On Unity Day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree “On the territories of the Russian Federation historically inhabited by Ukrainians,” the Presidential Office reported on 22 January.
According to the decree, the Cabinet of Ministers is developing an action plan for preserving the national identity of Ukrainians in Russia, particularly in historically Ukrainian-inhabited lands.
“This means reclaiming the truth about our past for Ukraine’s future,” Zelenskyy said.
According to the president, the government must gather facts and evidence about “crimes committed against Ukrainians living (or having lived) in Russia, about the policy of forced Russification, political repression and deportation of Ukrainians, [and] restoration and preservation of historical memory.”
The decree also aims to counter Russian disinformation regarding the history and present-day lives of Ukrainians in Russia. It orders the dissemination of materials on “the over-the-thousand-year history of Ukrainian state-building” and the “historical ties of lands inhabited by ethnic Ukrainians to Ukrainian national state entities in different historical periods.”
This history will also be represented in educational programs and textbooks.
22 January is the day of the proclamation of the Act of Unification of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1919. Since 1999, Ukrainians have celebrated the Day of Unity of Ukraine annually.