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     Countries where a West Slavic language is the national language      Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language      Countries where a South Slavic language is the national language

Slavic Europe is a region of Europe where Slavic languages are spoken. This area corresponds, more or less, to Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and consists of: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the disputed territories of Transnistria and Kosovo, and Ukraine. It may also include the Baltic states which have considerable Slavic populations, and knowledge of Slavic languages (particularly Russian). Latvia is 40.8% Slavic, (including 28.4% Russian), and 76.7% of the population of Latvia can fluently speak Russian. 28.9% of Estonia is Slavic (mostly Russian), and 14.3% of Lithuania is Slavic (mostly Polish). Also included is Lusatia in eastern Germany, homeland of the Sorbs and parts of Carinthia, Vienna, and Burgenland in Austria, which are home to historic Slavic minorities in what are majority non-Slavic nations.

Contents

Idea of Slavic unity in history

Throughout the late Middle and early Modern Ages, many Slavs were under foreign rule. Whilst the western Slavs were dominated by German Empires, South and East Slavs served as a buffer from Mongol attacks onto the rest of Europe, falling under Asiatic rule for a few centuries.

In the 19th century, the consolidation of a national ideology searched for the ancestry of ethnic groups; one of the movements was called Pan-Slavism and it tried to unite nations of Slavic origins to a common interest and develop a common identity. These efforts failed for a number of reasons, one of them being attempts of Imperial Russia to take it over in order to justify its territorial expansion and the subjugation of nations of Slavic origin such as the Ukrainians or Poles. Another fact was due to independent developments amongst Slavic peoples and the development of antagonisms between them. Thirdly, due to divergent interests between various groups; for example, the Poles repressed the freedom of the Ukrainians both religiously and culturally. Also, while certain Slavic nations such as the Czechs and Slovaks in the Austro-Hungarian Empire desired Russian protection and wanted its dissolution, the Poles, comparing their Austrian partition to the Russian or Prussian one, preferred the relative freedom they enjoyed under Austrian rule.

With the Soviet Union came another period of attempts to use the idea of Slavic unity for political purposes, and post-war Soviet propaganda often made use of Pan-slavist ideology, while before WW II, Poland‘s repressive policy created a great deal of resentment amongst its populous Belarusian and Ukrainian minorities. See also Polish-Ukrainian War in which the Ukrainians fought for independence from Poland.

Due to the past, historical sympathy for the idea of a Slavic identity and unity is found mostly in Russia, while in many other countries the idea is part of the fringe of politics, with people having no interest or desire for such concepts and viewing them as part of Soviet-dominated politics aimed at the area of Central and Eastern Europe.

Religion and culture

     Slavic language is the national/official language      Slavic language is co-official      Slavic language is unofficial, but significantly used
Predominancy of Orthodox Christianity

The two main religions within countries with Slavic populations are Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Religious areas are clearly divided between the West Slavic and East Slavic regions. Besides divisions of religion there are also isions of culture and political orientations. Over time nations with West Slavic origins increasingly patterned their thought and institutions on Western models in areas of thought ranging from philosophy, artistic style, literature, and architecture to government, law, and social structure, Eastern Slavs developed their culture fluenced by the once one of the most powerful Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). For example, while Western Slavic people use Latin alphabet, Eastern Slavic people use Cyrillic (a larger alphabet inspired by and mixing Greek and Latin characters). South Slavs are split in that respect, with the Catholic Slovenes and Croats (as well as the Muslim Bosnians) using the Latin alphabet, while the Orthodox Serbs and Bulgarians use the Cyrillic alphabet).

See also

Endnotes

  1. ^ Michael Fleischer: Niemcy, Europa, USA i Rosja w polskim systemie kultury, Wrocław 2004
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