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Kyiv Takes Up Cause of Ukrainian Far East – and Russians are Furious


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

A definite Choke On Coffee Warning, COCW, applies. I haven’t laughed at the irony like this in so long. It’s about time the ‘ethnicity argument’ that Russia uses has blown up in their face.

In the words of my anonymous expert, offline:

Putin has the world’s worst ever fifth column problem now!

And being paranoid they will not trust their ethnic Ukrainians, and by doing so, they will drive them into the arms of Kyiv.

This is entirely a problem of Russian construction and origin.

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This is simply hilarious. Kyiv is now openly talking about engaging with the immense number of ethnic Ukrainians in Russia, which if the Genotek DNA survey is accurate, could be as high as almost a third of the ethnic “Great Russian” population.

We should not underestimate the impact of Ukrainian immigrants and deportees upon Russian and Soviet history. All Soviet leaders following Stalin were in some way connected with Ukraine – Khrushchov was an ethnic Russian who grew up in Ukraine, but came from a region of Russia that used to be part of Ukraine and is ethnically and linguistically strongly Ukrainian, Brezhnev was described as either ethnic Ukrainian or Russian, Andropov was descended from Cossacks – turncoat Ukrainians, Chernenko was a Siberian ethnic Ukrainian with a Ukrainian name, and Gorbachov’s mother was Ukrainian, and he was raised in Ukraine. Ethnic Ukrainians permeate Russia’s middle classes and intelligentsia. Both Sobchak and Navalniy have Ukrainian heritage.

Russian proxies are now blaming Ukraine for past Soviet transgressions – “… see the USSR was run by Ukrops, not ethnic Russians, therefore Russia is blameless for Soviet crimes…”.

If Russia’s ethnic Ukrainians cease to support the Muscovian “Chekist regime”, the regime will be in genuine trouble.  The regime cannot jail or otherwise fundamentally disenfranchise almost a third of the population.

For those of us in the English-speaking world, there are direct parallels with the deeply assimilated Irish and German immigrant populations – Germany caused much mayhem in the US by exploiting gullible German immigrants and their descendents during both World Wars.

Kyiv’s motives are clearly benign compared to those of Germany and Russia, as they both ruthlessly exploited their diasporas – as Russia is now doing across post-Soviet republics, and now also Germany.


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kyiv Takes Up Cause of Ukrainian Far East – and Russians are Furious

Paul Goble

Staunton, August 26 – The Putin regime feels justified in intervening on behalf of ethnic Russians in the former Soviet republics and says its actions, up to and including the dispatch of troops, are required to defend the human rights of those communities, rights which it often asserts are under threat.

But let any other country show even the slightest concerns about its co-ethnics within the current borders of the Russian Federation, and both Russian commentators and Russian officials go ballistic denouncing such concerns as completely without merit and representing a threat to the territorial integrity of the country.

No such expressions of concern are more offensive to Muscovite sensibilities, especially because in comparison to many others, they have a solid foundation: There were large and coherent Ukrainian ethnic communities in many parts of what is now the Russian Federation at the end of the imperial period.

Called “wedges” (klins in Ukrainian), they took shape at the end of that period when Ukrainians suffering from drought and rural overpopulation moved to portions of central Russia, Siberia, and most importantly to the Russian Far East.  In some places, especially in the Far East, they were the dominant ethnic community.

The Zelyonyi klin or “green wedge” in the Russian Far East was the largest and most important; and despite Moscow’s efforts at Russification, many people in that region still feel attached to their Ukrainian roots, retain distinct Ukrainian cultural signifiers, and even in some cases speak Ukraine.

During the Russian Civil War, they sought to form their own Ukrainian Far Eastern Republic. In the mid-1980s, the United States even broadcast to the region in Ukrainian from facilities in Japan. And over the last decade, there have been period discussions about support for or at least recognition of the Zelyonyi klin by Kyiv.

(For background and references to this region, its history and its Ukrainian past and present, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/06/historical-memory-of-ukrainian-wedge-in.htmlwindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/03/ukrainians-in-russian-far-east-aging.html and

windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/06/60-percent-of-population-of-northern.html.)

Now the issue has heated up thanks to an interview Poroshenko advisor Oleg Medvedev gave to Ukrains’kiy tizhden last week (tyzhden.ua/Politics/218608).  In a discussion of how the Far East might be “Ukrainianized,” the political scientist noted that “the territory of the Ukrainian language is broadening and the population there is ready for ‘soft Ukrainianization.’”

Russian officials and pro-Kremlin commentators were outraged.  Anatoly Vasserman, one of the latter, acknowledged that in in the Far East, “settlers from southwest Russia had at some point lived and used a dialect similar to Ukrainian. But he stressed “one must not consider this territory Ukrainian because people there spoke a Ukrainian dialect” (topcor.ru/2301-ambicii-kieva-doshli-do-dalnego-vostoka.html).  

What Vasserman and those who share his views do not recognize is that they are denying the very principle on which Moscow operates with regard to ethnic Russians and Russian speakers abroad. At the very least, discussions about the Zelyonyi klinn are useful in highlighting that inconsistency.

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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Historical Memory of Ukrainian ‘Wedge’ in Russian Far East Resurfaces

Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – Across what is now the Russian Federation, there are various places where a century ago there were significant and, in some cases, overwhelmingly Ukrainian populations. These were known in Ukrainian as “wedges,” and the largest and most famous o these was in the Far East, the Zelyony klin or “Green Wedge.” (For background on these places, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-real-wedge-issue-ukrainian-regions-in.htmlwindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/06/window-on-eurasia-zelenyi-klin-isnt.html and afterempire.info/2017/09/08/zeleni-klin/, and the sources cited therein.) The Soviets and the post-Soviet Russians have done everything they could to suppress any memory of these places as Ukrainian outposts, in many cases forcibly reidentifying ethnic Ukrainians as Russians, which in the case of the Zelyony klin reduced the share of Ukrainians in the population from 83 percent in the early 1920s to three percent now. But a certain historical memory continues, and it has now surfaced in an unusual way. A teacher in Russian School No. 30 in the city of Ussurisk in Primorsky kray presented her students with an award showing the Ukrainian coat of arms and flag (politikus.ru/v-rossii/108376-dezhavyu-v-kemerovskoy-oblasti-vruchali-gramoty-s-ukrainskoy-simvolikoy.html and www.sibreal.org/a/29272081.html). The teacher made this “mistake,” the After Empire portal says, when she sought the symbols on the Internet. But given Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, this was no laughing matter for local officials who viewed it as anything but funny that a teacher should give students a certificate “with ‘a fascist-Banderite’ Trident” (afterempire.info/2018/06/06/gramota/). “In fact, of course, there wasn’t any mistake,” the portal continues. “For as is well-known a century ago, Ukrainians formed a majority of the population of the Far East and during the years of the Civil War, they even attempted to create [in that region] their own Zelyony Klin Republic.” That is something that clearly not everyone there has forgotten.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 60 Percent of Population of Northern Territories (Kuriles) are Ukrainians, Japanese Expert Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 10 – Yoshihiko Okabe, an expert on Russia at the University of Kobe in Japan, says that “about 60 percent of the population” of the Northern Territories – what Moscow calls the Kuriles – consists of ethnic Ukrainians, the result of the forced resettlement of populations there by the Soviet government after 1945. Speaking at an international conference in Kyiv on “Russia’s Violation of International Law,” the Japanese expert said that he had determined that during a recent visit to the islands at which time he noticed that a large share of the people there have last names ending in “-chenko” (regnum.ru/news/polit/2429632.html). Okabe said Ukrainians in particular should not refer to the Northern Territories as the Kuriles but back Tokyo’s position. To call them the Kuriles, he continued, is to “recognize that these islands are Russian territory. “By calling them the Northern Territories of Japan, we can attract attention to the fact that Japanese territory was illegally occupied by Russia.” His comments reflect both the history of these islands and the long-held position of Japanese officials. After the Soviet Union seized these islands in 1945, it did exactly what it did in the western borderlands of the USSR: it moved its own citizens from neighboring regions into them. In the case of the Northern Territories, these were primarily Ukrainian people living the the Russian Far East, what Ukrainians refer to as the Zelyony klin or “green wedge.” For background on this, see Ivan Svit’s Ukrains’ko-iapons’ki vzaiemyny (in Ukrainian, New York, 1972, 371 pp.) and John Stephan’s The Russian Far East (Stanford, 1994.) Japanese officials have long taken the position Okabe does. Yuriko Koike, a former Japanese minister and currently head of the Tokyo prefecture, observes that “like everywhere in Russia, the residents of the Kurile islands became poor, suffering from the actions of an unprofessional and corrupt government.” “By a strange irony of fate,” Koike continues, “among the current residents of the Kuriles are a large number of ethnic Ukrainians.” On Iturup, for example, “Ukrainians form on the order of 60 percent of the population.” Would Vladimir Putin accept the results of a referendum by them “as easily as he did in Crimea?”

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Russian, Soviet Forced Migrations, Deportations, and Ethnic Cleansing – To Inform is to Influence

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Moscow deliberately undercounting ethnic Ukrainians in Russia, Kyiv official says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko 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. He said there are some 10 million ethnic Ukrainians in the Russian Federation but Moscow acknowledges only two million. (Image: Ukrinform)

 

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