little empire

Little Russia (Russian: Малороссия/Малая Россия, romanized: Malaya Rossiya/Malorossiya; Ukrainian: Малоросія/Мала Росія, romanized: Malorosiia/Mala Rosiia), also known in English as Malorussia, Little Rus' (Russian: Малая Русь, romanized: Malaya Rus'; Ukrainian: Мала Русь, romanized: Mala Rus') and Rus' Minor (from Greek: Μικρὰ Ῥωσία, romanized: Mikrá Rosía), is a geographical and historical term used to describe the modern-day territories of Ukraine. The first use of such names has been attributed to Bolesław-Jerzy II, ruler of Ruthenia and Galicia-Volhynia, who in 1335 signed his decrees Dux totius Russiæ minoris.All of these names implied a distinction from a Russia proper. Terms such as "Little" and "Lesser" at the time simply meant geographically smaller and/or less populous. With time, "Little Russia" developed into a political and geographical concept in Russia, referring to most of the territory of modern-day Ukraine before the 20th century. Accordingly, derivatives such as "Little Russian" (Russian: Малороссы, Malorossy) were commonly applied to the people, language, and culture of the area. The Russo-Polish geographer and ethnographer Zygmunt Gloger in his "Geography of historic lands of the Old Poland" (Polish: "Geografia historyczna ziem dawnej Polski") explains that at the time the term "Little" was interchangeably with the word "new", and in his footnotes, he clearly states that, at least in 1903, Little Russia (Malorossia) was perceived in such manner. Prior to the revolutionary events of 1917, a large part of the region's élite population adopted a Little Russian identity that competed with the local Ukrainian identity.
After the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, and with the amalgamation of Ukrainian territories into one administrative unit (Ukrainian People's Republic), the term started to recede from common use. Today, the term is anachronistic, and many Ukrainians regard its usage as offensive.

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