Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russia is more Ukrainian than Rus.
Consider this – 144,498,215 (RF population) x 0.192 (Genotek percentage Ukrainian DNA) = 27,743,657.28 ethnic Ukrainians in Russia.
Russia’s population is in a severe decline, with its population projected to shrink to 100 million by the year 2100. Of that, there will be a higher percentage of ethnic Ukrainians than ethnic Russians in Russia. Perhaps Ukraine should annex Russia? Perhaps the ethnic Ukrainians in Russia should rise up and demand that their area be annexed by Ukraine? How about a vote?
A compilation of some fascinating 2014-2017 digests by Prof Goble on Russia’s yet to be manifested transmigration blowback problem. Because the Russians forced assimilation for centuries, the only way they can really know who is ethnic Ukrainian rather than ethnic Russian is DNA testing across the whole population.
If Russia fragments when it implodes, the Ukrainians need to be prepared to do what Germany did, and repatriate large numbers of ethnic Ukrainians from Russia.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – Even though many Russians often say that “if you scratch a Russian, you’ll find a Tatar,” most consider themselves an independent and self-standing nation genetically as well as culturally. But a new study of the DNA of the Russian people shows that only 16.2 percent of the genes they carry are uniquely Russian. Drawing on the results of DNA tests of more than 2000 people from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Krasnodar, Rostov-na-Donu, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk,, Simferopol and Kyiv who sought such testing, Russia’s Genotek company has offered its analysis of the genetic backgrounds of ethnic Russians (kp.ru/daily/26654.4/3674515/). The company’s director, Valery Ilinsky, tells Komsomolskaya Pravda that only 16.2 percent of the genes carried by present-day Russians are typical of indigenous Russians. A larger share of the genes they carry – 19.2 percent — come from Ukrainians and Belarusians. Other sources of the genetic makeup of Russians are Finns (13.1 percent) and Hungarians (6.3 percent). Nationality, of course, is something individuals decide on for themselves, he continues. But “we can speak about the origins of particular fragments of our DNA from various ethnic groups.” And approaching the issue in that way, he says, shows that more than 80 percent of the genes Russians now carry come from other than the indigenous population of Central Russia. Ilinsky notes that at the current level of knowledge, an indigenous people is one which has constantly lived on a particular territory for three or four generations. There simply isn’t yet enough data to go further back in time. Asked why Belarusian and Ukrainian genes form a larger part of the Russian genetic makeup than that from those living in Central Russia, Ilinsky says that there are several explanations. First of all, “the territory of contemporary Central Russia was historically part of a single formation which was called Kyivan Rus. But more important, he suggests, is the fact that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians form a single “very large population” and that the three have more in common than many think. “There are practically no pure ethnic Russians and pure ethnic Ukrainians. All of us from the point of view of genetics are an enormous mix from completely different fragments.” Such a pattern is typical of the United States as well where people identify as coming from this or that European country in many cases but who are in fact a mixture at least genetically of the most varied nations. As a result, such people identify as Americans of this or that origin. As far as the impact of the “Tatar-Mongol yoke” is concerned, Ilinsky continues, scholars as yet have a difficult time in identifying distinctly Tatar genetic patterns because “the Tatars as an ethnic group are very poorly studied by geneticists, and we do not know what parts of DNA are characteristic for representatives of indigenous Tatar-Mongols.” That is why Russians are overwhelmingly European genetically as far as current knowledge allows for conclusions, the Genotek official says. And he stresses that Russia like the US is “really a large melting pot of nations. In both countries, we observe a mixture of various fragments of DNA from various sources.” Many people around the world are now interested in learning about their genetic backgrounds. What is interesting about Ilinsky’s findings is that they are certain to be used first of all by those with an imperial agenda who will suggest that they prove that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are one common people and thus should be in one state, something anti-imperialists will oppose. And equally certainly they will be employed by those who suggest that Russians and non-Russians in the Russian Federation are moving via “a melting pot” into a common national identity, something many Russian nationalists and many non-Russians as well will view as a threat to their identities and even existences.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 14 – Reacting to recent statements by Kyiv officials about portions of Russia being historically Ukrainian, Russian commentators say that under certain conditions, the Kuban, one of these regions, might become an independent country but they and Russian officials says it will never be part of Ukraine. Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of Krasnodar Kray which is often referred to as the Kuban, says that “Kuban never was and never will be Ukrainian.” Ukrainian officials like Infrastructure Minister Vladimir Omelyan now and Donetsk Administrator Pavel Zhebrinsky last July who say otherwise simply don’t know their history (svpressa.ru/politic/article/172163/). It is true, Russian commentators say, that during the Russian civil war, there really was a Kuban Peoples Republic and that some of its leaders talked about creating a federation with Ukraine, but even then Cossacks formed only 43 percent of that territory and not all of them were resettled from the Zaporozhye region. Many were Don and Terek Cossacks.
Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – Russian writers occasionally refer to the existence of the “Zelenyi klin” in the Russian Far East as an historical oddity, but now in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis, they have gone all out not only to black its reputation by linking Ukrainians there to foreign intelligence services but also to raise the spectre of other Ukrainian “wedges” across Russia. But while these commentaries are unanimous in portraying these Ukrainian areas as marginal and anachronistic, they appear to reflect the fears of some in Moscow that either the Ukrainians themselves or foreign governments sympathetic to Kyiv or antagontistic to Moscow might be able to use these groups and a decision to blacken their reputation among Russians. A classic example of an article of this type was offered yesterday by Ilya Polonsky in “Voyennoye obozreniye,” an online journal directed at the Russian military (topwar.ru/51408-zelenyy-klin-dalnevostochnyh-samostiynikov-kak-zahlebnulsya-ukrainskiy-nacionalizm-v-ussuriyskom-krae.html). The article begins by asserting that “naïve people assume that Ukrainian nationalists in their political aspirations limit their claims to such historically Russian lands as Crimea or Novorossiya,” places that are of course within the interntionally recognized borders of the Ukrainian Republic. In fact, Polonsky says, Ukrainians have shown an interest in absorbing portions of Belgorod, Kursk, Voroneh, and Rosstov oblasts, and all of the Kuban.”But few know,” he continues, that Ukrainians have had their eyes on what they see as Ukrainian territories far beyond the borders of that country. There are at least four such territories, Polonsky says, known as “klins” or “wedges,” where there are compact settlementsof ethnic Ukrainians. Three of them remain relatively obscure – the Yellow Wedge in the Volga region, the Gray Wedge in the southern Urals, and the Crimson Wedge in the Kuban – but one – the Green Wedge in the Far East has a long history. “In each of theseregions at the time of the beginning of World War I there existence significantly large colonies ofMalorussians, who in rural areas preferred to settle compactly and thus formed their own kind of anclave and a way of life” which set them apart from the Russians in nearby cities and towns. Polonsky focuses most of his attention to the Green Triangle, which was largely coterminous with the Ussuri kray. Ukrainians had come there between 1884 and 1913 because there was a great deal of fertile agricultural land and because it was a place wehre they could continue to farm as individuals rather than as part of communal organizations. The Russian military commentator says that the Ukrainians never formed more than 20 percent of the population of the entire region, although he acknowledges that they had majorities in many localities and were sufficiently large to have an impact on the politics and culture of the region. He writes that the first Ukrainian nationalist organizations emerged in 1905-1907 but suggests that this happened primarily bcause of the efforts of a German from Poltava who was working for the Japanese intelligence services. And he says that the Zeleni kiln continued to be a project of them, the German, and the Austro-Hungarian special services through World War I. The implication of this tendentious account of the subject is that the Ukrainians themselves had no interest in promoting their own interests relative to the rest of the population and that they only did so because of the work of foreign intelligence services, a trope that Moscow writers have developed for Ukraine more generally. During the Russian Civil War, the armed forces of the Zelenyi klin numbered more than 40,000, a significant number given the relatively small units in the White Russian and Interventionist forces in Russia east of the Urals. After the end of that conflict, many fled abroad, and some 11,000 Ukrainians settled in Harbin. But that was not the end of the Zelenyi klin, Polonsky writes. Japanese intelligence officers formed units and provided training to Ukrainians in Tokyo’s puppet state of Manchukuo in the hopes that they could be used in the course of an eventual Japanese invasion of the Soviet Far East, and the Japanese backed the publication of Ukrainian-language propaganda. Again reflecting Russian propaganda about Ukraine more generally, Polonsky says that if the Japanese had won, they probably would have been killed to get them out of the way of Japan. “Soviet power,” he says, “treated themmore humanely. After its victory over Japan, theleaders of Ukrainian nationalists arrested in Manchuria were given ten years in the camps.” Polonsky adds that “the present-day population of the Far East, including that which is Little Russian by origin, mostly does not associate with Ukrainians. With the end of the artificial ‘Ukrainianization,’ the Little Russians of the Far East finally defined themselves as Russians and now do not separate themselves from other residents of the region who speak Russian.” And that allows the Moscow writer to say in conclusion that “thus ingloriously ende the history of Ukrainian separatism in the Far East and attempts at creating an independent ‘Zelenyi klin’ state. Its key characteristic, like that of many other such projects, is is obvious artificiality.” But that doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous, Polonsky continues, because such projects can lead to “the destruction of thousands of people,” an indication that he and his colleagues, however much they try to treat the “wedges” as historical curiosities are more than a little worried about what may happen next.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 26 – Ethnic Ukrainians in the Russian Far East, the descendants of Ukrainians who moved there voluntarily in late tsarist times and forcibly in Soviet ones, are being harassed by Russians there for their support of Ukraine, even as Russians in Crimea are threatening the Crimean Tatars with deportation to that faraway region. Since the Crimean Anschluss, Natalya Romanenko, head of a Ukrainian choir in Khabarovsk, has been stripped of her job, interrogated by the FSB, forced to make false declarations, and last week was covered with green paint by someone who said that was “for Novorossiya, you Banderite!” (svoboda.org/content/article/26915369.html). Romanenko told Radio Liberty that she is convinced that all of this is the work of the Russian special services and officials who are carrying out Vladimir Putin’s wishes and persecuting anyone who dares to express his or her own opinion and “defend their Ukrainian friends.” Up until a year ago, she, her choir “The Well,” and another Ukrainian choir in the region “The Green Wedge” regularly performed not only in the region but across the Russian Federation and even abroad as representatives of the culture of the country. But all that has changed since March 2014. Romanenko says she is deeply proud of her Ukrainian roots. She was born in Khabarovsk and has lived there her entire life. Her parents were born there, and her grandfather came from Ukraine during the civil war in the hopes of escaping from Soviet power. But by the time he reached Irkutsk, communism had spread to the Pacific, and he settled near a Buryat village. Despite being two generations removed from Ukraine and having been subjected to Russianizing policies in Soviet and post-Soviet times, she still speaks Ukrainian fluently as do her children. All of them love Ukraine. She adds that while Russians and Ukrainians ay have one been a single people, they “long ago diverged along two different paths.” The choir director says she is not a political person and consequently does not make political assessments of what has taken place in Ukraine. But she insists that her own visit there convinced her that what the Russian media are saying is simply not true. And she sees no reason for her not to support her Ukrainian friends. Unfortunately, her current situation is bleak: she says that she has not received any pay for seven months and is living on credit cards. Soon she will be “officially” unemployed. She would leave except for the support she receives from her friends and her feeling that one should love one’s “small” motherland as well as one’s “large” one. But that is increasingly hard to do. While Ukrainians 9000 kilometers away from Ukraine are being persecuted by Russian officialdom, Crimean Tatars under Russian occupation are being threatened with the prospect that they might be sent there, something many of the members of that nation, already deported once, very much fear. In a post this week, Oleg Leusenko says that his Crimean Tatar friends continue to be asked by the Russians they live among as some of them have since the Anschluss, “When are they deporting you? We want to move into your house” (oleg-leusenko.livejournal.com/2329921.html). One ethnic Russian doctor asked his Crimean Tatar colleague what he thought the future would entail “they say that they are readying Magadan oblast for you in Russia. Are you going to be going there or will you return back to Uzbekistan” to which the Crimean Tatar doctor’s family had been deported in 1944. Leusenko says that one Crimean Tatar woman told him that her Russian neighbor had suggested much the same. “When they deport you, we want to move into your house. It is larger than ours and will completely fit our needs.” And such Russians suggest that the Crimean Tatars by their actions have made such an outcome inevitable. You should be glad to be in Russia, they tell the Crimean Tatars. “Don’t again become traitors and don’t betray Russia. Putin is the best.” And “You are all traitors, you are ungrateful and were against the referendum. As a result, Putin will not forgive you. It would be better if you left.”
Thursday, June 9, 2016 A Real ‘Wedge’ Issue – Ukrainian Regions in the Russian Federation Paul Goble Staunton, June 9 – Even though Moscow officials feel perfectly free to talk about ethnic Russian communities in other countries and the need to bring them under Russia’s umbrella one way or another, Moscow politicians and commentators are outraged that a Ukrainian official says Kyiv has a legitimate interest in Ukrainian communities inside the borders of Russia. Last week, Pavel Zhebrivsky, the head of Ukrainian controlled Donetsk’s oblast civil-military administration, said that Kyiv should seek the return of “’immemorial’” areas now within Russia, including Rostov, Bryansk, Kursk, and Voronezh oblasts and Krasnodar kray because the people there are Ukrainian in mentality and spirit. The Russian reaction was quick to follow and had the unintended effect of highlighting the existence of Ukrainian communities in far more parts of the Russian Federation, communities Ukrainians have always called “klins” or “wedges,” thus making this back and forth into far more of a “wedge” issue than Moscow may like. The first Russian politician out of the starting gates on this was Sergy Obukhov, a Duma deputy from Kuban. He called for Russian prosecutors to look into Zhebritsky’s remarks and noted that because of his own position, he could not fail to “react to the extremist statements of officials of a neighboring state who continue to say that Kuban is Ukrainian territory.” In an article entitled “Ukraine from the Dnepr to the Amur,” Moscow journalist Andrey Ivanov interviews Bogdan Bezpalko, the deputy director of Moscow State University’s Center for Ukrainian and Belarusian Studies about Zhebritsky’s statement. What the scholar said will only add fuel to the fire (svpressa.ru/politic/article/150278/?rpop=1). “The conception of ‘greater Ukraine’ isn’t new,” Bezpalko says. “It was formed already by the first chairman of the Central Rada of the Ukrainian Peoples Republic, Mikhail Grushevsky.” Its core idea is “so-called ‘ethnicity’” which involves “cultural signs” like language, dress and customs.” Zhebrivsky, the Moscow scholar continues, has simply developed notions of Ukrainian historians who confuse such cultural signs with political identity and loyalty. There were many such people “even in Soviet times,” and they “determined where people who in correspondence with Soviet nationality policy identified as Ukrainians.” And from that, Bezpalko says, some of them argued that there where such Ukrainians lived are lands that “immemorially” are Ukrainian – even though these Ukrainians in most cases, he argues, never viewed where they lived as part of Ukraine and were loyal instead to the Russian Empire, the USSR, and now the Russian Federation. “In the 1990s,” he continues, “many Ukrainian nationalists pushed such ideas. They published various maps showing Russia as a country which had fallen apart into several states.” They published books and “pseudo-scientific works.” But in doing so, they forgot that Ukraine had not always been “an indestructible whole.” Bezpalko says he is “surprised” that Zhebrivsky “did not include in the Ukrainian land the Gray Wedge and the Green Wedge,” the first of which is what Ukrainians who live in the Middle Volga call their region and the second is what some call Ukrainian settlements in the Russian Far East. The notion that such places could be combined with Ukraine proper is “absolutely unrealistic,” he continues, and any talk about such things is only intended to encourage Ukrainians in Ukraine at what is a difficult time for them. Like most Moscow people now, Bezpalko says that “Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians are one large people” and that today “Ukrainian identity has shifted from one based on blood or even culture” to one based on “ideology” alone. You are a Ukrainian if you support Ukraine regardless of your family background; you aren’t if you don’t. “Today,” he says, “a struggle for the hearts and minds of people is going on so that they will choose this or that ideology.” And in that regard, Bezpalko says, Zhebrivsky’s words constitute “a small dollop of danger.” Ukraine isn’t going to conquer any Russian territory, but such ideas sow “the seeds of doubt” among some. That “ideological danger” must be fought, “above all by reviving our common Russian ideology,” one that “in contrast to Ukrainian nationalism,” the Moscow writer says, we base on genuine values and real heroes.” Ukrainians don’t have any and that is something Russia should constantly point out. Russians should also point out that Ukrainian culture “has rural roots” and that whatever urban culture there was on the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR had “Russian, German or Polish roots.” Ukrainians refuse to see this and thus “Ukrainianism is like Russophobia” rather than a genuine national identity. If one substitutes the word Russian for where Bezpalko uses the word Ukrainian, one can see how quickly his argument and that of the Kremlin collapses – and also how talk about Ukrainians and Ukrainian lands inside the current borders of the Russian Federation really can become a “wedge” issue after all.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 23 – Russian officials from Vladimir Putin on down have routinely complained that the Ukrainian authorities discriminate against ethnic Russians in Ukraine while insisting that the two nations are in fact one nation, positions that have attracted widespread international attention and all too often been taken at face value. Now a Ukrainian official has pointed out something that few Russians and even fewer people in the West recognize: there are millions more ethnic Ukrainians in the Russian Federation than Moscow acknowledges, reflecting both assimilation (as is the case with Russians in Ukraine) and a longstanding policy of undercounting Ukrainians in Russia. Beginning at the end of tsarist times, millions of Ukrainians moved into what were considered traditionally Russian areas forming what their residents called “wedges.” The largest and most famous of these was “the green wedge” in the Russian Far East where ethnic Ukrainians in many areas outnumbered ethnic Russians. In Soviet times, many of these people changed their identity to Russian both because the regime did not support Ukrainian language schooling and other institutions and because of the greater prestige being an ethnic Russian had at that time and thus the greater life chances people who identified as such gained. Moreover, Soviet census takers and other statisticians accelerated this process by classifying as Russians people who identified as Ukrainians but spoke Russian; and Soviet regulations which typically did not allow people to change their nationality unless they were products of ethnically mixed marriages made an exception in the case of some Ukrainians. Under these regulations, ethnic Ukrainians who rose to a certain rank in the military, the security services or the CPSU were able or required to re-classify themselves as ethnic Russians, San arrangement that helps to explain why so many Soviet generals and party leaders with Ukrainian names and Ukrainian roots were nonetheless listed as Russians. Speaking at the Sixth World Forum of Ukrainians on Saturday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kirilenko raised this issue. He said there are some 10 million ethnic Ukrainians in the Russian Federation but Moscow acknowledges only two million (kmu.gov.ua/control/uk/publish/article?art_id=249251646&cat_id=244276429). The Ukrainian official said that this was the result of Russian state policy which is now “persecuting” ethnic Ukrainians “more than ever before.” In fact, Russian officials admit that there are about five million ethnic Ukrainians in Russia, just under two permanent residents or citizens and three million more who are working there on more temporary arrangements. But the question of the fate of ethnic Ukrainians in Russia is important because it is so seldom raised. For background on this community and Moscow’s policies toward it, seewindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/06/window-on-eurasia-zelenyi-klin-isnt.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-real-wedge-issue-ukrainian-regions-in.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/03/russians-repress-ukrainians-in-far-east.html. And just how sensitive this issue is in Russia is suggested by a Svobodnaya pressa commentary Andrey Ivanov offers in which he simultaneously claims that Kirilenko’s words work against him and acknowledges that there are far more people in Russia with Ukrainian roots than even the Kyiv official said (svpressa.ru/society/article/154920/). Ivanov notes that “in Russia now nationality is not indicated in any documents and during the census, it is ascribed exclusively according to the words of the respondent and then anonymously.” (For recent evidence that this is not in fact the case, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/08/ethnology-institute-allows-russian.html). But despite that, the Svobodnaya pressa commentator says, there are data about the number of Ukrainians in Russia; and those data “can work against” Kirilenko’s argument because they show that what is going on is assimilation, the result, Ivanov says, of the attractiveness of Russian identity in Russia today. “Living in Russia,” he continues, “many Ukrainians have begun to consider themselves ethnic Russians, to a large degree because they do not see a particular difference between the two Slavic peoples.” The same thing, Ivanov adds, is happening with ethnic Russians in Ukraine: Not seeing a distinction, they are adapting to the new reality and call themselves Ukrainians. Ivanov acknowledges that Kirilenko’s suggestion there are ten million Ukrainians in Russia is “partially correct.” There are few in Russia who do not have distant relatives in Ukraine,” just as “in Ukraine it is hard to meet someone who does not have relatives in Russia.” But in Russia, he argues, “people don’t give particular significance to nationality” while in Ukraine, they do. In support of his own argument, Ivanov cites the words of Bogdan Bezpalko, the deputy head of the Moscow Center for Ukrainian and Belarusian Studies, and Aleksey Martynov, the head of the Moscow Institute for the New States. Bezpalko says that the decline in the number of ethnic Ukrainians in Russia is because “people ever more often associate themselves with Russia and identify as ethnic Russians.” That process has been assisted, he suggests, because the Ukrainian government “for the last 25 years” has discredited itself and Ukrainian identity. The Moscow researcher says that this process of identity change is much more democratic in Russia than it is in Ukraine. In Russia, people have free choice; but in Ukraine, “the government had set as its political goal a reduction in the number of people who consider themselves ethnic Russians to demonstrate the success and attractiveness of the Ukrainian national project.” Martynov adds that in fact the number of ethnic Ukrainians in the Russian Federation has been going up not only because of the military conflict in the Donbass but also because there is no work. According to him, at the present time, as a result, “half of all the taxi drivers in Moscow are from Ukraine.” He says that there is no discrimination against Ukrainians in Russia, although he acknowledges that it is “another matter” as far as their “legalization” within the country is concerned. But no one is persecuting them or keeping them out, although perhaps Russians should think about that given the Ukrainian contribution to the Russian criminal world.
Moscow is directing predominantly ethnic Russian refugees from the fighting in southeastern Ukraine into non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation in a transparent effort to change the ethnic balance in those republics and further Russianize them, according to Marat Kulsharipov, a historian at Bashkortostan State University. In an interview to RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service, Kulsharipov said that those who are fleeing from Eastern Ukraine “are not sent to Rostov, Kursk Belgorod or other [predominantly] Russian regions [which are close to Ukraine] but to Bashkortostan, which is thousands of kilometers away” Some of them, he continued, “are being accommodated in the summer camps” of local universities. Others are “being sent to different towns all over Bashkortostan, a Muslim Turkic republic in the Middle Volga. That inevitably raises the question as to “why so many of them have been sent to [the non-Russian republics] rather than distributed equally throughout Russia.” In his judgment, Kulsharipov said, what is being done reflects a decision by Moscow to “change the ethnic mix” in the non-Russian republics, boosting the number of ethnic Russians and thus reducing the share of the titular nationalities. That is clearly part of a broader Moscow strategy to create a single “Russian” nation. There is another aspect to this Moscow-arranged flow: it has created unfunded mandates and sparked new ethnic tensions in the republics, the historian said. “The refugees get money from the republic budget, and they get housing and jobs.” But “they’ll never take a hard and low-paying job. People who live here are insulted by that.” The reason for the feelings of the Bashkirs, he said, is “that this is being done [by Moscow] on purpose. If the refugees were being sent to other regions as well, [they] wouldn’t be so frustrated.” The Bashkirs are angry because they view this policy as “targeting the non-Russians.” The republic president probably understands this but “can’t say anything.”