singular in such attitude, either, in fact it is fairly widespread. Such Russians can allow Ukrainians to exist as long as Ukrainians limit their national aspirations to singing approved songs, dancing and cooking, and generally serving as an outlet for Russians' Arcadian sentimentalism.

As for moderately-famous ethnic Ukrainians, there is George Kistiakowsky, who made the explosive lenses for the American plutonium bomb.

MMA Fighters? Fedor Emelianenko is about the pre-UFC gold standard.

I think the Klitschko brothers certainly qualify. Fedor was born in Ukraine but has stayed in Russia all his life.

Reich certainly deserves more infamy.

Who knew that Conrad's background or saying that Ukrainians know who is Ukrainian would be so controversial.

My favorite Ukrainian is my host sister, who stayed with on scholarship from the US government. She later participated in the orange revolution in the Maidan and sent us pictures. She was determined to stay in Ukraine and try to improve things. Along with Russian/Ukrainian, she learned English and Chinese. Then after a while she gave up and decided to take advantage of the fact her grandfather was Jewish (and fought with the partisans in WW2) and immigrated to Israel. Now she's added Hebrew to her list of languages and lives in Tel Aviv.

"... scholarship from the US government. She later participated in the orange revolution in the Maidan"


"Man with a Movie Camera" is really neat, but I think I'd take "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" as my favorite Ukrainian movie.

"It's a really impressive place for Russians to work and others to flee from!"

I miss Vassily Ivanchuk in that list

Accurately described as my favourite things "Ukraine," rather that Ukrainian. I note that, of the musicians mentioned at 1 and 1b (and I can say with high confidence that I have almost all the recordings of all of them), not a one of them would have self-described as a Ukrainian.

Personally, I think that's a shame, but it is what it is.

Interestingly, most of that list came from Odessa or its environs (and Richter moved there). That city is really sui generis, and probably not fairly described as either Ukrainian or Russian. Must have been something in the water.

> Must have been something in the water.
Mostly explained by Odessa being a large international trading port and by the legal disabilities imposed on Jews in the Russian Empire under the Pale of Settlement.

Yes, that goes as well for Joseph Roisman and Boris Kroyt, who made up half of the Budapest String Quartet. Both Odessa-born. The other half, Mischa and Alex Schneider, were, naturally, Lithuanian. Nevertheless, the old quip by Jascha Heifetz was "One Russian is an anarchist, two Russians are a chess game, three Russians are a revolution, and four Russians are the Budapest String Quartet."

Lol. As Russian as Jascha Heifetz himself.

They would have all called themselves Russian Jews, or just Jews - not Ukrainians.

You omitted the Ukrainian Church, whose liturgy is as handsome and sublime as any you're likely to encounter. Also, decorative crafts are second to none.

My favorite Ukrainian thing is their flag, which is genuinely fantastic. It achieves with wheat and sky what Saskatchewan fot so closed to and yet failed to do. Antigua, which has a very unattractive flag is the only other country that tries such a thing.

Couldn't we more efficiently divide this list into two categories: Jews and anti-Semites?

I highly recommend the Russian Woodpecker documentary

What is your favorite Ukrainian borscht?

I understand that a libertarian economist needs to make a genuflection towards von Mises, but Marschak and Slutsky are more important to the profession as a whole. I had always been under the impression that Kuznets was from Ukraine, but on checking he was born in present-day Belarus.

Choosing between Gilels and Richter among pianists would be nearly impossible for me. David Oistrakh will always be my favorite among violinists, while Jascha Horenstein was a marvelous conductor.

I wonder if even 10% of the people on this list would have defined themselves as Ukrainian?

What is "Ukrainian?" Remember that Ukraine technically only existed when it first declared its independence with the invasion of Bolsheviks in late 1917. My 19th century ancestors called themselves Ukrainians later in life when in the US, but before then called themselves Lemkos or Ruthenians and sometimes even just citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. My family over there now lives in what is Poland (shifting boundaries) Poland and considers its heritage Polish -- even though we have common ancestors. The fact that someone lived in what is now Ukraine says only something about their heritage. About 18% of Ukraine now is of Russian heritage. The bulk of these live in eastern Ukraine (and Crimea).

I agree that Prokofieff is better classified as Russian. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Cherkassy left Russia at about 8 because of the revolution. He was taught by his mother, who had connections with the St. Petersburg Conservatory. I'm not sure what he considered himself but he lived mostly in the US. Gilels at an early age went back and forth between the Odessa and Moscow conservatories but clearly aligned himself with Russia as an adult. DePachmann was of Russian-German ethnicity, though born in Odessa. Simon Barere was born in Odessa, studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, but he also taught at the Kiev Conservatory. Wikipedia describes him as Russian. Moiseiwitsch is described as a Russian/Ukrainian born British pianist.

I am 100% by blood a "Ukrainian," pretty unusual in the US. Naturally, even my father, born in the US, considered himself nothing other than an American. Our family was acquainted with people who were nationalistic Ukrainian, but our family thought that was was kind of silly. I am very disappointed in Ukraine right now. After considerable reading, I see its government as actively promoting anti-Semitism under the guide of nationalism. There is also a lot of discrimination against Russian ethnicity in Ukraine -- curtailing Russian language education, banning some performances by Russian groups and musicians. Ukraine is turning inward and backwards at a time when its sick economy needs to be looking outward and forward. (Actually, trade between Ukraine and Russia seems to be healthy; the tragic irony of its war with Russia is that there is a large military trade between the two countries.)

As to Ukrainian composers, I have looked in vain for good ones. Silvestrov is at best a minor composer. I doubt his works will be remembered for long. Dmitiri Tiomkin was born in Ukraine, but studied in Russia under people like Glazunov. In any event, he spent most of his life in America. To me, Ukraine's current nationalistic fervor suggests an emptiness, perhaps a feeling of inferiority.

Ruthenians are a seriously distinct ethnicity, even as in today's Ukraine they get classified as "Ukrainian," while between WW I and WW II they were classified as "Slovak," when what is now Trans-Carpathian Ukraine was the easternmost province of Czechoslovakia (and they briefly had their own republic in 1939).

There are (or were a few decades ago) two separate Ruthenian neighborhoods in Chicago, one for the Catholics and one for the Orthodox.

Ukraine's GDP is growing at a slow but healthy 3+%. Trade with Russia is shrinking. The Russian language has proved itself time and again to be a vehicle for propaganda that leads to wars, so as far as curtailing its influence - sorry not sorry (and I'm saying this as a native Russian speaker from Ukraine).

And then when you say that Ukraine is anti-Semitic - you give away your sources. Because this is one of the main lines of the Kremlin, and no serious reporter agrees with that. Yes, units like Azov include some really nasty characters. Yes, the government could do a better job of prosecuting hate crimes. But even with that, the reality is that Ukraine is one of the least anti-Semitic countries in Eastern Europe. See here:

"There is also a lot of discrimination against Russian ethnicity in Ukraine -- curtailing Russian language education...."

The Russians have somewhere else to go if they desperately want Russian language education. At all other times in the region's history, it was the Russians curtailing Ukrainian language education, and they were a hell of a lot less polite as to how they went about it than the Ukrainians are today.

And, by the way, if you think Ukraine's nationalistic fervor suggests emptiness, what does the equivalent rampant Russian nationalistic fervor suggest to you?

"The Russians have somewhere else to go if they desperately want Russian language education"

Go home foreigner!

Questions to ask officials:
Why is Ukraine's population dropping so much? The loss of Crimea is only a part of the explanation. One analysis is here: The 2018 population estimate is 42.4 million. One source says 4 million Ukrainian citizens now live in Poland and Russia because of better employment conditions. Ukraine's wildly fluctuating GDP may be another reason. Imagine if the US's GDP dropped by 50% in two years as it did in Ukraine between 2013-15.

A second issue is -- how do its citizens feel about Ukraine? There is such a thing as the World Happiness Report and it is written by some serious minded people. Out of 156 measured countries, where would you expect this European country to be listed? 138th. Just behind Sudan. But hey, it's ahead of Yemen and Afghanistan!

Regarding the matter of von Mises as Ukrainian, I think this is maybe the greatest stretch of any of the figures you listed, Tyler. Where he was born and raised was part of the Galician province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and had been for a long time. The rural population indeed was largely Ukrainian, mostly adherents of the Greek Catholic "Uniate" Church, with ironically Ukrainian nationalism starting with this population and this area, now far western Ukraine, the base for the most fervent Ukrainian nationalists. As it was, the largest city, then Lemberg while later Lvov and Lviv (and ruled by Poland between WW I and WW II, except for a few years) was overwhelmingly Polish and Jewish in population, with none of those people remotely identifying themselves as "Ukrainian," certainly not prior to WW I when von Mises would have lived there. That population was either expelled after WW II (Poles to Wroclae from whence the previous German population was expelled west from the former Brslau) or left earlier or was killed by the Nazis, the Jewish population.

You mention Poles and Jews, and there were even Ukrainians in Lemberg (though not many, to be sure). Not a lot of "Austrians" living there, and yet all of them were Austrian.

Mises is thus only Austrian by virtue of the then political designation of Galicia, and of course because he moved to Vienna. It's now under Ukrainian rule, so we can say he was born in a city that is in modern Ukraine. And Tyler didn't say he was Ukrainian. This post is about "things Ukraine." Calling Mises an Austrian is akin to calling Bartok an Austrian - that is: "yes ... but ...."

Maybe we should agree to call Mises an American.

There was no ethnicity called „Austrian“ prior to 1918. Austrians who spoke German were generally called „Germans“, or more likely „Tyrolian“, „Bohemian“, etc.

The name „Austria“ was essentially synonymous with House Habsburg and was so problematic that there were numerous proposals to find a new name for the rump majority German speaking territory left behind in 1919: „German Austria“, „Alpine Republic“, „German Alpenland“, and plenty more. The Nazis notoriously renamed it „Ostmark“ after the Anschluss.

It is true that prior to the dissolution of the Habsburg empire there was great ambiguity regarding the identity of a German-speaking Austrian. But regarding the Nazi name "Ostmark," it should be noted that this was simply a minor modification of the actual German name for Austria, namely "Oesterreich," which means "East Reich" or "East Kingdom," with that name dating back to Charlemagne and denoting that Austria was the eastern end of the Holy Roman Empire, which eventually more or less became covalent with the Habsburg empire, although the Holy Roman Empire would be formally dissolved by Napoleon after 1800. Hitlerwas obsessed with the Holy Roman Empire, the "First Reich," with the "Second Reich" being the German Empire established in the late 1800s but ended at the end of WW I, with his regime to be the Third Reich. That Hitler himself was originally Austrian just adds to the confusion and ironies.

And let's not forget that Ukraine metal scene!

Violinists: You’ve got Nathan Milstein, Mischa Elman, Isaac Stern, Leonid Kogan, the Oistrakhs, among others,

Ukrainians? Really, Tyler? That's ridiculous. If you don't know better then all your intellectual pretensions are nonsense.

Let me try and expand on your objection:

Soros is not Hungarian.
Einstein was not German.
Bernie Sanders is not American.

How am I doing?

Don't forget: Chess - Ivanchuk!

Someone said Russian-Ukrainian trade was decreasing? Not according to this story from the Kiev Post:

Lviv a great Ukrainian city? For how long? I know nothing about it, except I was in Poland, Warsaw, on 1 August, last week, and over there they seemed to insist it is historically a Polish city, if Lvov is the same place and I’m not totally confused by Slavic spelling..

I can see the NYC-style T-shirt:

I (heart)

Don't forget favorite athlete
Sergey Bubka
His impressive pole vault record was broken incrementally multiple times to maximize the Soviet prize money.

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