Vilnius University is the oldest university in the Baltic states and one of the oldest in Northern Europe. It is the largest university in Lithuania; the university was founded in 1579 as the Jesuit Academy of Vilnius by Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, Stephen Báthory. It was the third oldest university in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the aftermath of the Third Partition of Poland and the November Uprising, the university was closed down and suspended its operation until 1919. In the aftermath of World War I the university saw failed attempts to restart it by Lithuania and invading Soviet forces, it resumed operations as Stefan Batory University in Poland, a period followed by another Soviet occupation in 1920, the less than two-years of the Republic of Central Lithuania, incorporated into Poland in 1922. Following Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, the university was administered by the Lithuanian authorities, after Soviet annexation of Lithuania, punctuated by a period of German occupation after German invasion of the Soviet Union, administrated as Vilnius State University by the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1945 the Polish community of students and scholars of Stefan Batory University was transferred to Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it resumed its status as one of the prominent universities in Lithuania; the wide-ranging Vilnius University ensemble represents all major architectural styles that predominated in Lithuania: Gothic, Renaissance and Classicism. The university has been known by many names during its history. Due to its long history of Jewish and Russian influence or rule, the city portion of its name is rendered as Vilna, Wilna or Wilno, in addition to Lithuanian Vilnius. 1579–1782: Alma Academia et Universitas Vilnensis Societatis Iesu. The Latin name is rendered into English as Jesuit College, or Academy of Vilnius. 1782–1803: Schola Princeps Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae: Principal School of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania 1803–1832: Imperatoria Universitas Vilnensis. Rendered into English as Imperial University of Vilnius 1832–1919: Closed by order of Tsar Nicholas I 1919–1939: Stefan Batory University 1940–1943: Vilnius University 1944–1955: Vilnius State University 1955–1990: Vilnius State University of Vincas Kapsukas1971–1979: Vilnius Order of the Red Banner of Labour State University of Vincas Kapsukas 1979–1990: Vilnius Orders of the Red Banner of Labour and Friendship of Peoples State University of Vincas Kapsukas 1990–present: Vilnius University In 1568, the Lithuanian nobility asked the Jesuits to create an institution of higher learning either in Vilnius or Kaunas.
The following year Walerian Protasewicz, the bishop of Vilnius, purchased several buildings in the city center and established the Vilnian Academy. The academy had three divisions: humanities and theology; the curriculum at the college and at the academy was taught in Latin. At the beginning of the 17th century there are records about special groups that taught Lithuanian-speaking students Latin, most using Konstantinas Sirvydas' compiled dictionary; the first students were enrolled into the Academy in 1570. A library at the college was established in the same year, Sigismund II Augustus donated 2500 books to the new college. In its first year of existence the college enrolled 160 students. On April 1, 1579, Stefan Batory King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, upgraded the academy and granted it equal status with the Kraków Academy, creating the Alma Academia et Universitas Vilnensis Societatis Iesu, his edict was approved by Pope Gregory XIII's bull of October 30, 1579. The first rector of the Academy was Piotr Skarga.
He invited many scientists from various parts of Europe and expanded the library, with the sponsorship of many notable persons: Sigismund II Augustus, Bishop Walerian Protasewicz, Kazimierz Lew Sapieha. Lithuanians at the time comprised about one third of the students, others were Germans, Poles and Hungarians. In 1575, Duke Mikołaj Krzysztof Radziwiłł and Elżbieta Ogińska sponsored a printing house for the academy, one of the first in the region; the printing house issued books in Latin and Polish and the first surviving book in Lithuanian printed in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was in 1595. It was Kathechismas, arba Mokslas; the academy's growth continued until the 17th century. The following era, known as The Deluge, led to a dramatic drop in the number of students who matriculated and in the quality of its programs. In the middle of the 18th century, education authorities tried to restore the academy; this led to the foundation of the first observatory in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in 1753, by Tomasz Żebrowski.
The Commission of National Education, the world's first ministry of education, took control of the academy in 1773, transformed it int
Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, its cultural and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union; until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC; the city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.
Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is said to be "The City of Dreams" because it was home to the world's first psychoanalyst – Sigmund Freud. The city's roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, the late-19th-century Ringstraße lined with grand buildings and parks. Vienna is known for its high quality of life. In a 2005 study of 127 world cities, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the city first for the world's most liveable cities. Between 2011 and 2015, Vienna was ranked second, behind Melbourne. In 2018, it replaced Melbourne as the number one spot. For ten consecutive years, the human-resource-consulting firm Mercer ranked Vienna first in its annual "Quality of Living" survey of hundreds of cities around the world.
Monocle's 2015 "Quality of Life Survey" ranked Vienna second on a list of the top 25 cities in the world "to make a base within."The UN-Habitat classified Vienna as the most prosperous city in the world in 2012/2013. The city was ranked 1st globally for its culture of innovation in 2007 and 2008, sixth globally in the 2014 Innovation Cities Index, which analyzed 162 indicators in covering three areas: culture and markets. Vienna hosts urban planning conferences and is used as a case study by urban planners. Between 2005 and 2010, Vienna was the world's number-one destination for international congresses and conventions, it attracts over 6.8 million tourists a year. The English name Vienna is borrowed from the homonymous Italian version of the city's name or the French Vienne; the etymology of the city's name is still subject to scholarly dispute. Some claim that the name comes from Vedunia, meaning "forest stream", which subsequently produced the Old High German Uuenia, the New High German Wien and its dialectal variant Wean.
Others believe that the name comes from the Roman settlement name of Celtic extraction Vindobona meaning "fair village, white settlement" from Celtic roots, vindo-, meaning "bright" or "fair" – as in the Irish fionn and the Welsh gwyn –, -bona "village, settlement". The Celtic word Vindos may reflect a widespread prehistorical cult of a Celtic God. A variant of this Celtic name could be preserved in the Czech and Polish names of the city and in that of the city's district Wieden; the name of the city in Hungarian, Serbo-Croatian and Ottoman Turkish has a different Slavonic origin, referred to an Avar fort in the area. Slovene-speakers call the city Dunaj, which in other Central European Slavic languages means the Danube River, on which the city stands. Evidence has been found of continuous habitation in the Vienna area since 500 BC, when Celts settled the site on the Danube River. In 15 BC the Romans fortified the frontier city they called Vindobona to guard the empire against Germanic tribes to the north.
Close ties with other Celtic peoples continued through the ages. The Irish monk Saint Colman is buried in Melk Abbey and Saint Fergil served as Bishop of Salzburg for forty years. Irish Benedictines founded twelfth-century monastic settlements. Evidence of these ties persists in the form of Vienna's great Schottenstift monastery, once home to many Irish monks. In 976 Leopold I of Babenberg became count of the Eastern March, a 60-mile district centering on the Danube on the eastern frontier of Bavaria; this initial district grew into the duchy of Austria. Each succeeding Babenberg ruler expanded the march east along the Danube encompassing Vienna and the lands east. In 1145 Duke Henry II Jasomirgott moved the Babenberg family residence from Klosterneuburg in Lower Austria to Vienna. From that time, Vienna remained the center of the Babenberg dynasty. In 1440 Vienna became the resident city of the Habsburg dynasty, it grew to become the de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire in 1437 and a cultural centre for arts and science and fine cuisine.
Hungary occupied the city between 1485 and 1490. In the 16th and 1
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries. The city stretches across fourteen islands. Just outside the city and along the coast is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago; the area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is the capital of Stockholm County. Stockholm is the cultural, media and economic centre of Sweden; the Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the country's GDP, is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. It is an important global city, the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region; the city is home to some of Europe's top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institute and Royal Institute of Technology. It hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the city's most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia.
The Stockholm metro, opened in 1950, is well known for the decor of its stations. Sweden's national football arena is located north of the city centre, in Solna. Ericsson Globe, the national indoor arena, is in the southern part of the city; the city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Australia. Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government and most of its agencies, including the highest courts in the judiciary, the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister; the government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag is seated in the Parliament House, the Prime Minister's residence is adjacent at Sager House. Stockholm Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the Swedish monarch, while Drottningholm Palace, a World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Stockholm, serves as the Royal Family's private residence. After the Ice Age, around 8,000 BC, there were many people living in what is today the Stockholm area, but as temperatures dropped, inhabitants moved south.
Thousands of years as the ground thawed, the climate became tolerable and the lands became fertile, people began to migrate back to the North. At the intersection of the Baltic Sea and lake Mälaren is an archipelago site where the Old Town of Stockholm was first built from about 1000 CE by Vikings, they had a positive trade impact on the area because of the trade routes they created. Stockholm's location appears in Norse sagas as Agnafit, in Heimskringla in connection with the legendary king Agne; the earliest written mention of the name Stockholm dates from 1252, by which time the mines in Bergslagen made it an important site in the iron trade. The first part of the name means log in Swedish, although it may be connected to an old German word meaning fortification; the second part of the name means islet, is thought to refer to the islet Helgeandsholmen in central Stockholm. According to Eric Chronicles the city is said to have been founded by Birger Jarl to protect Sweden from sea invasions made by Karelians after the pillage of Sigtuna on Lake Mälaren in the summer of 1187.
Stockholm's core, the present Old Town was built on the central island next to Helgeandsholmen from the mid-13th century onward. The city rose to prominence as a result of the Baltic trade of the Hanseatic League. Stockholm developed strong economic and cultural linkages with Lübeck, Gdańsk, Visby and Riga during this time. Between 1296 and 1478 Stockholm's City Council was made up of 24 members, half of whom were selected from the town's German-speaking burghers; the strategic and economic importance of the city made Stockholm an important factor in relations between the Danish Kings of the Kalmar Union and the national independence movement in the 15th century. The Danish King Christian II was able to enter the city in 1520. On 8 November 1520 a massacre of opposition figures called the Stockholm Bloodbath took place and set off further uprisings that led to the breakup of the Kalmar Union. With the accession of Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the establishment of a royal power, the population of Stockholm began to grow, reaching 10,000 by 1600.
The 17th century saw Sweden grow into a major European power, reflected in the development of the city of Stockholm. From 1610 to 1680 the population multiplied sixfold. In 1634, Stockholm became the official capital of the Swedish empire. Trading rules were created that gave Stockholm an essential monopoly over trade between foreign merchants and other Swedish and Scandinavian territories. In 1697, Tre Kronor was replaced by Stockholm Palace. In 1710, a plague killed about 20,000 of the population. After the end of the Great Northern War the city stagnated. Population growth halted and economic growth slowed; the city was in shock after having lost its place as the capital of a Great power. However, Stockholm maintained its role as the political centre of Sweden and continued to develop culturally under Gustav III. By the second half of the 19th century, Stockholm had regained its leading economic role. New industries emerged and Stockholm was transformed into an important trade and service centre as well as a key gateway point within Sweden.
The population grew during this time through immigration. At the end
The Riksdag is the national legislature and the supreme decision-making body of Sweden. Since 1971, the Riksdag has been a unicameral legislature with 349 members, elected proportionally and serving, from 1994 onwards, on fixed four-year terms; the constitutional functions of the Riksdag are enumerated in the Instrument of Government, its internal workings are specified in greater detail in the Riksdag Act. The seat of the Riksdag is at Parliament House, on the island of Helgeandsholmen in the central parts of Stockholm; the Riksdag has its institutional roots in the feudal Riksdag of the Estates, by tradition thought to have first assembled in Arboga in 1435, in 1866 following reforms of the 1809 Instrument of Government that body was transformed into a bicameral legislature with an upper chamber and a lower chamber. The most recent general election was held on 9 September 2018; the Swedish word riksdag, in definite form riksdagen, is a general term for "parliament" or "assembly", but it is only used for Sweden's legislature and certain related institutions.
In addition to Sweden's parliament, it is used for the Parliament of Finland and the Estonian Riigikogu, as well as the historical German Reichstag and the Danish Rigsdagen. In Swedish use, riksdagen is uncapitalized. Riksdag derives from the genitive of rike, referring to royal power, dag, meaning diet or conference; the Oxford English Dictionary traces English use of the term "Riksdag" in reference to the Swedish assembly back to 1855. The roots of the modern Riksdag can be found in a 1435 meeting of the Swedish nobility in the city of Arboga; this informal organization was modified in 1527 by the first modern Swedish king Gustav I Vasa to include representatives from all the four social estates: the nobility, the clergy, the burghers, the yeomanry. This form of Ständestaat representation lasted until 1865, when representation by estate was abolished and the modern bicameral parliament established. However, it did not become a parliament in the modern sense until parliamentary principles were established in the political system in Sweden, in 1917.
On 22 June 1866, the Riksdag decided to reconstitute itself as a bicameral legislature, consisting of Första kammaren or the First Chamber, with 155 members and Andra kammaren or the Second Chamber with 233 members. The First Chamber was indirectly elected by county and city councillors, while the Second Chamber was directly elected by universal suffrage; this reform was a result of great malcontent with the old Estates, following the changes brought by the beginnings of the industrial revolution, was no longer able to provide representation for large segments of the population. By an amendment to the 1809 Instrument of Government, the general election of 1970 was the first to a unicameral assembly with 350 seats; the following general election to the unicameral Riksdag in 1973 only gave the Government the support of 175 members, while the opposition could mobilize an equal force of 175 members. In a number of cases a tied vote ensued, the final decision had to be determined by lot. To avoid any reccurrence of this unstable situation, the number of seats in the Riksdag was reduced to 349, from 1976 onwards.
The Riksdag performs the normal functions of a legislature in a parliamentary democracy. It amends the constitution and appoints a government. In most parliamentary democracies, the head of state commissions a politician to form a government. Under the new Instrument of Government enacted in 1974, that task was removed from the Monarch of Sweden and given to the Speaker of the Riksdag. To make changes to the Constitution under the new Instrument of Government, amendments must be approved twice, in two successive electoral periods with a regular general election held in between. There are 15 parliamentary committees in the Riksdag; as of February 2013, 44.7 percent of the members of the Riksdag are women. This is the world's fourth highest proportion of females in a national legislature—behind only the Parliaments of Rwanda and Cuba – hence the second-highest in the developed world and among parliamentary democracies. Following the 2014 elections, in which the share of Liberal female members of parliament plunged and the Sweden Democrats more than doubled their seats, the figure dropped to 43,5%.
Only the Left Party has a majority of female MPs. Members of the Riksdag are full-time legislators with a salary of 66 900 SEK per month. According to a survey investigation by the sociologist Jenny Hansson, Members of the Riksdag have an average work week of 66 hours, including side responsibilities. Hansson's investigation further reports; the presidium consists of three deputy speakers. They are elected for a 4-year term. After holding talks with leaders of the various party groups in the Riksdag, the speaker of the Riksdag nominates a Prime Minister; the nomination is put to a vote. The nomination is rejected only if an absolute majority of the members vote "no"; this means the Riksdag can consent to a Prime Min
Kristianstad is a city and the seat of Kristianstad Municipality, Skåne County, Sweden with 40,145 inhabitants in 2016. During the last 15 years, it has gone from a garrison town to a developed commercial city, today attracting visitors in the summertime from Germany and The Netherlands; the city was founded in 1614 by King Christian IV of Denmark, the city's name means'Town of Christian', as a planned city after the burning of the nearby town of Vä and moving the city rights of the neighbouring town of Sölvesborg and Åhus to the new town. The purpose of the town was to safeguard the eastern half of the Danish province of Scania against any future raids from Sweden in the north, but as a symbol of the power of Christian himself. One of these raids had sacked the nearby town of Vä in 1612. Vä lost its charter and the people were moved to the new, better fortified city; the king founded the town of Christianopel in eastern Blekinge to serve a similar purpose. Construction of the towns was a great prestige project for the king, Kristianstad's church is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful buildings constructed by King Christian IV, or northern Europe's most beautiful Renaissance church.
This meant that the church was built larger than there was use for. The king wanted castle or fortress constructed inside the town but shortage of funds made this impossible, of the intendend castle only an arsenal was constructed which today serves as the main building of the local museum. In Christianstad the town planning of the Renaissance could be laid down for the first time at the foundation of the town; this makes the Kristianstad town centre of today easy to get around in. The city's coat of arms depicts two lions holding the King Christian IV's crowned insignia, the monogram C4; the coat of arms was only modified after the Swedish takeover following the 1658 Treaty of Roskilde in which the eastern third of Denmark was ceded to Sweden. The coat of arms is similar to the coat of arms of the former town of Christianopel in eastern Blekinge, a town founded by Christian IV. Since 1971, the coat of arms is used by Kristianstad Municipality. Kristianstad's coat of arms is one of the few coat of arms in the world depicting a foreign king's or queen's coat of arms.
A reason for the Swedes to continue using the old coat of arms could be its colours – blue and yellow. Pylyp Orlyk was after 1709 chosen as a Hetman in exile by the cossacks and the Swedish king Charles XII. While in Bender Orlyk wrote one of the first state constitutions in Europe; this Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk was confirmed by Charles XII and it names him as the protector of Ukraine. After 1714 Orlyk now together with several other cossacks followed the Swedish king Charles XII to Sweden. Orlyk with his family and about 40 other Cossacks arrived in Ystad, Sweden in late November 1715. After some months in Ystad they lived in the city of Kristianstad for some years. Orlyk wrote numerous proclamations and essays about Ukraine including the 1710 Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk. Kristianstad served as capital of Kristianstad County between 1719 and 1997, it now houses the regional parliament of the Skåne Regional Council. For a long time Kristianstad was a important garrison town, the A3 Wendes Artillery Regiment and the P6 South Scanian Infantry Regiment being the towns most prominent military units.
The town housed for many years the so-called Scanian Fortification Brigade. The Wendes Artillery Regiment served with distinction in the Napoleonic Wars. One of Sweden's higher courts of appeal was located in Kristianstad before being moved to Malmö in 1917. Sweden's lowest point, at 2.41 meters below mean sea level, is located in Kristianstad. Because of this, parts of the city have to be protected from flooding by a system of levees and water pumps. To expand the city, large areas of low-lying wetlands have had to be walled in to the east. To prevent future flooding of the city center, the existing levees are in the process of being reinforced and new levees against both Helge å and Hammarsjön are under construction. An extensive system of ponds and dams is under construction; the threat of flooding became substantial during late winter 2002, when the greater part of the public park Tivoliparken was under water. However, the wetlands around the city are starting to be regarded more as an asset, not least thanks to the creation of Kristianstads Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve.
Today the Vattenriket is a Unesco biosphere reserve. Kristianstad straddles the line between an oceanic climate and a humid continental climate typical of southern Sweden; the marine influence is greater during a season that averages above the freezing point. Summers are comparatively long by Swedish standards. Kristianstad has by now crossed a vital threshold, as the city and adjacent municipality, with a population of 80,000, in essence use no oil, natural gas or coal to warm homes and businesses throughout the extensive chilly winters, it is an absolute turnaround from 20 years ago. Absolut Vodka, owned by Pernod Ricard, is produced by the town of Åhus located within the municipality. Kristianstad was the main military seat in Scania for a long time, boosting military camps and trainings. After the reforms and military cutbacks of the 1990s all of these have been closed, although a new military presence is being established in nearby Rinkaby which holds an old military training ground. In and around Kristianstad are numerous enterprises concerned with agricul
Cossacks were a group of predominantly East Slavic-speaking people who became known as members of democratic, self-governing, semi-military communities, predominantly located in Eastern and Southern Ukraine and in Southern Russia. They inhabited sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper, Don and Ural river basins and played an important role in the historical and cultural development of both Ukraine and Russia; the origins of the first Cossacks are disputed, though the 1710 Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk claimed Khazar origin. The emergence of Cossacks is dated to the 14th or 15th centuries, when two connected groups emerged, the Zaporozhian Sich of the Dnieper and the Don Cossack Host; the Zaporizhian Sich were a vassal people of Poland–Lithuania during feudal times. Under increasing pressure from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, in the mid-17th century the Sich declared an independent Cossack Hetmanate, initiated by a rebellion under Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Afterwards, the Treaty of Pereyaslav brought most of the Cossack state under Russian rule.
The Sich with its lands became an autonomous region under the Russian-Polish protectorate. The Don Cossack Host, established by the 16th century, allied with the Tsardom of Russia. Together they began a systematic conquest and colonisation of lands in order to secure the borders on the Volga, the whole of Siberia and the Yaik and the Terek rivers. Cossack communities had developed along the latter two rivers well before the arrival of the Don Cossacks. By the 18th century Cossack hosts in the Russian Empire occupied effective buffer zones on its borders; the expansionist ambitions of the Empire relied on ensuring the loyalty of Cossacks, which caused tension given their traditional exercise of freedom, self-rule, independence. Cossacks such as Stenka Razin, Kondraty Bulavin, Ivan Mazepa and Yemelyan Pugachev led major anti-imperial wars and revolutions in the Empire in order to abolish slavery and odious bureaucracy and to maintain independence; the empire responded with ruthless executions and tortures, the destruction of the western part of the Don Cossack Host during the Bulavin Rebellion in 1707–08, the destruction of Baturyn after Mazepa's rebellion in 1708, the formal dissolution of the Lower Dnieper Zaporozhian Host in 1775, after Pugachev's Rebellion.
By the end of the 18th century Cossack nations had been transformed into a special military estate, "a military class". Similar to the knights of medieval Europe in feudal times or the tribal Roman auxiliaries, the Cossacks came to military service having to obtain charger horses and supplies at their own expense; the government provided only supplies for them. Cossack service was considered the most rigorous one; because of their military tradition, Cossack forces played an important role in Russia's wars of the 18th–20th centuries, such as the Great Northern War, the Seven Years' War, the Crimean War, Napoleonic Wars, the Caucasus War, numerous Russo-Persian Wars, numerous Russo-Turkish Wars and the First World War. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Tsarist regime used Cossacks extensively to perform police service, they served as border guards on national and internal ethnic borders. During the Russian Civil War and Kuban Cossacks were the first people to declare open war against the Bolsheviks.
By 1918 Russian Cossacks declared the complete independence and formed independent states, the Don Republic and the Kuban People's Republic. The Ukrainian State emerged. Cossack troops formed the effective core of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, Cossack republics became centers for the anti-Bolshevik White movement. With the victory of the Red Army, the Cossack lands were subjected to Decossackization and the Holodomor. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Cossacks made a systematic return to Russia. Many took an active part in post-Soviet conflicts. In Russia's 2002 Population Census, 140,028 people reported their ethnicity as Cossacks. There are Cossack organizations in Russia, Ukraine and the United States. Max Vasmer's etymological dictionary traces the name to the Old East Slavic word козакъ, kozak, a loanword from Cuman, in which cosac meant "free man", from Turkish/Turkic languages quazzaq rabble rouser, trouble maker, outcast rebel, from Tatar languages Kazak skinny bollard The ethnonym Kazakh is from the same Turkic root.
In modern Turkish it is pronounced as "Kazak". In written sources the name is first attested in Codex Cumanicus from the 13th century. In English, "Cossack" is first attested in 1590, it is not clear when new Slavic people apart from Brodnici and Berladniki started settling in the lower reaches of major rivers such as the Don and the Dnieper after the demise of the Khazar state. It is unlikely it could have happened before the 13th century, when the Mongols broke the power of the Cumans, who had assimilated the previous population on that territory, it is known that new settlers inherited a lifestyle that persisted there long before, such as those of the Turkic Cumans and the Circassian Kassaks. However, Slavic settlements in southern Ukraine started to appear early during the Cuman rule, with the earliest ones, like Oleshky, dating back to the 11th century. Early "Proto-Cossack" groups are reported to have come into existence within the present-day Ukraine in the mid-13th century as the influence of Cumans grew weaker, though some have ascribed their origins to as early as the tenth century.
Some historians suggest that the Cossack people were of mixed ethnic origins, descending from Russians, Belarusians, Turks and others who settled or passed through the vast Steppe. However some Turkologists arg
Belarus the Republic of Belarus known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres is forested, its major economic sectors are manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian People's Republic, conquered by Soviet Russia; the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922 and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Belarus lost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921.
Much of the borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939, when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were reintegrated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland, were finalized after World War II. During WWII, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources; the republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR; the parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's first president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled "Europe's last dictatorship" by some Western journalists, on account of Lukashenko's self-described authoritarian style of government. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy.
Elections under Lukashenko's rule have been criticized as unfair. Belarus is the last country in Europe using the death penalty. Belarus's Democracy Index rating is the lowest in Europe, the country is labelled as "not free" by Freedom House, as "repressed" in the Index of Economic Freedom, is rated as by far the worst country for press freedom in Europe in the 2013–14 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Belarus 157th out of 180 nations. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation. Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Russian; the Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The second-most widespread religion, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following.
Belarus is a member of the United Nations since its founding, the Commonwealth of Independent States, CSTO, EEU, the Non-Aligned Movement. Belarus has shown no aspirations for joining the European Union but maintains a bilateral relationship with the organisation, participates in two EU projects: the Eastern Partnership and the Baku Initiative; the name Belarus is related with the term Belaya Rus', i.e. White Rus'. There are several claims to the origin of the name White Rus'. An ethno-religious theory suggests that the name used to describe the part of old Ruthenian lands within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, populated by Slavs, Christianized early, as opposed to Black Ruthenia, predominantly inhabited by pagan Balts. An alternate explanation for the name comments on the white clothing worn by the local Slavic population. A third theory suggests that the old Rus' lands that were not conquered by the Tatars had been referred to as "White Rus'"; the name Rus is conflated with its Latin forms Russia and Ruthenia, thus Belarus is referred to as White Russia or White Ruthenia.
The name first appeared in Latin medieval literature. In some languages, including German and Dutch, the country is called "White Russia" to this day; the Latin term "Alba Russia" was used again by Pope Pius VI in 1783 to recognize the Society of Jesus there, exclaiming "Approbo Societatem Jesu in Alba Russia degentem, approbo." The first known use of White Russia to refer to Belarus was in the late-16th century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey, known for his close contacts with the Russian Royal Court. During the 17th century, the Russian tsars used "White Rus" to describe the lands added from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the term Belorussia first rose in the days of the Russian Empire, the Russian Tsar was styled "the Tsar of All the Russias"