The day when Lviv spoke Russian and Donetsk – Ukrainian

2014/02/27 • Analysis & Opinion, News

The new Ukrainian government that took the scene after Yanukovych fled repealed the controversial language law adopted on July 3, 2012 (adopted with multiple violations of the voting procedure). The law granted the Russian language the de-facto status of a second state language on a backdrop of withering opportunities for the Ukrainian language, oppressed througout the long history of Ukraine’s russification in the times of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. This was a cause for unrest in the predominantly Russian-speaking Eastern and Southern regions, where calls for separatism have not been uncommon recently, not without the help of Russian propaganda and specific politicians. Speculating on the issue of language is an old trick that the Ukrainian authorities have learned to raise around the time of elections. It seems Ukrainians have finally recognised the true reasons for “language games”. The more the different regions hate one another and the more they are afraid of each other, the less unified they are against their common enemy – corrupt officials and oligarchs that steal money.  On February 26, the Ukrainian-speaking Western city of Lviv declared that its residents would be speaking Russian in solidarity with the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine’s Eastern and Southern regions.

 The day when Lviv spoke Russian and Donetsk   Ukrainian


Now, language should not be the issue of the day!
Lviv wants reelections to the Parliament, and not speculating on language and nationality!
On February 26, I will speak Russian at home, at work, with my friends – everywhere, in solidarity with the residents of Southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine.

The statement, circulating in FB:

“On February 26, I, a Lviv resident, will be speaking in Russian.
We, the residents of Lviv, would like to address the residents of Ukraine’s East and South with the words of gratitude for their support in the struggle against criminal government. We stood together on the barricades, we are mourning the fallen together, and we want to build the new Ukraine together.
We address you in Russian, first and foremost, because it is important for us to support you now in the struggle that is still going in in Luhansk, Crimea, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, and Odesa. And also because certain political forces are trying to speculate on the language issue in Ukraine, despite the already complex and tense situation. We do not wish, as the residents of Western Ukraine, to be associated with the radical statements of Svoboda representatives – as this party’s ideology is far from enjoying the total support amongst everyone in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, or Ternopil.
We have no intention of forcing the Ukrainian language on everyone, and we have even less of an intention of infringing the rights of the Russian-speaking population in the East and South of Ukraine. Lviv and its residents have always shown hospitality to people of all ethnicities, and everyone who has ever visited here can prove this. Historically, we have been and remain a multicultural center, and we do not exalt any “titular nations.” The rights of every human being, irrespective of ethnicity or language, everyone’s honor and dignity – this is the reason why we stood on Maidan and are continuing to stand.
As a result of its provocative and questionable actions and statements, Svoboda has been rapidly losing the society’s support lately, and we hope that the upcoming elections and lustration of government will put everything in its places. Just like you, we are interested in a total reload of the system of power, rather than in replacement of faces in key positions.
That is why we would like to express our solidarity to you and are asking you to please not judge the entire Western Ukraine on the basis of statements of individual controversial politicians. Lately, Lviv has been diligently trying to develop relations with various towns in Eastern Ukraine, and we will continue this work on all possible levels.
There have been numerous attempts to set the East and the West against each other in the years since Ukraine’s independence. Yet we are confident that our people are wiser than any politicians. And we have proven time and again that it is easy for us to come to mutual consent – once the politicians leave us alone.”

The Russian-speaking cities of Donetsk and Odesa were quick to follow.

0550ca5 done The day when Lviv spoke Russian and Donetsk   Ukrainian

Donetsk wants reelections to the Parliament, and not speculating on language and nationality.
On February 26, I will speak Ukrainian at home, at work, with my friends – everywhere, in solidarity with the residents of the Central and Western regions of Ukraine.

fba215b 1961787 10203433121334861 7 The day when Lviv spoke Russian and Donetsk   Ukrainian

Now, language should not be the issue of the day! Odesa wants reelections to the Parliament, and not speculating on language and nationality.
On February 27, I will speak Ukrainian at home, at work, with my friends – everywhere, in solidarity with the residents of the Central and Western regions of Ukraine.

A statement of Ukrainians living in Donetsk was widely circulating in Vkontakte:

“On February 26, I, a Donetsk resident, will speak Ukrainian.

It is on this day that a flashmob will be held in Lviv, aiming to show to the parliament and to residents of the Eastern and Southern regions, that political actions have nothing in common with the real desires of the Ukrainian people. So on February 26, Lviv, the Lion’s city, will switch to Russian.

We, residents of Donetsk, want to express our  support for the development of civil society in Ukraine, and in solidarity with the residents of the western and central regions of Ukraine on February 26  we will speak Ukrainian at home, at work, in transport, with friends – everywhere.

We appeal to the inhabitants of the western and central regions. Do not condemn us. We are hostages to many external factors: misinformation, “Goebbels’” propaganda, concept misinterpretation, irresponsibility of separate officials and politicians, criminal pressure. We have many fronts to fight on. It’s not easy. And it makes it even harder when our brothers from the West compare us all to “cattle” and “bandits”. We are not like that! Yes, we have enough representatives of the human race that we are not proud of, and we ourselves call them bandits and cattle. But show me a place that doesn’t have them?

The people of eastern Ukraine are kind, simple, and strong descendants of the Cossacks, but they were always forced and are still being forced to not remember this. It’s not easy for us. But we are fighting, and we will overcome!

Do not look at all of us through the “Party of Regions” prism and its representatives. The population of our region is still being manipulated, but this phenomenon is coming to an end. We need time and understanding.

The importance of the Russian language in our region is exaggerated, because as soon as you drive 5 kilometers away from any large city, you will hear the Ukrainian language. In our oblasts’ villages and small towns they speak Ukrainian. Not literary Ukrainian, they use Russian words, but are there no influences of the neighboring countries’ languages on the spoken Ukrainian language in the villages of Western Ukraine? And all of this is fine.

We appeal to the our fellow Ukrainian citizens in the Eastern and Southern regions. Maidan is in all of us. Every time one of us is confronted with lawlessness, bribery, unfair courts and injustice, when you wonder how much more of it you can tolerate,  – this is Maidan. Maidan never stood for any sole person, and neither did it stand for somebody’s money. Maidan will not permit political games, will neither allow Tymoshenko to return,  nor will it allow dictatorship. Do not believe the rumors about the gang of “Bandera” and millions of our fellow citizens being paid to stand on Maidan. Maidan are the people of Ukraine. People such as you and me.

Do not believe the intrigues going on with questions of state language language and federalization. All of this is being done for the sake of power over us. But we are not like that! Is not so?

Do not believe the rumors that someone is going to kill us or do anything of the like. We are citizens of the same country, and we will not be figures in the hands of puppeteers. Believe your heart, believe your brethren, believe each other.

Our goal is to show the whole country, and especially the politicians, that we will not allow political games against the background of the sad and difficult days of our history. We will prove that the people of Ukraine, regardless of the language they speak, their nationality, or place of residence – they are free, friendly people who “will not yield” to political games. We will prove that neither the East nor the West will be split by any politician. No one can manipulate the people of Ukraine! Chivalry and honor – that is our shield from the rotten political system. The East and West hold this shield together. We will begin to listen and communicate with one another, regardless of politicians!

So tomorrow, on February 26, in solidarity with the residents of the western and central regions will I speak Ukrainian at home, at work, in transport, with friends – everywhere.”

It seems that the people of Ukraine are wiser than their politicians. The East and West are together!

Translated by Alya Shandra&Olga Ruda
Edited by James Hydzik

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  • http://albertphd.wordpress.com albertphd

    The identity of any given country, whether Russia or Ukraine, is defined by its use of language, customs, traditions, and laws of that land. As I have the hind-sight of one month of time since this article was written, I am at a decided advantage. Today, we see how foolish it was for Ukraine to speak Russian! Today, (although it may not be too late?!), we see how the slick Russian propagandists (RT media, AM TV media, PRESS TV media and other pro-Russian propaganda stations, including Russian TV itself!) has twisted the truth and reality of the invasion into the Ukrainian Crimea into a media coup or victory for Putin! The Western media has foolishly fallen into Putin’s media trap believing that because people speak Russian in the Crimea, the Crimea must be populated with Russian citizens or at the very least with pro-Russian Ukrainians who wish to join to Russia! What rot! What bunk! What total nonsense! But the world printed it as fact and so Russia seemed at first to gain public sentiment in its favor. Then followed the so-called Russian Referendum in The Crimea which in effect was still another version of Russian propaganda–as we now know that most if not all the ballot sheets were printed with the ‘X’ already printed in the box stating the choice selected to be pro-Russian. In point of fact, we also now know that Russian citizens living or simply visiting in the Crimea (aptly described as ‘foreigners’) were allowed to vote not only once but several times in each of the different localities, Ukrainian citizens who wished to be loyal to Ukraine and to vote differently were simply not allowed to vote, including the Tatars, Jewish Ukrainians, and Crimeans who made the Crimea their home and did not wish to join with Russia. So, it is apparent, as the authors of this article correctly pointed out: “Every time one of us is confronted with lawlessness, bribery, unfair courts and injustice, we wonder how much more of it we can tolerate?”. But the question still remains that if Ukraine misleads the world into believing that part of Ukraine is pro-Russian, how can Ukraine expect to be ‘East and West’ united together as one–except that the people determine to speak Ukrainian all the time?! Those of us who visited and lived in Ukraine know that Ukrainians are bi-lingual, that the true Ukrainian speaks Russian as well as Ukrainian and that many of the young people also speak either German or Polish or English as well! Yes, it is nice, even cute that Ukraine can switch languages at will, wherein the West can speak Russian for a day, and the East can speak Ukrainian for a day. But this little exercise was missed by the entire Western media thanks to slick and sophisticated Russian propaganda. The enemy is Russian and in the Ukraine, the enemy language is the Russian language. I think this statement is not simply one opinion but an important fact. I will agree with the authors of this article that “the people of Ukraine are wiser than their politicians”. The Maidan Movement proved that to be true! But I think (again, with the benefit of 30 or more days of time since this article was written) that current history demonstrates that it is not true (as the authors of this article argue) that no one is “going to kill us or do anything of the like!”?! The current build-up of Putin’s military just outside Ukraine’s Eastern and South-Eastern borders (as I write these words) appears to contradict that naive hope. Russia will once again invade Ukraine (now that they have taken over The Crimea) and Ukraine may simply stand by in disbelief?! The truth is that the true language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, and not Russian. Russian is simply the business language of Ukrainians in the East and South who have (or who ‘had’) Russian businessmen as their regular customers. But all of that will change once Ukraine throws back the hordes of Russian invaders in the next few weeks and months. Ukraine has now joined the West, signing the initial EU Agreements and formally requesting to become a member of NATO as well as (in time) a member of the G7 (to fill in the vacancy Russia has left). Soon, in time their regular customers will become the English-speaking business world of the West, and Russian will be delegated to a second and then a third-language rating in Ukraine. And all of these changes will take place because (as the authors of this article correctly point out): “We will prove that the people of Ukraine, regardless of the language they speak, their nationality, or place of residence–they are a free, friendly people who ‘will not yield’ to political games!”. Yes, those people who speak Russian as well as Ukrainian will soon see their own children speak English in place of Russian–even before this decade is through!–as the foreign influence of other countries will be felt throughout the Ukraine. Of course, I am assuming that the Ukraine is able to over-throw the dictatorial overtures of their Eastern neighbor, Mother Russia?! I personally do not believe that Putin will wait for the honest results of the 25th May 2014 Ukrainian public elections (as he already knows that Ukraine will vote to join with the West!) and so he will most likely invade Ukraine before that deadline! In one month, Russia has already taken over The Crimea and now plans (today being the 28th March 2014) to soon take over mainland Ukraine as well. Mark my words! If through some modern-day miracle, the people of Ukraine are able to resist and throw back Putin’s repressive Russian regime (with NATO’s help or that of the USA?!), and if the long-awaited public elections take place in Ukraine on 25th May 2014, I do think that the authors of this article should reconsider their harsh opinion towards Julia Tymoshenko. All the world now knows of her alleged crimes against the Ukraine (and for which she has been legally and officially exonerated!), which gives all the more impetus for her role as President of Ukraine. The old saying that it takes a thief to catch a thief does aptly apply here. Let’s be clear here what the Ukrainian people did in the last election: they voted to accept Viktor Yanukovych (the clown and con artist!) who stole 70 billion dollars from the Ukrainian public purse, as well as placed people in prison without fair trials and even allowed murder to be committed (through his Berkut or Security Police) all in the name of protecting himself that he might remain in power! And he was the people’s choice as President of Ukraine! But what crimes did Julia Tymoshenko commit by contrast?! She did not steal from the public purse! She did not place anyone in prison (with or without a fair trial)! She did not approve of violence to be committed by the Berkut when she was in power, let alone allow the Berkut to commit murders! Yes, it’s true (which she herself confesses!) she played by the old rules of profit-making (which all the other politicians in positions of power did likewise at the time! Of course, it was not ethically right to play by these rules of the day but corruption being rampant throughout Ukraine at the time it was what everyone was doing). But Tymoshenko did not deny her role limited that it was by comparison. However, she was alleged to have committed crimes much greater than anything that could be proven to be true! She was made to become the ‘sacrificial lamb’ for ALL the crimes of ALL the politicians of her day–something for which she did not deserve as ALL the other politicians (as Oligarchs with their gangs of criminals, especially Yanukovych) went scot-free! They still have not paid for their crimes.For this Quisling Yanukovych is still a wanted criminal even now by Interpol! The 2 year period that Tymoshenko spent in prison was a time of inner introspection, no doubt. It was a time in which she realized how very corrupt and contaminated the entire political system was in the Ukraine. To regret deeply, they say, is to live afresh. And it is for this reason, as a seasoned politician, as someone now reformed through honest remorse, that I believe that Julia Tymoshenko has the grit and determination to put an end to political corrupt
    ion once and for all throughout all of Ukraine. She actually did begin to do exactly that just before she was unjustly arrested, improperly tried in a kangaroo Court (which Yanukovych set up to rid himself of all honest opposition), and placed in prison without proper medical treatment (having been badly beaten and abused by her own prison guards)! Tymoshenko knows very well how these corrupt rulers (especially Putin) think and how they behave within their spheres of influence. She is perhaps more qualified than any other politician to put Putin politically in his place–more so than the German Chancellor Angela Merker (who simply thinks Putin is “in another world”), or than even President Obama (for whom Putin, the racist, has obviously little or no respect). Regardless of the choice the Ukrainian people elect within the next 2 months (or less), the issue of a national language remains a very important question. I think that as English will soon dominate the minds and hopes and aspirations of the youth of Ukraine in short order, and that Russian will become a dying language within the Ukraine by contrast, that all signs and street names and building names and cities and towns and advertising needs to change into the Ukrainian language. There will be secondary and tertiary languages such as English and Russian to be sure, but the cultural and national identity of the Ukrainian peoples (of varying origins) will be unified as one people if everyone speaks primarily Ukrainian (in addition to English and Russian, of course), It is then (and perhaps only then?!) that this present state of confusion of pro-Russians speaking Russian in the Ukraine who desire to join with the Russian Federation will be resolved. After all, is not this issue (whether to join with Russia or the West) the spark that ignited the rebellion against corruption within Ukraine on 21st November 2013?! And is not this problem even further exasperated today simply because Ukrainians choose to speak Russian and so leave the impression with the Western World that Ukraine wishes to join with Russia?!

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