Friday, October 31, 2008


This conference at Harvard is free and open to the public.

Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

Announces a Two-Day International Conference

The Great Famine in Ukraine:
The Holodomor and Its Consequences, 1933 to the Present

17-18 November 2008

The year 2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-1933, now often referred to by its Ukrainian name Holodomor (extermination by hunger). This man-made affliction ravaged, most devastatingly, Soviet Ukraine and the areas primarily settled by Ukrainians in the North Caucasus (the Kuban region) at the height of forced collectivization in the USSR.

Earlier projects at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute pioneered studies in the history of the Great Famine. It is the aim of this conference, however, to move beyond revisiting the background, course and analysis of the events of 1932-33. Instead, it aims to forge forward to investigate the momentous subsequent impact of the Holodomor in Ukraine, in a framework which will examine its short-, mid-, and long-term consequences that reach, indeed, to our own day.

We are pleased to invite you to the conference which will be held at the Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy St., Cambridge.

For a full program with participants, on-line registration, travel information and information about related Famine events, please see HURI website:

The conference is open to the public and free of charge. However, seating is limited and pre-registration is strongly advised. You may register on-line or by calling HURI at 617-495-4053.

Concert: Premiere Performance of Selections from the Opera Red Earth (Hunger) by Virko Baley. Monday, November 17 at 8:00 p.m. at Swedenborg Chapel, 50 Quincy St., Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Conference Venue:

Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy St., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Palin: If Obama Wins Russia Might Invade Ukraine

The American Vice Presidential candidate from the Republican Party has voiced a common concern of many Ukrainians:

'In Reno, Palin went on to hit Obama for opposing the troop surge in Iraq and for what she saw as "indecision" when Russia invaded Georgia, "After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence - the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next. "'

Fox News Notes

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ukrainian-born Republican candidate in Pennsylvania

Marina Kats, a Ukrainian-Jewish woman, born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, is now running for the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania on a fiscal conservative platform:

Marina Kats pictured with John McCain

"I came to America as a legal immigrant from Ukraine in 1979 with barely any money and no understanding of the English language. Today, I am a businesswoman, an attorney, a mother of two fantastic daughters, and a proud citizen of this incredible country. I am an American who has been presented with the opportunity to give back to the country that has given me so much...."

More on her campaign site:

West Europe's Appeasement Emboldened Russia's Belligerence in Georgia

Excellent article by John R. Bolton in the Washington Post and an excellent letter to the editor in response to it by Robert McConnell, the co-founder of the US-Ukraine Foundation. If only the Western European states would heed the message before it's too late.

Response 10/21/2008

A NATO Path for Ukraine and Georgia

A16 (Post)

Article 10/20/2008

Russia Unromanticized

John R. Bolton, A15 (Post)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Russia Needs To Loose Its Empire

Russia's leaders have recently become very worried that Russia may fall apart in the future:

They see weakness where many see renewed strength, and rightly so. Despite huge foreign currency infusion thanks to oil revenues, Russia's Soviet-era infrustructure hasn't been rebuilt and it is crumbling. And due to extremely low birth-rate among ethnic Russia's, its population is slowly dying off as well, which may leave it unable to manage such a large empire as Russia is.

I don't necessarily want the Russians to die off, but I do want Russia to become a much smaller country, because then it will become more democratic and more European, and perhaps even join the European institution. And it will become much less of a threat to liberty in Ukraine and the rest of the Eastern Europe. Russia needs to loose its empire. The sooner the better. The sooner Russia becomes a normal and democratic nation, the sooner Ukrainians can breathe freely. But Russia cannot become a normal nation as long as it is such a large empire.

I have no problem with Russians as a people and have many Russian friends. The trouble has always been with the Russian governments, who have always been ruthless autocratic dictatorships, freely manipulating their own people to their own ends. And so long as Russia mantains its empire, it will continue having these types of governments, because only they are capable of holding such a large and disparate mass of land and diverse nations together. Democracy for Russia will mean a better life for ethnic Russians, but also freedom for the many captive nations that don't want to be a part of Russia and would get out if given a chance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Russia prevents Holodomor commemoration

This is a press release from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) on recent events in Russia:


International Remembrance Flame Stopped With Scare Tactics

Winnipeg, October 14, 2008- The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) condemns the recent and blatant abuse of human rights by the Russian government which has banned events planned in Russia to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor - famine genocide in Ukraine of 1932-33.

Prior to the arrival of the International Remembrance Flame in Russia, the Ukrainian Embassy received notice on October 6 from Russia's Foreign Ministry that commemorative events must fall in line with the Russian position on the famine or be cancelled. Russia continues to claim that the Holodomor was not a genocide and that Ukraine's effort to secure such recognition is "a political matter that is aimed against Russian interests."

It has been confirmed by the Ukrainian World Congress that Ukrainian community activists in Orenburg, Tumen, Ufa, St. Petersburg and Krasnodar have been subjected to undue pressure and scare tactics by government officials in the region resulting in the cancellation of planned events.

Russia was the next scheduled stop on the itinerary of the International Remembrance Flame - a symbol which has traveled through 29 countries since April of this year. Events in conjunction with the arrival of the Flame honour the millions of victims of Stalin's deliberate attempt to eradicate the Ukrainian nation through starvation. The Flame will be received in Ukraine in November for nation-wide commemorations.

"The Ukrainian Canadian community is appalled by Russia's continuing disregard for basic human rights, among them freedom of speech and expression," stated Iryna Mycak, Chair of UCC's National Holodomor Commemoration Committee. "Russia must understand that Canada will not tolerate such actions which clearly demonstrate that the country has not shed its past. It willingly continues the tactics of intolerance and oppression that were used by its predecessor regime that also perpetrated of the horrific crime of the Holodomor."

"What is especially appalling is that the international community, including Canada, has recognized the Holodomor as a genocide, yet Russia still cannot come to terms with this dark part of Soviet History," stated Paul Grod, National UCC President.

The UCC urges every Canadian to join in this protest. The international community stood idly by in the thirties as 10 million Ukrainians were brutally murdered for simply being Ukrainian. Let's not repeat the same apathy 75 years later. Contact the Russian Embassy and write to your Member of Parliament and to the Prime Minister of Canada. Let them know that such human rights abuses in 2008 will not be tolerated. Let them know that, this time, the world is paying attention.

For more information contact:

UCC Media Contact
Darla Penner
Tel. (204) 942-4627


Monday, October 13, 2008

Kyiv is the best city in the world!

A nice video about my hometown - the proud and ancient city of Kyiv:

African-Ukrainians sing a jingle

African-Ukrainians sing about how much they love Ukraine:)
(African style)

*I Love Ukraine*

Ukraine: undiscovered Europe

"Ukraine is the geographic centre of Europe, a bridge between East and West, and a country of history, culture and beauty.

This video, created by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine, provides an insight into this fascinating country."

Ukraine - A European Nation!

Ukraine promotional video:

Ukraine's Economy in 2007

This was Ukraine's economy in 2007:

Things are slowing down now, because of the global economic slowdown.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ruslana speaks good English

I am impressed!

I saw a video of Ruslana in Malta and she is speaking pretty good English, for someone who studied it in Ukraine:

(they speak some Maltese first in the video)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Folk the movie

KinoRox Productions has made a documentary about the older generations of Ukrainian-Americans trying to keep their culture alive for generations.

The movie is called "Folk". You can watch a trailer here:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

There is only one thing Russians understand: the language of power

An excerpt from an article from Der Spiegel:

Language of Power

"And," Miroslav Mamchak asks, smiling, "what was the outcome of that war? Russia lost, and Sevastopol fell. All enemies that have ever come here have captured the city - that is the bitter truth about this city of heroes."

A retired sea captain in the Black Sea fleet, Mamchak was one of the first to swear an oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian flag, in 1992. Today he is one of the few who fearlessly expresses something that ought to be legally indisputable: that the port city is an inalienable part of Ukrainian territory and that the presence of the Russian fleet is contractually limited until 2017.

Mamchak, who is also the chairman of the "Ukrainian Society" and general manager of "Briz," a military radio station, has come under heavy fire from Russians in the city. He is caricatured on posters as an SS officer and fascist with a Hitler moustache, and, as he says, the words "Get out of Sevastopol" were scrawled onto the walls of his house. Mamchak insists that he will not be forced to his knees by "criminals" and "mentally ill" warmongers.

The sorely afflicted city of heroes, says Mamchak, urgently needs a civilian concept for the future. "We currently have 100 meters (328 feet) of quay for warships, but only 90 meters (295 feet) for cruise ships. That has to change," he says. Mamchak's vision of a Sevastopol of the future includes tourists instead of torpedoes in the city's harbors, and "Ukrainian culture" instead of post-Soviet hero worship.

And how is this to be achieved against Moscow's wishes? Quite simply, says Mamchak: "Ukraine desperately needs to become part of NATO. Or re-obtain nuclear weapons. There is only one thing Russians understand: the language of power."
Monday, October 06, 2008

Russia And Ukraine Jockey In The Black Sea

Ukraine Banks Ask Government For Billions In Assistance

"The NBU already had approved 23 of 25 assistance package requests worth some 620 million dollars, according to the report. The banks needing cash inflows accounted for some 25 per cent Ukraine's banking sector, observers said."

Ukraine Banks Ask Government For Billions In Assistance



On Thursday, October 2, 2008, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) approved and awarded a parcel of federally owned land to the Ukrainian Government as the site for the Memorial to Victims of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-33.

Initiated under the auspices of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America in cooperation with Rep. Levin's office, the process has been widely supported by the Ukrainian American community. The National Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 has taken upon itself financing of the Environmental Assessment for the project.

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America website:

Ukraine Can Become Bread-Baskett of Europe Again

Ukraine really needs to develop its agriculture. It's going to be one of the vehicles for Ukraine's rise as an economic power. The main reasons are:

1. The food prices are going up to astronomical levels worldwide.

2. The yields on farming land in Ukraine are still extremely small, compared with the rest of Western Europe. Even Russia is now ahead on how much it produces out of the same piece of land.

Ukraine has rich land, which can potentially yield 4-5 times of its current harvest yields, due to lack of consolidation, lack of foreign investments (foreigners are still not allowed to own land in Ukraine!), the depleted land - thanks to brutal Soviet heritage (brutal to the land just as much as to the people), and to the lack of farming consulting talent, as well as technology.

The most important thing for Ukraine to do right now would be to open up its land for foreign ownership, which would allow foreign capital to come in and develop Ukraine's potentially very rich land.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ukraine’s black soil tilled for private investment

"World Focus" feature on Ukraine, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008

On Thursday, Oct. 9, the PBS television program "World Focus" will have a feature story on how Ukrainian farmers are benefitting from the global rise in food prices.

"World Focus" ( is a half-hour-long digest of TV news reports from around the world. The programs can also be viewed online, at their Web site.

This is the link to the video of the story:

Ukraine’s black soil tilled for private investment
Dave Marash reports from Kiev on Ukraine’s potential to open up land to private investors, feed the world and support its domestic economy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More on Ethnic Russians in Ukraine Re-identifying as Ukrainians

The Russian identity is actually quite weak without strong state power, which is what the authors rightly noted. It is in a sense an artificial identity maintained by a strong authoritarian state, which actively promotes nationalism and promotes the propaganda of this identity.

But when ethnic Russians are placed in a democratic foreign environment, even where they speak Russian and are fully connected to the Russian culture, such as in Ukraine, the gravitating force of Russian central government precipitously declines.

They prefer to identify as Ukrainians even if they still regard their native language to be Russian. Since their children are mostly being educated in Ukrainian language, the next generation will identify with Ukraine even more.

Ukrainians are capable of maintaining their identity and even their language for 3-4 generations in a foreign environment like the US or even Russia. Russians dissolve much quicker without a strong state to support their identity. It's much harder to identify with an empire when you live outside of it. Ethnic roots are much easier to identify with. But Russian identity is more than ethnic, it's imperial.

The interesting thing is that many Ukrainian villages in Siberia still speak Ukrainian. It's also interesting that many Russians who still believe Russian is their native language, are nevertheless re-identifying themselves as Ukrainians.

Ukrainians have contributed a lot of manpower to the growth of the Russian empire. Many of the cities in Siberia were started by Ukrainian Kozaks, many of whom still identify as Kozaks. Interestingly enough, their ethnicity was recorded in their passports by the Russin imperial government as a "kozak" ethnicity. Obviously, such an ethnicity doesn't exist. It's simply a replacement for "Ukrainian". Mostly Ukrainian fought in the Russo-Japanese War, The Crimean War, The Finnish War, and so on. Many Ukrainians have been sacrificed in these imperial projects. Although obviously Ukrainians must be good warriors, if they weren't they would not have been used in this way.

Some of the people changing their identification may be ethnically mixed Russian-Ukrainians, who were recorded as Russian in the Soviet times and are now justifiably changing their identification to Ukrainian.

Some other people who have "changed" their identification are people who were recorded as Russians during Soviet times and even had their lasnames changed to look Russian in the 1930s, but are in fact ethnically Ukrainian.

A good example is Gen. Morozov, who knew that his mother was Ukrainian, but had assumed that his father was Russian until he discovered after his father's death that both his parents were Ukrainian.

My own grandfather's lastname was Turkulov, so I thought he was Russian. But I found out that his father's lastname was actually Turkul'. (I have a copy of his Soviet file documenting his arrest and murder by the government.) The -ov was simply added by the Soviet government on Stalin's orders. This was especially the case with all the Muslim people groups - practically all of them had the -ov added to their names.

It is also a known fact that some Ukrainian cosmonauts had their lastnames adjusted to look Russian to an international audience.


An excellent article by Taras Kuzio in the Eurasia Daily Monitor.

One of the most atrocious facts that he brings up is that the Russian FSB actively tried hiring Ukrainians with military experience in Ukraine to go fight against the Russian forces during the Russian-Georgian War, so that they can then give the Russian propaganda machine a powerful tool to denounce "extremist Ukrainian nationalists".

The Ukrainian intelligence service SBU worked hard to prevent and foil all of these attempts by the FSB, and as a result none of them succeeded.

By Taras Kuzio
October 1, 2008

On September 29 the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) protested against an appeal made by the Russian delegation to the OSCE about the Crimea. "Methods and dirty technology created in the '90s of the last century are being used to destabilize the situation in the ARK [Autonomous Republic of Crimea] by fomenting separatist movements in the territories of the former USSR... Such actions cannot be regarded as anything other than gross interference in the internal affairs of another state," the MFA said (, September 29).

That Ukrainian-Russian relations are poor and
deteriorating is increasingly obvious from mutual accusations, counter-accusations, and insinuations. Russian political technologist Sergei Markov, a Unified Russia deputy, described Ukrainian-Russian relations to all intents and purposes as non-existent (, September 24).

Even in the area of Soviet history the Ukrainian and Russian sides have diametrically opposite views. The Russian Foreign Ministry gloated
over Ukraine's failure to find support for a resolution at the UN to recognize the 1933 artificial famine as "genocide" conducted against Ukrainians. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a strongly worded rebuttal. Writing in September's Prospect magazine Arkady Ostrovsky said, "an old fashioned nationalism, in neo-Stalinist costume, has become the most powerful force in Russian society" (

Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko has officially accused Russia of seeking to destabilize the autonomous republic of the Crimea. It is undesirable that "the Russian consulate in Simferopol distributes passports" (EDM, September 15). Meanwhile, Russian politicians, such as Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, travel to Ukraine and call for uniting the Crimea to Russia (Fokus, no.38, September 19).

Ohryzko also complained that Russia was attempting to block Ukraine's entry into NATO by using, among others things, the Crimean card. Russia also disrespected Ukraine's sovereignty (Fokus, no.38, September 19).

At a well-publicized press conference on September 25, the Security Service (SBU) provided extensive details of attempts by Russian intelligence to hire Ukrainian citizens to participate in conflicts in the Caucasus. The SBU gave details about recent attempts to hire Ukrainians for the August Georgian conflict. In August and September the SBU collected intelligence on many attempts by Russian intelligence to dispatch Ukrainians to the conflict. Ukrainians were offered $200 to $500 per day if they accepted the proposal.
Candidates approached by Russian intelligence should have "specific training, including in the field of subversive activity." Russian intelligence targeted those with existing connections to the Ukrainian military, including reservists (, September 29).

The SBU warned Russia that it was carefully observing these approaches and was initiating counter-measures ( "Every attempt at recruiting Ukrainian citizens in foreign games will receive a harsh rebuff," the SBU warned. Russian intelligence had established and supported "extremist
organizations" in Tiraspol, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia; but "We will never permit such activity on our territory," the SBU stated. Following the Georgian-Russian war, Ukraine purchased its first unmanned drone from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (, August 29).

Senior Russian military officers have alleged that Ukrainians fought on the Georgian side during the August conflict. Such claims about "
Ukrainian nationalists" are nothing new. In the first and second Russian interventions into Chechnya in 1995 and 2000, Russian officials and media alleged that numerous "Ukrainian nationalists" were fighting with the Chechens. The allegations revived Soviet ideological tirades against western Ukrainian "bourgeois nationalists."

The nationalist group most often accused of training recruits
for battle against Russia is the extreme right UNA-UNSO (Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian Peoples Self Defense Organization). Russia's intelligence on Ukrainian nationalists is, in fact, outdated, as the UNA-UNSO disintegrated in the late 1990s into at least three groups.

One wing of UNA-UNSO
that remained committed to its nationalist ideology aligned with the radical opposition Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) and Socialist Party in the "Kuchmagate" crisis. The radical opposition led the protests by Ukraine Without Kuchma and Arise Ukraine! from 2000 to 2003. UNA-UNSO members also acted as paramilitary stewards during the orange revolution. The UNA-UNSO was accused of organizing the March 2001 riots in Kyiv (in reality, this was apparently a provocation by undercover Interior Ministry personnel to discredit the anti-Kuchma opposition), and 20 senior UNA-UNSO leaders were charged and imprisoned. Following their release, many of the nationalist wing of the UNA-UNSO, such as Andriy Shkil, joined the BYuT. Shkil is still a BYuT deputy.

The other two wings of the UNA-UNSO
were co-opted by Russian intelligence. They continue to be available for provocations by Russian intelligence in attempts to portray Ukraine's orange leaders (like their Georgian rose revolution counterparts) as "anti-Russian extremists."

The two co-opted former wings of the UNA-UNSO
played a highly provocative role in attempts to discredit the opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko in the 2004 presidential elections. Political technologists close to Russia's presidential administration (i.e., Markov and Gleb Pavlovsky) worked for the candidate supported by Russia, Viktor Yanukovych. They sought to portray Yushchenko as a rabid "anti-Russian, Ukrainian nationalist" to reduce his popularity in Russophone eastern Ukraine (see EDM, June 29 and September 23, 2004, May 13, 2005).

One of the two co-opted UNA-UNSO groups, led by Dmytro Korchynsky, was renamed Bratstvo (Brotherhood). Bratstvo and the Progressive Socialist Party are the only two Ukrainian parties in the Highest Council of the International Eurasian Movement and the Eurasian Youth Movement. Both of these organizations are devoted to the Eurasianist ideologist Aleksandr G. Dugin who has ingratiated himself with the Putin regime (see Andreas Umland's detailed analysis in, July 20, 2007).

The SBU has also unveiled Russian intelligence's attempts to recruit Ukrainians who would "testify" for money that they had undergone "subversive training" in UNA-UNSO bases in western Ukraine with the aim of undertaking "terrorist" attacks alongside Chechens in Russia. Recruited Tatars were also paid to speak
on Russian television about the existence of alleged training camps for Islamic terrorists in the Crimea. The aim in both cases, the SBU believes, was to show that Ukraine was a host to training camps for religious and nationalist extremists.

Russia's accusations are doubly ironic. First, the
UNA-UNSO wing with solid nationalist credentials joined the BYuT in 2001-2002. Tymoshenko meanwhile has been accused of "treason" by the presidential secretariat based on an unfounded allegation that she has "done a deal" with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Second, the remainder of the former UNA-UNSO (i.e., Bratstvo) has long worked for Russian intelligence.

Folk the movie

KinoRox Productions has made a documentary about the older generations of Ukrainian-Americans who have kept their culture alive for generations.

The movie is called "Folk". You can watch a trailer on their site:

Ukrainians in the Russian Navy

Pretty interesting article on the history of the Ukrainian NAVY:

75% of the Russian Imperial Black Sea Fleet was made up of Ukrainians! And consequently, most of the 60,000 "Russians" who died in Russian Empire's Crimean War, were actually Ukrainian conscripts.

Most of the other Fleets of the Russian Empire - Caspian Sea Fleet, North Sea Fleet, etc., were also dominated by Ukrainians, and many of those ships put up Ukrainians flags shortly after the Ukrainian National Republic declared its independence on March 17, 1917, and declared their allegiance to the Ukranian state.

More here:

Ukraine's Ethnic Russians Re-identifying as Ukrainians

Interesting post by Paul Globe on his blog Window on Eurasia. The number of self-identified ethnic Russians had fallen from 23% to 17% in the decade after Ukraine's independence in 1991. And this number has likely fallen further in the intervening years.

The interesting conclusion derived from his analysis is that the Ukrainian ethnic identity is actually much stronger than the Russian ethnic identity. Ukrainians have been able to maintain their identity in Russian Siberia for over 100 years, even though they were forced to learn Russian and record in their passports they were ethnically Russian. (And who knows how many such "ethnic Russians" there are in Russia!) Many even had their lastnames changed by Stalin's machine to look Russian by adding the -ov ending. The interesting thing is that these people living in Siberia still speak Ukrainian and still self-identify as Ukrainians.

The Russian ethnic identity turns out to be much weaker, as ethnic Russians tend to dissolve in a foreign nation much quicker than Ukrainians do, even though assimilation rates are probably about the same for both ethnic groups. However, the Russian ethnic identity is too closely intertwined with a strong centralized state, and when this overweening government is absent, ethnic Russians tend to loose their identity fairly quickly. One conclusion could be that much of Russian identity is built on state propaganda. The other conclusion could be that the Russian identity has more to do with the Russian empire than with the Russian ethnicity per se, so when they leave the empire, they leave most of their identity behind.

The article illustrates the fact that the Russian ethnic identity has turned out to be fairly weak even in one of the most Russified nations in the world, Ukraine, as many self-identified ethnic Russians have switched to become self-identified ethnic Ukrainians with relative ease (while still maintaining Russian as their "mother tongue").

Here's the full text of the article:

Window on Eurasia: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine Re-identifying as Ukrainians
Paul Goble

Vienna, October 6 – More than three million ethnic Russians living in Ukraine have re-identified themselves as Ukrainians since 1991, nearly a thousand times the number of Ukrainians who may have dual citizenship in the Russian Federation, a ratio that appears to be increasing and is of increasing concern to Moscow.

On the one hand, this pattern suggests that ethnic Russians in Ukraine increasingly identify themselves with that country and its titular nation, an attitude that makes it more difficult for Moscow to play this ethnic card against Kyiv. And on the other, it points to the weakness of Russian ethnic identity more generally, something few Russian nationalists want to admit.

In an interview posted on Moscow's at the end of last week, Nikolai Shul'ga, deputy director of the Kyiv Institute of Sociology and head of the Foundation for the Support of Russian Culture noted that the number of people in Ukraine identifying themselves as Russians fell from 11.3 million in 1989 to 8 million in 2001 (

Emigration explains only a few hundred thousand of that 3.3 million decline, he said. Most of it reflects "ethnic conformism," a feeling on the part of many there that it is "more suitable" to declare oneself an ethnic Ukrainian, even if one speaks Russian and feels himself part of Russian culture.

Indeed, he continued, what is happening in Ukraine is a separation of language and national self-identification, with the number of Ukrainians who declared Russian to be their native language actually increased by more than a million between the 1989 Soviet and 2001 Ukrainian censuses.

There are at least three reasons for this: First, some of the Russians who had re-identified as Ukrainians nonetheless declared Russian as their native language. Second, the two censuses asked questions about identity and language in a different order, with language first in the former and identity first in the second, an order that by itself may have contributed to this change.

And third – and this may be the most important finding for both Ukraine and the Russian Federation – the changes between the two censuses suggest that for many but far from all people in Ukraine, national identity and native language are not nearly as tightly linked as many have assumed in the past.

For Kyiv, this means that national identity in Ukraine is increasingly strong, with people retaining their Ukrainian national identity even if they continue or decide to begin to speak Russian, a pattern few Ukrainian nationalists find acceptable but one that points to the success rather than the failure of Ukrainian statehood.

And for Moscow, this pattern means that promoting Russian language in Ukraine as the Russian government and its allies continue to try to do – most recently by a new website directed at Russian speakers in Ukraine ( – may not have the identity or political consequences that the Russian government would like.

Asked whether he believed that the number in Ukraine of those who identify themselves as ethnic Russians will continue to fall, even if the use of Russian continues to be widespread, Shul'ga said that over the next several years "the number of Russians and Russian speakers will decline significantly."

Meanwhile, another report last week calls attention to another aspect of the relationship between Russian and Ukrainian identity. Next year marks the centenary of completion of the tsarist program to resettle Ukrainians (and others) in the Russian Far East in order to strengthen the central Russian government's control of that region (

The Ukrainians who were moved there called their place of settlement "zeleniy klin" ['the green triangle"] and were able to maintain not only their language but even their identity well into the 20th century despite the efforts of the Soviet authorities to russianize and russify them.

The identity of this several hundred thousand-strong community played a key role in the defeat of the White Russian forces in the Far East during the Russian Civil War because the Whites unlike the Reds refused to promise to respect the right of the Ukrainian nation to self-determination.

Soviet researchers, émigré historians like Ivan Svit, and American scholars like John Stephan pointed out that many residents in the Far East retained their Ukrainian identity even when under pressure from the Soviet authorities they learned Russian and declared themselves to be ethnic Russians.

(In the mid-1980s, in a move few now recall, the United States broadcast to the region from Japan in Ukrainian, the only time in the history of US international broadcasting to the Soviet Union when the US broadcast to a region in a language different than the one the Soviet government declared was the language of the titular nationality.)

And in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, some in the Ukrainian parliament called for the recognition of the Zeleniy klin as Eastern Ukraine, a proposal that went nowhere but did call attention to the millions of people in the Russian Federation who continued to define themselves as Ukrainians even if they had to declare something else.

Now, this anniversary of the formation of the Green Triangle is likely to call the attention not only of many in Moscow and Kyiv but of analysts in the West that Ukrainian national identity is stronger than many have thought and that Russian national identity for many, except when supported by a strong state, may very well be weaker.

Western Ukrainians Ukrainianizing Crimea

This is a pro-Russian article in Russian on a pro-Russian site, but I thought it was interesting that they mentioned that Western Ukrainians are now working to Ukrainianize Crimea. That's a very good sign for the future unity and stability of Ukraine!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Protest against racism in central Kyiv October 3, 2008

An interesting picture from Ukraine:

"Immigrants stand with placards during a protest against racism in central Kyiv October 3, 2008"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ukrainian Scientists Worldwide Unite!

If you are interested in Ukrainian science or scholarship done by Ukrainains, I'd like to welcome you to join this site!

Fact: Ukraine was responsible for 40% of science research conducted in USSR.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ukraine Ship Hijacked

A Ukrainian ship "Faina" carrying 33 T-72 tanks and other heavy weaponry paid for by the government of Kenya has been hijacked by a bunch of Somali pirates. You have to wonder why a ship carrying heavy-duty weaponry wasn't better protected. How did a few pirates on small boats take it over? Sure, they were armed with AKs and granade launchers. But can they possibly sink such a large ship?

And now reportedly, the Ukrainian shipping company is going to pay $8 million dollars for the release of the ship and its crew. What a waste...

The sword of Russia is shining again?

An interesting article in LA Times on the rise of tensions in Crimea, due to pressure from the resurgent imperialist Russia. A telling quote from the second page of the article:

"In a scene that seemed cut from tsarist times, Russian navy officials and Orthodox priests sat at a long table, knocking back shots of vodka and proclaiming emotional toasts.

"The West shuddered 150 years ago when Russia showed its sword, and the Black Sea turned red with blood," said Igor Bebin, a pink-robed priest who rose to his feet, vodka glass held high.

"That was the supreme truth. And the truth is that now, for the first time, the sword of Russia is shining again. Be afraid of the sword."

The Russians cheered, and took a deep drink."

Ukraine-Russia tensions rise in Crimea

Megan Stack, Los Angeles Times,0,2665356.story?page=1