For the Slavs, the tree remains all central and bearing, the fecund creature that holds the seeds of all, the progenitor for the verdant world. To down such a tree, or, in the tradition of the badnjak, to remove a sampling of oak covered in brown gold leafing, would require ceremonial preliminaries.
There is an opinion by many experts in the Slavic studies that ancient Sarmatians, Scythians, and Antes were the Slavs and, therefore, proto-Croats and proto-Serbs maybe parts of them. In addition, most probably that ancient Balkan Illyrians of the Indo-European origin, dominating the Central and West Balkans, have been, in fact, autochtonous Slavs of South-East Europe.
The ideology of Pan-Croatianism created by Pavao Ritter Vitezović, who developed the ancient theory upon derivation of all Slavs from the Balkans, was a historical construction and a political program as a protest against long-time fragmentation of alleged Croatian historical and ethnic territories.
The real ideological source for such a division of the whole world was the Slavic idea which decisively influenced Vitezović who recognized that all Slavs belonged to a single ethnolinguistic community.
Russia And The Balkans (1804): A Program About Slavonic-Serbian State Under The Russian Protectorate (I)
Imperial Russia as an Orthodox country and the country with the largest Slavic population gradually inspired the spiritual-political leader of the Serbian nation during the Habsburg and Ottoman lordships, to believe that only the Romanovs could be real liberators and protectors of the Serbs and the rest of the South-Slavs, especially the Orthodox ones.
The case of Belarussian identity is today probably the best example in East Europe of an effective policy of creation of the national identity founded on the „imagined community“ feelings.
The Slavonic term Ukraine, for instance, in the Serbo-Croat case Krajina, means in the English language a Borderland – a provincial territory situated on the border between Russia and Rzeczpospolita.