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*Rodiči – *Ruotsi – Rusʼ: Critical Notes to the New Etymology of an Old Ethnonym

[*Rodiči – Ruotsi – Rus’: kriticheskie zametki k novoi etimologii starogo etnonima]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150016701-1

Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 14.10.2020

Accepted: 25.05.2021

About author(s)

Kirill Maksimovich | http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0982-3495 | kirmaksimovic@gmail.com | Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (Saarstraße 21, 55099 Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)


diachronic linguistics, etymology, ethnonymics, Rusʼ, Ruotsi, Norman theory, anti-Normanism


The article seeks to critically analyze (primarily from the linguistic viewpoint) the new etymology of the ethnonym Rusʼ which had been recently suggested by G.V. Dzibel. To his view, the name Rusʼ must have been derived from the Common Slavic word *rodiči intermediated through the Finnish Ruotsi “Swedes”: rodičiRuotsiRusʼ. Methods of diachronic linguistics (first of all, those of etymology and historical semantics) as well as those of source criticism detect in this hypothesis a number of exaggerations, unproved assertions and evident mistakes. The weakest element in the new etymology seems to be the thesis of the Finnish Ruotsi “the Swedes” as the intermediary between the primitive etymon rodiči and the resulting Rusʼ, for the Slavic *rodiči could have produced in Finnish nothing but *Ruotisi. The absence of the vowel i (after t) in Ruotsi makes the etymology of Dzibel completely fantastic. The author comes to the conclusion that the most plausible etymology of Rusʼ remains the one which dates from the mid-twentieth century: from the Common Slavic *roud-sь “(the community of) people with red hair”.


Maksimovich, K.A. 2021. *Rodiči – *RuotsiRusʼ: Critical Notes to the New Etymology of an Old Ethnonym [*RodičiRuotsiRus’: kriticheskie zametki k novoi etimologii starogo etnonima]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 99–105. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150016701-1

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