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Thread: Ethnicity

  1. #1
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    Ethnicity

    I've had this question lingering around for awhile. Here goes: My grandfather came here to the US many many years ago with his parents from somewhere around the Dniepr in Ukraine (though they considered themselves Russian). My question is: if he is therefore Slavic - and his family name ends in -енко, then why does he have dark dark skin, somewhat dark hair, and not blue eyes? He almost looks maybe Mongoloid, though he has huge ears and nose. Is this common in Ukraine/Russia? Are/were people of this type lower class? I've always wondered.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Re: Ethnicity

    Russia is big and has various population so everything is possible. As for Ukraine, Mongoloid ("narrow") eyes are not typical here. Black hairs (and black eyes) are normal: the "standard" of Ukrainian folk beauty, unlike Russian one, has black hairs. Dark skin: it depends on how much dark. There are people looking like average Turkish and they do not look much unusual. There are also many gypsies everywhere, they easily change ethnic names, religion and, sometimes even identity, still something remains unchanged. There are many jews with dark skin and black hairs who also can have Ukrainian surnames. Nothing can say about huge ears and nose. %)

    No connection between "class" and appearance here definitely. Though gypsies and jews are always specific matter but it depends strongly on their actual way of life.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Ethnicity

    May be some of his ancestors were Crimean tatars? Till the end of XVIII century Northern coast of Black sea were under protectorate of Osman Empire and mostly inhabited by turks and Crimean tatars. Russians (btw, term "Ukrainians" became widesread only in the beginning of XX century, until then Ukrainians considered themselfs ethnically Russians, maybe exept those, who lived in the western regions, wich were part of Austro-Hungarian Empire) started to colonize this region (northern coast of Black sea) only in XVIII century, it was called Новороссия (New Russia), unlike the inner part of modern Ukraine, the lands around Dniepr, wich historically was called Малороссия (Small Russia).
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  4. #4
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    Re: Ethnicity

    There is a novel called "Тихий Дон" where the author describes a cossack who brought himself a Turkish woman who became his wife. And thus his kids had some Turkish blood. I do not mean that your ancestors were Turks, it is just an example of how traces of various ethnicities can be mixed in people despite their having a specific national surname. Also, FYI in pre-revolution Russia there was no official concept of 'ethnicity', only of religous affiliation. Hope this helps.

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