New word of the week

is материк, or ‘mainland’ in Russian.

In fact it isn’t a new word for me, it’s just very, very new in the context of Crimea and Ukraine.

Suddenly lots of people are talking about going to or coming from the Ukrainian mainland, whether it’s to do with Ukrainian soldiers leaving Crimea to serve elsewhere in the Ukrainian army, or supply of electricity and water, or delivery of medications and food, or the state of the roads and the road blocks.

Until a week or so ago, no one would have dreamed of calling Ukraine the mainland, to distinguish it from Crimea.

Of course, a lot of people in Crimea are calling Ukraine a different country already. It isn’t the mainland. It’s abroad.

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