Skip to main content

View Diary: Ukraine 101 (206 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Ethnic Ukrainian? (3.25)
    Perhaps that is someone who speaks the Ukrainian language, knows the folk songs and literature, and follows its centuries old traditions?  Just because we haven't had our own political state in a few centuries, doesn't mean we aren't a nation.

    Of course the Russian overlords find us "amusing".  They refuse to consider the Ukrainians a separate nation, and used to call the "Malorusy"--"little russians".  They spent centuries banning the Ukrainian language, killing its intelligentsia, and stamping our all the sparks of revolution.

    Ireland was in a similar situation, and has pretty much lost its language, Irish, because of English policy.  In Ukraine the language lives on, in part due to the efforts of Western Ukraine, which was not under the Russian yoke until after WWI, and in part due to the resilience of the Ukrainian people.

    Did your Russian friends tell you of Kievan Rus', the first Ukrainian nation state, which, in the middle ages, covered a good part of eastern Europe?  Yaroslav the Wise was the "father-in-law" of Europe.  Or the Cossack states, when the Ukrainians joined forces with the Swedes and the Khanate to fight the Russians and Poles? The Cossacks were a democratic group, and were wise enough to ban capital punishment, one of the first western governments to do so (and a distinction the USA has not been able to accomplish even yet.)

    Then there were the independence movements and Ukrainian state declared after the collapse of imperial Russia in the aftermath of WWI.  East and West Ukraine united for the first time in centuries. It was crushed, in the end, by the Bolsheviks.  

    Did your Russian friends tell you of the Famine of 1932-33, when all the food was taken from rural Ukraine (in order to convince them to collectivize) and some 10 million people starved to death?  My father was there, and is still haunted by the dying and the corpses. Then there were the political shootings, the mass resettlements into Siberia to the Gulag.  And another 8 to 10 million died in WWII (Ukraine was the main battleground of the Eastern front; Russia itself was only slightly touched in comparison) and 2 million were sent to work camps.  Stalin resettled the depopulated areas with ethnic Russians, and now they comprise 18% of the population at most.  That's where all those pesky Russians come from.

    The Russians have a stake in decrying Ukrainian nationhood--the richest farmland in Europe, and easy transit for their oil and gas pipelines through to Europe.  And they're just a bunch of bloody imperialists who, once having stolen something, really don't want to ever, ever give it back--as the Chechens and other caucuses peoples can attest.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site