Native toUkraine
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Baláchka (Ukrainian: балачка – conversation, chat) is a Ukrainian dialect spoken in the Kuban and Don regions, where Ukrainian settlers used to live. It was strongly influenced by Cossack culture.

The term is derived from the Ukrainian term "balákaty'" (Ukrainian: балакати), which colloquially means "to talk", "to chat".

Some linguists characterize Balachka vernacular as a dialect or group of dialects. Balachka does not appear as a separate language on any language codes. Nevertheless, some Cossacks consider it to be a separate language and at least one academic case has been made in this regard.[1]


See also: Ukrainians in Kuban

The most significant instance of the Cossack dialects is the Kuban subdialect. Originally starting as a central Ukrainian dialect used by the Black Sea Cossacks who moved to the Kuban in 1792.

Over the years the language began to acquire more Russian vocabulary, coinciding with the rising literacy rates in the late 19th century. The Kuban Cossack Chorus artistic director Viktor Zakharchenko points to the local folk songs dating to early and mid-19th century,[2] where those that originated in the Kuban would have their own unique literary flavour and differ from those in standard Russian and Ukrainian.

During the 1897 Russian census the dialect was classified as Little Russian (the traditional Russian name for Ukrainian) language rather than Great Russian (Russian).

In modern times the everyday usage of Balachka is declining.[3]


Public usage

It is not known how widespread the use of Balachka is. Education and strict requirements of the Russian Academy of Sciences mean that local press such as TV and radio adhere to standard Russian, with a notable exception for historical films (particularly those involving Cossacks) and Folk music groups and ensembles, such as the Kuban Cossack Chorus.[2]

As a result, there has been a gradual erosion in the use of authentic dialects and accents, with unique terms being slowly replaced by standard Russian ones. This is particularly noticeable in the younger generations. At the same time, beginning in the early 1990s, the re-awakening of the Cossacks movement was often done with rekindling of old traditions. It is thus not surprising that many Cossacks use Balachka (or some of its elements) in their speech to punctuate their Cossack heritage and/or affiliation.[citation needed]

As of 2010 the everyday usage of Balachka is declining. Some attempts are being made by local communities to preserve the dialect.[4][5][6][7] It was proposed to teach Balachka in the schools and universities of Krasnodar Krai by students and teachers of Kuban State University.[8][9] This attempts found no support from the federal administration.[3]

Political aspects

Political aspects have played a direct role in the classification of the Kuban Balachka. Although this Balachka was initially officially classified as a dialect of the Little Russian language (the official term in pre-revolutionary Russia for the Ukrainian language),[10] and some Ukrainian sources actively support the idea of Balachka being a dialect of the Ukrainian language, this is being contested by some Russian linguistic research,[11] and some of the Kuban Cossacks themselves, who point out that already by the 1860s there was a separate dialect that morphed out of Ukrainian and Russian.[2]


There 3 varieties of Balachka: Kuban, Don and Mountainous subdialects. The most widespread variety is Kuban subdialect which was originally used by the Cossacks of Black Sea Host.[12]


Examples of Balachka written in accordance to Russian and Ukrainian orthographies with translation in English.[13]

Russian orthography Ukrainian orthography Translation
А грэць його зна! У нас в станыци на нэй кажэ багато людэй, хоч потрошкы йийи и забувають. Ось и я вжэ нэ вмию дужэ швыдко балакать, так, дви-тры фразы кажу, нэ бильш, писля на русскый пэрэстрыбую, бо и в Краснодари дужэ довго вчився, а колы в станыцю вэрнувся, багато позабував. А грець його зна! У нас в станиці на ней каже багато людей, хоч потрошки її і забувають. Ось і я вже не вмію дуже швидко балакать, так, дві-три фрази кажу, не більш, після на русский перестрибую, бо і в Краснодарі дуже довго вчився, а коли в станицю вернувся, багато позабував. Who knows! In our village, many people speak it, although they forget it little by little. And I can't chat very fast anymore too, like, I say two or three phrases, no more, then I jump to Russian, because I studied in Krasnodar for a long time, and when I returned to the village, I forgot a lot.
И звидкиля ты узявся такий, Степан Хуторской? Так складно балакаешь, такий сичный гумор в тебе, ну, чесне слово, прямо завидки беруть. Всэ у тебе е: и думкы, и смишинки, и сльозинки, и видвага, и гострый, як бритва, язык - отразу выдно, природный ты козак, добрый козак! По нраву ты, Степа, простым людям, и, звычайно, мэни, старому бандурысту. Разом даже лякаюсь: нэ пэрэплюнув бы мэне своимы бувальшинамы. Порой скыдаеся ты на нашего Олександра Пивня, на Козьму Пруткова, на других щирых гумористов, але, по правде сказать, свий у тебэ и голос, и обличче. Твори, любый! Нашим з тобою землякам Слово твое нынче, может, потрибнийше и важливийше самых живительных лекарств. І звідкіля ти узявся такий, Стєпан Хуторской? Так складно балакаєш, такий січний гумор в тебе, ну чесне слово, прямо завидки беруть. Все у тебе є: і думки, і смішинки, і сльозинки, і відвага, і гострий, як бритва, язик - отразу видно, природний ти козак, добрий козак! По нраву ти, Стьопа, простим людям, і, звичайно, мені, старому бандуристу. Разом даже лякаюся: не переплюнув би мене своїми бувальшинами. Порой скидаєся ти на нашего Олександра Півня, на Козьму Пруткова, на других щирих гумористов, але, по правдє сказать, свій у тебе і голос, і обличче. Творі, любий! Нашим з тобою зємлякам Слово твоє нинчє, может, потрібнійше і важлівійше самих жівітєльних лєкарств. And where did you came from, Stepan Khutorskoy? You talk so complexly, you have such a juicy sense of humor, well, honestly, I'm envious. You have everything: thoughts, jokes, tears, courage, and a tongue as sharp as a razor - it is immediately obvious that you are a natural Cossack, a good Cossack! Simple people like you, Styopa, and, of course, me, an old bandurist. Sometimes I'm even scared: would you outbid me with the adventures of yours. Sometimes you look like our Oleksandr Piven, Kozma Prutkov, other sincere humorists, but, to tell the truth, you have your own voice and face. Create, dear! To our compatriots, your Word is perhaps more needed and more important than the most healing medicines themselves.

Known speakers

See also


  1. ^ Minahan, J. (2000). One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Greenwood Press. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-313-30984-7.
  2. ^ a b c Viktor Zakharchenko, Folk songs of the Kuban, 1997 Retrieved 7 November 2007
  3. ^ a b Українську мову давно витіснено на периферію культурного розвитку Кубані Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine. (in Ukrainian)
  4. ^ «Вісник» на сайті «Українці Росії „Кобза“» Archived 2011-01-10 at the Wayback Machine. (in Ukrainian)
  5. ^ Фестиваль вареників і день балачки пройдуть на «Атамані» Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine // «Живая Кубань» (in Russian)
  6. ^ Спирина О., «Легенди Тамані на Атамані» // «Прибой», 15 вересня 2010 р.[dead link] (in Russian)
  7. ^ І. Карасьов, «Дзвоник на балачку» // «Российская газета-Неделя» — Кубань-Кавказ № 5102 від 4 лютого 2010 р. Archived 2010-07-26 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  8. ^ На Кубані намагаються відродити кубанську балачку Archived 2011-01-28 at the Wayback Machine. (in Russian)
  9. ^ Кубанська азбука Archived 2013-11-12 at the Wayback Machine. (in Russian)
  10. ^, 1897 census results for the Kuban Oblast
  11. ^ Litvinov, N. (6 July 2001). Флаг Кубани [Flag of Kuban] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  12. ^ James B. Minahan 2000 Greenwood Press One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups, Kuban Cossacks p. 384 ISBN 0-313-30984-1 Retrieved 10 December 2007 Archived 2012-11-13 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Кубанская балачка - Страница 2". Лингвофорум (in Russian). 27 September 2023. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  14. ^ Аслан Тхакушинов: «Не плутайте адигейця з удегейцем». (in Russian)
  15. ^ "Цей день в історії : 1 березня 1918 : Проголошення Кубанської Народної Республіки". Цей день в історії. 1 March 2020. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  16. ^ "Проголошення Кубанської Народної Республіки" [Proclamation of the Kuban People's Republic]. (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  17. ^ "МОВА-ЛИМАНСЬКИЙ ВАСИЛЬ СЕМЕНОВИЧ". Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  18. ^ "КУХАРЕНКО ЯКІВ ГЕРАСИМОВИЧ". Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  19. ^ "Шевченко неполіткоректний: москалі, німота і "полукацапи"". Історична правда. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  20. ^ ""Моя головна проблема — мій російський паспорт. Я українка, а це мітка диявола", — Юля Юріна про волонтерство, війну і музику". Лірум (in Ukrainian). 12 May 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2023.