Aralsk 7: The USSR’s Anthrax Island

Aralsk 7: The USSR’s Anthrax Island


It was once one of the most secret places
in the world. Vozrozhdeniya island in the Aral Sea spent
decades hidden behind a cloak of Soviet denials about its very existence. It appeared on no official maps, was never
referred to by name, and was closed off to all but a handful of scientists. To those in the know, though, it was a place
of nightmares. An island that may have looked idyllic from
afar but, up close, held a deadly secret. What that secret was, you can probably guess
from Vozrozhdeniya’s nickname: Anthrax Island. For four decades during the Cold War, Anthrax
Island lay at the heart of Soviet bioweapons testing. Out on the wind-blasted steppe, animals would
be tied up by the hundreds and exposed to weaponized smallpox, genetically engineered
plague, or virulent strains of anthrax. While those on the shores lived in blissful
ignorance, scientists created microbes capable of destroying all life on Earth multiple times
over. In the Geographics today, we’re journeying
to one of the Soviet Union’s most dangerous ruins… and lifting the lid on its deadliest
secrets. The Vanished Island
If you travel out to the remote border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, you’ll encounter
a vast desert filled with the rotting hulks of abandoned ships. This desert is all that remains of the Aral
Sea, an inland sea that was once the size of Ireland, but is now an ecological disaster
zone thanks to decades of Soviet mismanagement. But for all the dead Aral Sea may appear to
be the USSR’s worst legacy in Central Asia, there’s an argument that that dubious honor
should go to one of the former sea’s former islands. Now almost completely cut off from the remaining
waters, Vozrozhdeniya Island today looks no less grim than the rest of the Aral Sea. But deep within its soil, an invisible enemy
still lurks. One potentially powerful enough to kill untold
numbers. It’s on Vozrozhdeniya that the last spores
of Soviet anthrax may still remain. First discovered in the 19th Century, the
Vozrozhdeniya of the 1920s was almost the polar opposite of the wasteland that exists
today. Surrounded by azure waters and populated by
idyllic fishing villages, it was pretty much an easy shorthand for paradise. Even its name was positive. Vozrozhdeniya translates as “Rebirth Island”,
which sounds like exactly the sort of hippie hangout the Beatles might’ve dropped acid
on. But for the newly-installed Soviet regime,
quaint fishing villages, unspoilt beaches and chilled names weren’t the primary thing
they were looking for in an island. No, they were looking for somewhere remote. Somewhere hot. Somewhere they could conduct secret tests
without being noticed. On the 200km square Vozrozhdeniya, they found
it. Beginning in the 1930s, the Soviets started
removing all the fishermen from their quaint villages, and replacing them with not-so-quaint
scientists. By 1948, they’d even built a little laboratory
to experiment on germs. But it wasn’t until 1954 that Vozrozhdeniya
really found its awful purpose. That year, Moscow decided to massively expand
the little laboratory, turning it into a thriving research center named Aralsk-7. This new scientific base would have one goal
only. To create the deadliest bioweapons the planet
had ever seen. As the new facilities grew, hundreds and hundreds
of scientists were brought there, until the island was home to some 1,500 people. By all accounts it was a good life. The specially built town of Kantubek had stadiums,
schools, cinemas, and shops stocked with items you simply couldn’t get elsewhere in the
USSR. After work, everyone on the island would congregate
on the beaches, enjoying the Aral Sea’s blue waters and burning sun. It makes an odd contrast, doesn’t it? Seeing these smiling, happy people, playing
in the Sea. Knowing they’re the same ones who just hours
earlier were spraying smallpox, Q-Fever, and plague across the island’s testing range. But then human history is full of warnings
for those who would mess around with dark forces. Those smiling, happy people couldn’t have
known it, but their work would soon destroy their island paradise. On the Testing Grounds
While life thrived in the city of Kantubek, just 15km south things were looking a lot
less rosy for anything with a pulse. It was here that Aralsk-7’s testing grounds
were based, up on a vast desert plateau. The location was chosen because the extreme
heat – over 60C in the sand – would kill most microbes. There were also few wild animals that could
carry a virus to the mainland. Domestic animals, on the other hand, were
there by the bucketload. The thing with bioweapons is that you kinda
have to test them on living creatures to make sure they work. At Aralsk-7, this meant the usual array of
rabbits, pigs, and donkeys being exposed to the germs. But it also meant the Soviets experimenting
on the animals closest to humans. According to former lead researcher, Gennadi
Lepyoshkin, Aralsk-7 conducted experiments that killed anywhere between 200 and 300 monkeys
a year. Life for the poor creatures must’ve been
a whole lotta confusing. Arriving at the lab, they would be fed on
fresh fruit: bananas, oranges, and other gastronomic luxuries that the Soviet scientists experimenting
on them couldn’t dream of affording. Then, just when the monkeys were used to their
new lives of unparalleled luxury, they would be taken out onto the steppe, locked in tiny
metal cages, and exposed to the nastiest diseases nature had to offer. A couple of weeks later, those same monkeys
would be corpses in a lab, chopped up by scientists intent on seeing what their bioweapons could
do. And what those bioweapons were capable of
is the sort of thing that would give your immune system nightmares. Using the latest advances in genetic engineering,
the team at Aralsk-7 created a form of bubonic plague that couldn’t be detected by conventional
tests. A strain of tularemia that could resist almost
any drug. They even designed a type of Legionnaires
disease that wouldn’t show any symptoms until it was far, far too late to save you. One source we read described this as the biowarfare
equivalent of a silenced pistol. But the worst of all was the anthrax. Although actual anthrax production was farmed
out to other Soviet labs – such as the infamous Compound-19 – it was here in Aralsk-7 that
some of the freakiest breakthroughs were made. It was here that antibiotic-resistant anthrax
was cultivated. Here that scientists crossed anthrax with
Bacillus cereus so the disease would rot your flesh even as it killed you. They even reduced the size of the spores to
a mere 5 micrometers. Normally, anthrax spores are a little too
large for effective inhalation. They can get trapped in human nostrils. But not the Aralsk-7 version! A whiff of that would be guaranteed to reach
your lungs. And, once anthrax reaches your lungs, it has
a 90% chance of killing you. We should mention here that the Soviets weren’t
the only ones trying to create nightmares in petri dishes. The US and UK both enthusiastically experimented
with anthrax, until it had gotten so cost-effective that they could kill everyone in a 1km radius
for a dollar a pop. Because of this, America, Britain, and the
USSR finally came together in April, 1972, to sign a joint treaty banning bioweapons. But while the US and UK would abide by that
agreement, the Soviets wouldn’t even pause. It was in the 1970s that Aralsk-7 became ground
zero for some of the creepiest incidents in military history. Legends of Death
It was a hot day in 1971 when scientists aboard the research vessel Lev Berg realized something
strange was up. The vessel was conducting research in the
Aral Sea, and had drifted within 15km of Vozrozhdeniya Island. Now a weird brown haze was coming towards
them across the water, settling over their boat. Since it had no bad smell, no nasty taste,
the researchers shrugged it off. One of the scientists onboard even went out
in the haze to conduct her tests. The unfortunate sailors aboard the Lev Berg
had no way of knowing it, but their little boat had just been engulfed by a cloud of
weaponized smallpox. Of all the diseases you really don’t want
to come down with, smallpox should be very high on the list. It’s not only that it causes intense vomiting,
fever, and awful pain. It’s not only that it kills 30% of those
it infects after covering their bodies in puss-filled sores. It’s that those who survive then have to
deal with possible blindness, and carrying dreadful scars for the rest of their lives. Not long after going out into that brown haze,
the female researcher on the Lev Berg returned to her home city. There she fell ill with smallpox. Before the Soviet authorities could set up
a quarantine, she’d infected 9 more people. Of the ten cases, three would die, including
her younger brother. The weirdest part of all this? The unnamed woman had already been vaccinated
for smallpox. But then that’s the sort of place Vozrozhdeniya
Island was, a place where unexplained things happened. Starting in 1970, for example, local fishermen
began dragging whole nets full of dead fish from the sea around the island. In 1972, one of these fishermen’s boats
was found drifting in the Aral Sea, seemingly abandoned. When locals went aboard to investigate, they
found the ship’s two owners, both dead from Bubonic plague. Then there was the incident of May, 1988. In a single hour, a herd of antelope on a
nearby steppe all succumbed to a mysterious illness. Fifty thousand died in under sixty minutes,
and to this day no-one knows why. But creepy as these legends are, the most
terrifying tale from the Soviet bioweapons program would actually happen several hundred
kilometers away. OK, remember how we briefly mentioned “the
infamous Compound-19” earlier? Well, that Compound was where Soviet scientists
took the advances made at Aralsk-7 and used them to brew gigantic vats of anthrax. Unlike Aralsk-7, though, Compound-19 was located
near a major population center: the city of Sverdlovsk, now known as Yekaterinaberg. In early April, 1979, an air filter at Compound-19
broke down and wasn’t replaced. By the time anyone had noticed, a cloud of
anthrax had leaked out into the wild. That day, the winds were blowing towards Sverdlovsk. Spores of anthrax drifted over the countryside,
settled on the city’s outskirts. In the weeks that followed, scores of civilians
came down with anthrax. While exact numbers are hard to come by, it’s
estimated that between 68 and 105 people died. While the Soviets officially blamed infected
meat sold on the black market, party bosses were all too aware of how close a call it
had been. Had the wind been blowing slightly harder
that day, the spores would’ve been blown right into the city center. Thousands upon thousands could’ve died,
in what would’ve been the bioweapons equivalent of Chernobyl. In the aftermath of actual Chernobyl, the
Party seemed to recognize this. Compound-19 was quietly closed down in 1988,
and all its anthrax stocks sent to the safest, remotest location the USSR could think of. And that’s how over 200 tons of weaponized
anthrax wound up being dumped on Vozrozhdeniya Island. Anthrax Island
Here’s something you need to know about anthrax. It’s really, really hard to kill. While smallpox will die out in the wild, anthrax
spores are basically the Incredible Hulk of the disease
world, surviving anything nature throws at it. To give you some idea of just how unkillable
anthrax is, the BBC reported that excavations at a Scottish hospital from medieval times
found spores still living in the ruins. So if you’re going to dump 200 tons of anthrax
onto a random island, you better make sure you do a good job of properly disposing of
it. But this is the Soviet Union we’re talking
about, where corner cutting and ass covering was all part of the culture. Rather than be destroyed, the anthrax was
simply poured into pits and buried. This wasn’t too big a deal so long as the
USSR was still around to stop random idiots from wandering into Aralsk-7. But, if the Soviet Union, say, suddenly collapsed,
it would become a really kinda huge deal. Want to guess what happened next? A three scant years after dumping all that
anthrax on Vozrozhdeniya, the USSR unceremoniously imploded. In a single day, all the scientists at Aralsk-7
were evacuated and the research labs set on fire. By the time the smoke cleared, the ruins of
Aralsk-7 no longer lay in the USSR, but divided between the newly-independent states of Kazakhstan
and Uzbekistan. And that meant trusting two brand new, chaotic
nations to keep a lid on the world’s largest stockpile of anthrax. Not that it was just anthrax the world needed
to worry about. In its decades of testing, Aralsk-7 had dumped
weaponized bubonic plague across the island. While the test sites had been sprayed with
poison first to stop any animals carrying the disease to the mainland, Soviet authorities
assumed some small mammals would’ve survived and been exposed to the plague. Of those, a fraction would’ve survived the
plague, and passed it onto the fleas living in their fur. Those fleas would’ve been capable of handing
it down across generations, leaving the possibility that highly engineered plague might also be
present on Vozrozhdeniya. This became an even bigger problem when the
end of the 1990s saw Vozrozhdeniya surrender its island status. The slow death of the Aral Sea had turned
it into a peninsula, connected to the mainland by a narrow land bridge. That meant that any idiot could wander into
the abandoned base, kick up some anthrax-laden sand and return to civilization carrying a
bacteria designed to spread as quickly and kill as many people as possible. Scary thought, huh? What’s even scarier is that no-one had any
damn idea what to do about it. It would take a world changing event to finally
decontaminate Anthrax Island for good. The Specter of Bioterror
If you didn’t live through it, it’s hard to accurately describe the sheer, numbing
anxiety of autumn, 2001. First there were the 9/11 attacks, which killed
nearly 3,000 Americans and left downtown New York and the Pentagon in ruins. But it was what came second that really changed
how the world thought about Vozrozhdeniya island. On October 2, 62 year old photojournalist
Bob Stevens was hospitalized in Florida. At first he was suspected of having meningitis,
but the reality quickly turned out to be much more terrifying. On October 4, Stevens was diagnosed with suffering
from anthrax. In the wake of his diagnosis, more people
connected to the media began coming down with the disease. By late October, it was clear that a bioterrorist
was at large in America. Anthrax-laden letters were being dispatched
to mailing rooms around the country. Coming so soon after 9/11, it looked like
everyone’s worst fears had been realized. Al-Qaeda now had access to biological WMDs. Ultimately, this fear would turn out to be
unfounded. Today, the 2001 anthrax attacks are attributed
not to radical Islamists, but to Bruce E. Ivins, a US government researcher who was
meant to be working on an anthrax vaccine. But in late 2001, with 17 people infected
and five dead, attention wasn’t on government workers with a grudge, but on places terrorists
could easily get anthrax. The ruins at Aralsk-7 were at the very top
of that list. With the case of the deadly letters still
unsolved, Washington dispatched a team of specialists to the Aral Sea. With the blessing of the Kazakh and Uzbek
governments, the US team excavated the 200 tons of buried spores and mixed them with
an extremely powerful powdered bleach. The entire process took four months but, by
the end, the Soviet anthrax buried on Vozrozhdeniya had been neutralized. Anthrax Island was no longer a threat. Or was it? A few years after the US team left Vozrozhdeniya,
British journalist Nick Middleton received rare permission to travel to the island to
shoot a documentary. He and his team wore biohazard suits complete
with air filters, but even these weren’t enough. Inside the ruined buildings of Aralsk-7, their
filters completely backed up after a mere 15 minutes – something that usually only happens
in the presence of very high concentrations of very bad stuff. They wound up evacuating the compound, but
not before making a terrifying discovery. There, in the buildings the Soviets had burnt
down before they left, were several dozen test tubes and petri dishes that had survived
the flames. Sealed, microscopic glass prisons, containing
God only knew what forgotten nightmares. The anthrax in the ground may have been neutralized
by the US team, but they had ignored the former labs. Far from being safe, Aralsk-7 could still
be as dangerous as ever. The Island that’s Not an Island
In 2017, an estimated 50,000 people joined a tour of the ruined reactor and ghost town
at Chernobyl, Ukraine. That’s a lot of people, and it’s only
grown since then. At time of recording, Chernobyl is on its
way to becoming Ukraine’s top tourist site. All of which may explain what seems to be
happening to Vozrozhdeniya Island. Today, the island is no longer an island,
or even a peninsula. With the Aral Sea effectively vanished, Vozrozhdeniya
has become just another part of the surrounding desert. That makes accessing it easier than at any
point in human history. It also means that there are those out there
looking to capitalize on the growing notoriety of Anthrax Island. In August, 2018, the Kazakh government officially
declared the island safe to visit. In early 2019, it was reported that the Uzbek
government was actively considering ways to turn it into a tourist site. It’s easy to see why the governments in
Astana and Tashkent might be tempted to take this route. Like Ukraine, they suffered terribly under
the Soviets, unwitting pawns in a system that abused their citizens and led to disaster. But while Ukraine is at least now making money
out of Chernobyl, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan remain largely ignored by Western tourism,
especially the area around the Aral Sea. And the remains of Vozrozhdeniya have a lot
in common with Chernobyl. The ghost town of Kantubek appears like a
desert version of Pripyat, a collection of ruined, time-trapped buildings being reclaimed
by nature while yellowed posters of Lenin look sternly on. The invisible nature of the disaster gives
everything a similar, silent air too. Just as radiation is something you can’t
see or feel, so too anthrax spores lurk below the level of human visibility. But there may also be a big difference. Chernobyl has been subjected to one of the
most rigorous cleanup processes in human history. The radiation pockets have been mapped and
those in the zone know precisely where they are. The same can’t be said of Anthrax Island. In the 1940s, the British government tested
anthrax on an island of its own, a strip of land off the coast of Scotland named Gruinard. Just a single year of testing made the island
so dangerous that it was closed off to everyone for fifty years. When it was finally decontaminated in the
1980s, it required the removal of the entire layer of topsoil, and the soaking of the ground
under 280 tons of formaldehyde. Cleanup took four years, and it was only because
Gruinard was so small that it was ever declared safe. Now compare Vozrozhdeniya, with its mere four
months of cleanup, and its vast size, where removing an entire layer of topsoil is simply
impossible. Think, too, of all the times anthrax was tested
here. How all it would take is for a small handful
of spores to survive, buried deep in the sand, to potentially trigger a future outbreak. Speaking to the BBC in 2017, Les Baillie,
an international expert on anthrax, and a former researcher at the UK’s bioweapons
facility Porton Down, made it clear how safe Vozrozhdeniya is likely to be. “Oh, there will still be anthrax there,
no problem,” he was reported as saying. “If the area floods the spores can float
back up and earthworms in the soil can move it around.” Aralsk-7 may be considered a future tourist
site, but the reality is that it’s still a potentially dangerous place. Anthrax spores nearly a century old have been
known to infect and kill people, or even cause outbreaks. When it comes to the invisible chimeras engineered
on Rebirth Island, who knows how long they could last? The decades of Soviet scientists engineering
ever-deadlier viruses and bacteria may be over, but their legacy still lives on.

100 Comments on "Aralsk 7: The USSR’s Anthrax Island"


  1. Why even do a video on this with the details it entails… this video should be destroyed along with any harmful synthetic bio weapons anywhere in the world. The rate were going, we wont need them…

    Reply

  2. atgaatgaag gtcagcttgg aggagtaaag tggacgagta agttgcgaat gaagtttgag
    caagttttct ttagatgggg atttattatt gttgttattg gttttctttt aggacgagca
    tatatattaa caaacatttt accgtttgca ctgccgtttt ttgctgctgt ttatgttatg
    aagcgggata aaatgccgct tgcattcttg gccctaatgg ggggcgcact gtcagtttcg
    atagataatt tattctttac ctttgcatct atttttactt tcttcattta taatatcttc
    tttagtcggt ttacacgtaa aactgttgga cttgttccat tccaagtatt tatctccgca
    ttaaccgcac atttagttgt cgtatatttt gcgcaacaaa cagtcaccat gtacgattta
    cttgttagta caattgaggc cgggcttagc ttcgtattaa ctatgatatt tttacaaagt
    gtcccgcttt tagtagaaag aaaagggaaa caacaagcct tagagacaga agaaattgtt
    tgtttaatta tattactagc atctgtttta acaggtacaa cagattggtt cgtatatgac
    gcttctattc aacatatttt tactaggtat ttagtgcttg tatttgcgtt tatcgcagga
    gcggctacag gatctacagt aggggtcgtc actgggttaa tattaagcct ggcaaatgtc
    tccagtttgt cccaacttag cctacttgct ttttctggat tgcttggtgg tttgttaaaa
    gaagggaagc gcataggtgt tagtttaggt ttattaattg ggacaagcct gattacgcta
    tatgtagaca agcaaacaaa cattgtgaca actttaatcg aatctggtgt ggcgattgct
    ttcttcttat taacaccgaa acttgttatg gatcgtattg ctaaatttat gccaggcaca
    caggagcatt cgcaagatca acaacagtat ttaagaagga tgcgtgatgt tacagcgaat
    aaaattaatc aatttgctaa tgtgtttgct gctttatcta atagcttttc tgtatatgga
    tacgtggagg aagaagataa agagacggag gcagatctgt tcttaagtac aattactgca
    aaaacatgtc aaacatgctt taaaaaggac caatgctggg tagttaattt cgataaaaca
    tacgattata tgaaacaaat aatgagtgaa acagaagagg ggacgttaca gcataatcgg
    aagttagttc gtgaatggga taagcattgt gtgagaggaa agaaagtgac ggatttagtg
    gcaggcgaat tagatcactt ctatgaggga caaaaattaa gaaaacaaat gaaagaaaat
    cgtagaatag tagcggagca actattgggt gtatcaaaag ttatggagga ttttgctaag
    gagatacaaa gagagcgaga aaaccatcaa gtacaggaag aacagattct gcaagcgttt
    cgtgattttg gtgtagaaat agagcatgtt gatatttatt gtttagatag aggaagtatt
    gatattgaaa tgttgattcc agttgcatct aatgaacacg gagagtgtga aaaattagtt
    gcaccgatgc tttctgatat tctaaaggaa aatatcgttg ttaagcatga agaaaaatct
    tcttatccga atggccacag cttaatatca tttggttcag caaaaacgta ttctcttgat
    acgggcttag ccacagctgc aaaaggcggt gggtttgttt caggtgattc ttatgcgatg
    atggatttaa gtgttggtaa atatgctctt gcgattagtg atggtatggg aaatgggcaa
    agagctcata tggagagtaa agaaacagtg aaattattac aaaaaatact tcaatcaggc
    attgatgaag aaatagcgat taagtctatt aactctattc tttctttaag aacaacagaa
    gagatgttta ctacgttaga tttagctatg gtagatttgc gggatgcgag tgcgaagttt
    ttaaagattg gatcgacgcc gagttttgtt aaacgcgcaa acaatatttt gaaaattgaa
    gcaagtaatt tgccgatggg aataattgag gatgttgaag ttgatgtagt gggtgagcaa
    ttaaaaacag gcgatatcct tattatgatg agcgatggga tttttgaggg agcgcaacat
    gtggagaatc atgaattatg gatgaagcgt aaaattaaag agttgcaaac tgaagatccg
    caagaaatcg ctgatatcat catggaagag gtaattcgct ctggtgatgg ttatataaat
    gatgatatga ctattgtagt ggcaaaagtg aagaaaaata tgccgaagtg ggctaccatt
    ccaattgtgg gaatgcaggc acaataa

    Reply

  3. Hey – last time you said “Nord VPN” was the “best” way to protect myself online – how can I believe you now?

    Reply

  4. Yeah bio weapons are just useless unless you can program them to only kill certain people, cause we all share this planet and there is a really good chance any weaponized virus or strain would end up nearly wiping out the human population, and then there is the risk of it evolving as they often do, and probably wiping out a lot of the animal kingdom. Those things scare the crap out of me.more than nukes

    Reply

  5. warning: pictures of people infected with severe cases of smallpox in the video.

    Your welcome youtube channel.

    Reply

  6. I was watching a video yesterday on THG channel. The History Guy was talking about a flea that was trapped in amber. Even though it's was a few million years old, scientist found active anthrax spores in it's throat and on it's mouth parts!

    Reply

  7. i wish this video was more images and photos and lees of your bald face.. it gets boring really fast

    Reply

  8. Did you guys play the black ops campaign to get inspiration for these videos? This is the second video uploaded recently that is about a location in the game.

    Reply

  9. "Today I found out" that you have these other channels going on… that don't even mention the one I know you best from. This is the kind of YouTube that keeps me from ever switching back to the cable box input…

    Reply

  10. When I came here – I subscribed. I love geography.
    Then I watched you
    …and then unsubscribed.
    You're annoying.

    Reply

  11. Note to self: Nuke the island. first nuke wave incinerates the topmost areas, 2nd and 3rd waves incinerate whatever is left. No less than 4 nukes per wave with a max of 20 for all waves combined. leave the island a sea of glass

    Reply

  12. The game by Raven software Soldier of Fortune 2 had the anthrax outbreak and the Soviet biopreparat as a backdrop.
    Mark Hamil also voiced one of the characters.
    "I can still hear the screams." One character says of the anthrax outbreak.

    Reply

  13. People like this that make these weapons that are going to end up killing everyone. I really wish people would stop trying to kill other people. I know Russia is cold and all but dang

    Reply

  14. I really get worried for a few minutes when I see Simon on a new channel. I always think someone is reposting his content on another channel… Then I think, "I've never seen this" and search and this is the only place it exists… I'm waiting for the video where he talks about how to clone yourself.

    Reply

  15. This dude is trying too hard to make all the money! But he is trying tho! That I can see! Lol. ANd there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m doing the same thing as well! Lol.

    Reply

  16. Why did the Soviets do everything so half assed? They screwed around with bio weapons, nuclear shit, and tons of other things and never seemed to put a lot of planning into things.

    Reply

  17. I guess a dream vacation would be Chernobyl, rebirth, and baikonur. Its name would be the call of duty tour lol

    Reply

  18. 0:36 This sounds like a metaphor for communism itself.
    Only those in the know really know what it means.
    Also, it looks good from afar, but up close…

    Reply

  19. The term "chopped up". when autopsy would do just fine.. Doesn't seem very scientific yourself, dick… Fix yo life

    Reply

  20. You should never call Ukraine "the Ukraine" … it's offensive and demeaning, as it was the term used during the USSR. Ukrainians hate when people call it the Ukraine, but are usually too polite to correct people.

    Reply

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