Despite all its difference from the rest of the Ukrainians the Hutsuls became the image that symbolizes the Carpathian Ukraine on a par with the image of a Cossack from the southern steppes. “Gots” or “Hutsul” literally means “thief.” However many think it was not just the desire of some to enrich themselves at the expense of others – on the contrary; Mountaineers are fully accustomed robin-hood type of mentality where they want “to take from the rich and give to the poor.” But who are those “Guoqi” and “Hutsuls”? Some scientists say that they could originate from various Polovtsian, Pecheneg and other nomadic tribes, Slavs, Romanians and later fugitives from serfdom like – the Cossacks. Most anthropologists agree that the Hutsuls are really a separate ancient folk and they are departing from the apparent homogeneity even in their appearance and customs.
The idea that Ukraine has two “cultural poles” – Zaporozhye Cossacks on the south and the Hutsuls in Carpathian Mountains in the west is certainly interesting. It would be hard to say that Hutsuls are the descendants of the Romans similar to todays Romanians, it is more likley they decend just as Rusyns from various Slavic tribes as Kievan Rus, White Croats, and Sarmats.
There are different versions for the origins of the name Hutsul. An explanation is that it comes from the Romanian word for “outlaw” (cf. Rom. hoţ – “thief”, hoţul – “the thief”).
Other explanations place their origins in the Slavic kochul – “wanderer”, “migrant”, in reference to their semi-nomadic lifestyle, to the name of the Turkic tribe of the Uzy, and even to the name of the Moravian Grand Duke Hetsyla. However these are obsolete and non-academic assertions. No valid theories have been proposed yet.
Why Hutsuls preserved themselves so well? Because just as other mountainous people they were less poked by civilization and manipulation that comes with it.
There harsh living conditions leave a way of life unchanged so this is why they are so unique today because it shows how old Slavs used to live!