Thursday, September 18, 2003

Answering ‘professional Ukrainians’
As long as I've been on the Web, I've had some criticism from hardcore Ukrainian nationalists. The contested issues aren't the focus of this blog, but as I had an instant-message conversation with one recently, here are some comments.

Пишу вам на русском языке, потому что 1) не могу написать хорошо по-украински, 2) знаю, что вы понимайте этот язык (80% то же самое как ваша мова).

Мне кажется, что центр украинского национализма только на юго-западе - польская земля с XIV-ого века до Второй Мировой Войны. История различная чем большая часть русского народа, конечно - а это очень маленькая часть современной страны.

Most of Ukraine, on the other hand, which was part of Russia since the 1600s, speaks Russian by habit and by choice - it's the government that's forcing Uke down people's throats, when it's only the separatists in Halych and Transcarpathia who really speak it as a first language.

Исповедую вам, что никогда не был в бывшем Союзе, но немного лет назад я был в кино и смотрел фильм украинский ‘Приятель Покойника’, который был в Киеве (столичный город ‘независимой Украины’) и все говорили по-русски!

Most self-ID'd Ukrainian separatists in the North American diaspora seem to come from those parts, which gives Americans and Canadians the impression that they represent most of the country. As far as I know they don't.

Я сам - иностранец, и поэтому вижу подобия ясные чем различия. Вижу одная Русь.

But believe me, I understand why the far southwest wants to be separate - its history and culture have been distinct from Russia's nearly twice as long as Europeans have lived in the Americas, and it was taken by force by the Communists during World War II. Hardly a happy pan-Rus' reunion! (And pan-Slavism is a 19th-century invention anyway.) But at the same time I am moved by the patriotism of the naval fleet at Sevastopol', which on the day of Ukrainian independence had the blue-St Andrew's cross-on-white ensign, the flag of Russia, flown aboard all its ships. A symbol of Christendom and of a kind of Catholicity transcending nationalism, over the modern upstart notion of the nation-state breaking up the respublica Christiana. BTW, the Crimea is Russia - might as well admit it and give it back.

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