dyvo: (я)
[personal profile] dyvo
Dear friends!
You all know that there is threat of a war between Ukraine and Russia. We all sincerely hope that the problem will be resolved in political field and there are some improvements in that process already, but I wanted to tell you a little bit about minorities and language situation in Ukraine as I can see that this is a very unclear issue for you and Russian TV has put enormous efforts to provide a wrong picture of that issue in Ukraine.
First of all, yes, there are a lot of Russian speaking people in Ukraine.
Second – no, nobody oppresses them or persecutes for their language.
How do I know that? Because I am a Russian speaker in Ukraine. And so is my family and most of my Ukrainian friends – classmates, schoolmates, ex-coworkers, neighbors.
I speak Russian in Ukraine for 34 years and I have never been prohibited or even frowned upon for that. I am travelling throughout the whole country – from the east to the west and from the north to the south and Crimea – and I am speaking Russian everywhere. So do my friends and family – no persecution ever. My mom is Russian, she was born in Russia and she has never been persecuted for her origin, she worked as a teacher all her life and travelled everywhere with her students and never had problems speaking her mother tongue.
We have Russian speaking channels – one of the largest channels in Ukraine (Inter) is broadcasting in Russian mostly, most of our press is in Russian – if you look at the average press stand in Kiev, 90% of the newspapers and magazines there will be in Russian. Sometimes I wish we had more press, TV and movies in Ukrainian because it is Ukrainian language that is threatened in Ukraine actually, especially in mass media.
Yes, there are nationalistic movements in Ukraine – as well as in every other country. But they are not very broad or popular – the biggest nationalistic party in Ukraine (Svoboda, which means Freedom) took only 10% in the recent elections to Parliament only because they seemed to be the only real contrast to our pro-governmental party, but I know a lot of people who voted for them and claim now they will not vote again because this party did not show itself well during recent events in Ukraine. Anyways, this party has never called to killing non-Ukrainians or whatever – Ukraine is a multinational country and such claims would never meet any understanding of the society.
Ukrainian nationalism is a very natural thing to be in the country that is still experiencing the influence of a large Northern neighbor and has just got rid of the Soviet past where Ukrainians were a “second sort people” and were under oppressing, lived through genocide and so on.
Ukrainian nationalism is a fight for survival of Ukrainian nation, not for elimination of other nations.
What Nazism we can talk about in the country that just appointed a leader of Eastern-European Jews Union to be a head of one of the regions` administration (Ihor Kolomoyskyi)
What Nazism we can talk about in the country where Krim Tatars are standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians and Jews at Maidan and together with “Allah Akbar” they claim “Glory to Ukraine!”
What Nazism we can talk about in the country where one of the most famous and popular independent journalists is called Mustafa Nayyem and has Afghan origin? (btw, he is the one who called people to come out to Maidan on November 21st, 2013 in his twitter and see what we have (or whom we don`t have) now )
My husband who is Muslim was amazed by how tolerant Ukrainians are towards him and how they respect his religion and his traditions – whoever we visit, the hosts always ask for food restrictions and cook something porkless especially for him, even though pork is the most popular and available meat in Ukraine.
Yes, there was a “right wing” movement at Maidan, so called “Right Sector”, and they were popular, but absolutely not because of their ideology but because they were one of the few who were doing something effective unlike our impotent opposition leaders. And if that Right Sector would call to something that would limit liberal rights and freedoms in our country, they would become outsiders right away. But they don`t call to anything – moreover, the leader oа Right Sector Dmytro Yarosh has met with the Ambassador of Israel recently and they had a very pleasant talk and left satisfied with each other. As I am writing that text Yarosh is giving press-conference on TV claiming that they are going to cooperate with Krim Tatars in defending our country – very extravagant for a nationalist, isn’t it? 
Ukrainian nation, being oppressed and persecuted by their more powerful neighbors through the centuries, knows very well what it`s like and respects the right of each minority for their language, culture and identity. We welcome everyone who wants to live in Ukraine and be Ukrainian (as a citizen of Ukraine, not necessarily ethnically).
What upsets us is that Russia is putting labels on us with absolutely no evidences and the world believes that. Sending Russian troops to Ukraine to protect Ukrainian Russians is like sending Mexican troops to California to protect Mexicans or sending Italian troops to Switzerland to protect Italian-speaking minority there. Absurd? And yet Russia is doing that.
Many of you have been to Ukraine and you know that the talks about Ukrainian nationalism are not true – we welcome everyone who comes without weapon and with a good will.

May 2014

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