TODAY there are appx 35/36 thousand people w/ Tarasenko (Тарасенко in Ukrainian) surname living mainly in Eastern Ukraine. The surname is based on male given name Taras, which is rooted in Greek and can be found in the Orthodox Church Calendar. St. Tarasios was an 8th century Bishop of Constantinople. Tarasios was also the name of the son of the Greek god, Poseidon. The name was a pagan descriptive nickname, which meant DISTURBING, and later evolved into a surname.
The suffix ENKO makes the surname distinctly Eastern Ukrainian.
Surnames in the region that is Eastern Ukraine today were introduced relatively late. Although surnames for peasants and Jews were mandated in early 19th century by Czar, according to the the Russian Empire census of 1897, appx 70% of the peasant serfs in the non-Russian regions of the Russian Empire still had no surnames. What is Eastern Ukraine today was predominantly an agrarian region, where peasants were fully dependent on their lords and had few rights. They were obliged to work in the lord’s fields and pay a monthly contribution of wheat or other commodities and could even be bought and sold themselves because of debt. Until 1861, when serfdom was abolished and those peasants became free, most of them did not have surnames. In official documents it was enough to mention the village a person was from, or the name of the feudal system lord, or the first name combined with profession.