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‘Russian-speakers will be second-class citizens unless they give up their language’: A view on Ukraine’s future from Donbass.

, RT interviews a journalist living in the Donetsk People’s Republic since 2014, During his 2019 election campaign, Ukraine’s current President Volodymyr Zelensky constantly repeated that his mission was to unite the country and breach the ideological gap between the EU-leaning West and the Russian-speaking East.

This was the division that resulted in the declaration of independence by the Donbass republics, in 2014.

However, but the differences are so deep that even the present, and obvious, threat to the state’s territorial integrity has failed to fully unite Ukrainians. One of the principal issues is language, those in the West prefer to use Ukrainian and the east is mostly Russian speaking. 

There is a historical reason, of course. Modern Ukraine was created – by the Soviet Union – as a result of sticking various territories together. Thus, parts of the south-west came from Hungary and Romania, a large chunk of the West is historically Polish land and places like Odessa and Kharkov have long been Russian. 

Indeed, many soldiers from the western regions don’t want to risk their lives fighting in the East, but would happily defend their home regions.

RT spoke with Vladislav Ugolny, a journalist and expert on the history of Novorossiya, about the attitude of one group in Ukrainian society towards the other. We also asked Vladislav if there is any hope for reconciliation. 

[Ed. Author gives the complicated history of the various groups that make up Ukraine]  ………………….

The nationalism in eastern Ukraine is more militaristic and employs Third Reich aesthetics, similar to many ultra-right groups in Western Europe and Russia for that matter………………..

The southeast is very diverse. You have Odessa and Kharkov on the one hand, where there is still significant potential for separatism. Then there is Zaporozhe, where the separatist mindset is present but not as prevalent. This is why the pro-Russian civil-military administrations have been successful in places like Melitopol for example. Dnepropetrovsk, on the other hand, has always been the domain of Ukrainian nationalism.  ……………………..

The collective Lviv will always maintain that as long as you speak Russian, you’re an “agent of the enemy,” that is, an agent of Russia – even despite the fact that Russian-speaking ‘skhidnyaks’ are bearing the brunt of the combat. All that common people from the southeast can hope for in the Ukrainian statehood project is to die for it. The only party that benefits from this situation in the southeast is the ‘big money,’ that is, those who own the means of production. And, as I’ve said, they will never have any other choice but to support Ukrainian nationalism. https://www.rt.com/russia/558059-second-class-citizens-language/

July 4, 2022 - Posted by | politics, Ukraine

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