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Who are Slavic People?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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The Slavic people are a race that descends from Indo-European roots that once shared a common language as well as area of descent. Today, the majority of these people — also called "Slavs" — live in Central and Eastern Europe. Slavic populations are particularly concentrated in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, the Republic of Macedonia, and Montenegro.

Today, their language roots and geographical locations are divided into West, East and South Slavic, further dividing the people. Those from a particular group tend to speak the language accorded to that area. Of course, with modern immigration, there are many people of Slavic descent living throughout the world, so it becomes more difficult to specifically define a “Slavic” people, according to language.

These people are thought to possibly have inhabited parts of Germany at one point, before migrating eastward, southward and northward in the 6th century. The first Slavic state was recognized in the 7th century and was ruled by Samo, who was not in fact, of Slavic origin. However, he supported the people in fighting oppression by the Avar rulers. This state was located in Moravia, a region now within the borders of the Czech Republic.

As a whole, the Slavic people became absorbed into the cultures that became more firmly established in the Middle Ages. They embraced Christianity very early, around the 6th century. Most of these people who are still residing in Europe and who are Christians are either Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox or Uniate. A few Slavs, like the Pomaks in Bulgaria, are Muslim.

Many Slavic people met their unfortunate demise in Poland during the Nazi occupation. Hitler hated the Slavs, and thus forced many into slave labor. In fact, one of the most devastating evils for this group at the hands of Hitler was his systematic killing of thousands of the best intellectuals in Poland who were of Slavic descent.

However, because the Slavs had holdings in parts of Russia that remained untouched by the Nazis, the race fared better than did the Jews during WWII. The culture is still known for its beautiful and elaborate costuming and folk dancing. As well, the first man in outer space, Yuri Gagarin, is of Slavic descent. Other famous Slavs include the author Leo Tolstoy, the composer Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the astronomer Mikołaj Kopernik, the geneticist Gregor Mendel, the scientist Marie Curie, and the inventor Nikola Tesla.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon1006283 — On Feb 23, 2022

As an American, we do not think Slavs are a race. They are an ethic group. Because we have so many races and ethnic groups that are part of our heritage it may sound like that, but really we are just trying to sort out who we are and learn about where our families came from traditions and folklore.

Also, it could be us just trying to learn about an area that is in the news or we hear about a lot. Most of us are pretty far removed from our European roots so we know very little about the people countries/regions of Europe.

By anon951848 — On May 18, 2014

Re: Frankofsky: It could originate in pretty much any slavic language.

It means more or less 'fathered by frank' or ' owned by frank'.

It's phonetic spelling, originally it spelled most likely as 'frankovsky' (in Czech/Russian) or 'frankowski' (Polish).

Since 'Frank' is not a Slavic name to start with, most likely this surname was created late in the history.

By anon940525 — On Mar 18, 2014

I just stumbled upon this webpage recently. My family name is Frankofsky. I was told it was of Slovak origin. I was wondering if only Neo-Nazis and Americans only use the word Slav then why in Slovak language does the word Slovan exist to mean Slav?

By anon938720 — On Mar 10, 2014

@marjohn1: It all depends in which Slavic language the letters are written. I speak Slovak, Czech and am trying to learn Russian. (Different country - different language). At the same time, I am not denying that some are similar.

By anon938717 — On Mar 10, 2014

@jasperman: Read and re-read your conversations. It is honestly easy to determine whether it is just a scam or not. If her messages are long and come in a relatively short time - scam. If she gives you a sad story about how she lost her parents and looks for true love - scam.

By anon341490 — On Jul 12, 2013

@anon310909: So Belarussians, for example, are not Slavic according to you? You also forgot Montenegrins, Macedonians and Bulgarians.

By anon310909 — On Dec 27, 2012

This is a weird answer given here. Actually the Slavs are the genetic group that Poles, Russians, Czechs, Ukranians, Croatians, Serbs, Slovaks belong to. Slavs are the ancestors of the native citizens of these lands in Central & Eastern Europe. Just like the Gauls are the ancestors of the French or the Anglo saxons are the ancestors of the English. When you hear the term Slav they may be talking about someone Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Croatian, a Czech or a Slovak.

By anon302684 — On Nov 11, 2012

Once again, the Slavs are not a "race". The only people who call them that are neo-nazis and Americans, apparently.

By anon283616 — On Aug 05, 2012

@anon205094: Yes, we are. From what I've read, and what I've come to understand, this page is barely scratching the surface of anything real.

By anon205094 — On Aug 11, 2011

Slavs are not a "race".

By marjohn1 — On Dec 27, 2010

For some reason letters from a Slavic woman who served in World War II have been entrusted to me. The letters date from 1920's to the 70's. I would really like to get some of them translated, especially the ones during World War II. I would like to find out how they coped with the war over there. I also have articles about her career in the military.

Is there any Slavic Society in California that maybe could help me get the letters translated? After that, I would like to give them all the letters because it is a tiny bit of history seen from this woman's view.

By obsessedwithloopy — On Jun 17, 2008

The slavic people are a diverse group of more then 300 million people spread all around the world. The majority though live in Europe. They differ culturally, genetically and religiously.

Jasperman-you are in control of what you want to do. I find that being honest and direct is the best rule to live by. To have a healthy amount of skepticism is not only wise, but necessary. Whether the lady is a slav or belongs to any other group of people is really irrelevant.

By jasperman — On Jun 16, 2008

She is not asking me for money but just friendship--i don't know what to think. there are a lot of scammers out here and i don't want to be scammed.

By jasperman — On Jun 16, 2008

I meet a slavic woman on line is she for real she sounds real and sent me photos and she has emailed me 4 times in the last 4 days?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia...
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