Vladimir Putin has no guilt, Ukraine is nothing more than an “artificial” country, the Russian president has been saying for years.
Read more: Putin: A man difficult to understand
“It goes a long way, the Ukrainians are not really a separate country, but a somewhat agrarian version of the Russian people. They look like small Russians compared to the big Russians,” said Dominic Arel, head of Ukrainian research.
However, although it was “technically true” that Ukraine’s borders and institutions were created under the Soviet Union, the idea that the Ukrainians were creating a separate nation was there at the time, he continues.
“Even in the 19th century [avant la création de l’URSS]There was already an awareness of being Ukrainian, ”says Roman Serbin, a Canadian historian of Ukrainian descent.
In fact, Russian powers have been trying for years to unite and “Russify” the Ukrainians.
After all, in 2019 about 75% of Ukrainians and 17% of Russian speakers in Ukraine – the ever-declining number – will be concentrated mainly in the east of the country.
Ukraine finally gained independence in 1991, after more than 90% of its citizens voted in favor of independence. Eugene Soliz, Ukraine’s Honorary Ambassador to Quebec, believes that under the yoke of their powerful Russian neighbors for decades, Ukrainians are particularly committed to democratic values and independence.
“We define ourselves as Europeans, which completely differentiates us from the Russians,” he says.
He cites as an example the pro-European uprising of 2013-2014 that led to the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.
In addition, there are many famous representatives in Ukraine, including the famous boxing brothers Vladimir and Vitaly Klitschko or actress Milla Jovovich.
To whom all Ukrainians Newspaper He also mentioned the great romantic and nationalist poet Taras Shevchenko.
We can also think of its culinary traditions, including porridge soup made from beets.
“We are a people, we have a language and a culture, even though we have been under another empire for a long time,” testified Katrucia Smolinek, president of the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada in Quebec.
Dominic Arel, a professor of political studies, concludes that if the rest of the world had known Ukraine well only in the last thirty years, “Ukrainians would not have existed before, but they would not have had a state.”
Some important dates
The present territory of Ukraine has been occupied by many peoples over time (Vikings, Tatars, Mongols, Slavs, Scythians …), but especially favored by Tsarist and Communist Russia.
Russian Empress Catherine II removes the autonomy of the Cossacks, leaving much of present-day Ukraine under Russian control. Western Ukraine is Austro-Hungarian.
After the Russian Revolution and the eruption of the Tsarist Empire, the Ukrainians declare their independence, which will be short-lived.
The Bolsheviks invaded and annexed the former Russian part of Ukraine in 1922 as a republic in the Soviet Union. Formerly occupied by Austria, it was annexed by Poland in 1921.
The genocide of Ukrainians in the Soviet Union caused millions of deaths, including an artificial and murderous famine.
After the invasion of Poland, which marked the beginning of World War II, the Soviet Union annexed parts of Poland to the Ukrainian majority.
Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine declared independence on August 24. A referendum with about 90% of Ukrainians confirming the result in December.
Massive protests are taking place in the capital, Kiev, in protest of President Yanukovych’s decision to reject a pro – EU deal.
The parliament of Crimea in the south of the country declares its independence. Russia annexes Crimea following a toy referendum not approved by many countries. Similar tricks are used in the Donbass area.
Russia occupied Ukraine.
– Edited by historian Roman Serb
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