Why Ukrainians Resent the Russians

by Oleh Chornohuz,

author, member of Ukrainian parliament



 

Here is the opinion of one Ukrainian patriot, Oleh Chornohuz, with which no other patriot could possibly disagree:


For me,
the Russian language is the unstoppable flow of  Ukrainian blood spilled by our
“elder Russian brother”  who, according to his birth records, is by far the younger  brother. With this blood we, Ukrainians, have written our history. And when we read our bloody history, we have to take sedatives and ponder the question: why was (is) this relationship called the “friendship of fraternal  nations?”
 

For me,
the Russian language is robbery committed in broad  daylight before the eyes of the
entire civilized world: the  co-opting of the name of a neighbouring country (Kyivan Rus’-Ukraine) and its inclusion in all the maps of the world by  supplanting the term “the state of Muscovy” with the words “Russian Empire” (1713).

For me,
the Russian language is the condemnation and anathema proclaimed by the
Synod of the Russian Orthodox  Church against the “new Kyivan books”
of the Ukrainian  theologians Petro Mohyla, Kyrylo Stavrovetsky-Tranquillon,  and Simeon Polotsky (1690).
 

For me,
the Russian language is the deliberate burning of  all the original Ukrainian historical annals, the literary  heritage of Kyivan Rus’, the treaties of hetmans Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Ivan Vyhovsky—our historical memory.
 

For me,
the Russian language is the ukase issued by Tsar  Peter I, prohibiting the printing of books in the Ukrainian  language and the excision of passages from liturgical books.
 
 
For me,
the Russian language is the crucifixion of Ukraine. It is the millions of bones of Ukrainian Cossack prisoners  of war, which are literally immured in the foundations of St. Petersburg, the capital of Muscovy (1703); the all-out  massacre of the Ukrainian population (over 17,000 men, women and children) of Baturyn, the capital  of the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate, the day before the Battle of  Poltava (1709); the devastation of Zaporozhian Sich Cossack outposts; and the use of Ukrainian forced laborers on the  White Sea Canal and other artificial channels.
 

For me,
the Russian language is the command issued by Tsar  Peter III to rewrite, from Ukrainian into Russian, all  government decrees and regulations.


For me,
the Russian language is the decree issued by  Tsarina Catherine II, forbidding instruction in the Ukrainian language at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (1753).


For me,
the Russian language is the closure of Ukrainian schools attached to regimental Cossack offices and the uninterrupted spilling of Ukrainian blood by the bayonets of
their Muscovite “brothers” (1775).
 

For me,
the Russian language is “the conquest of Siberia  and the subjugation of the Crimea” (a line from Russian  playwright Alexander Griboedov’s play Woe from Wit) as promoted by Russia’s poets and painters.

For me,
the Russian language is the sentiment expressed by Russia’s pre-eminent poet Alexander Pushkin: “Humble  thyself, O Caucasus, for Yermolov is coming.”
 

For me,
the Russian language is the deportation of the  larger and smaller nations of the Muscovite Empire to “unexplored Siberia.”


For me,
the Russian language is the intensification of the brutal persecution of the Ukrainian language and culture in  the 19th century, as exemplified by the prohibition of the finest works of Ukrainian writers.
 

For me,
the Russian language is the closure of Ukrainian Sunday schools for adults
in the Russian Empire (1862).
 

For me,
the Russian language is the circular issued by Peter  Valuev, tsarist Russia’s Chief of Gendarmes, who banned  the printing of spiritual and  popular-educational books in the Ukrainian language  because “there never was, is not, and never will be a separate Ukrainian language” (1863-1876).
 

For me,
the Russian language is the declaration of Dmitry Tolstoy, tsarist Russia’s education minister: “The end  goal of the education of all foreigners should be their
complete Russification”
(1870).

For me,
the Russian language is the Ems Ukase of Tsar Alexander II, which banned Ukrainian performances, the singing of Ukrainian songs, and even the printing of music notes accompanied by Ukrainian-language texts (1876).

For me,
the Russian language is the prohibition against the translation of Russian literature into Ukrainian and the ban on publishing Ukrainian children’s books (1892).

For me,
the Russian language is the closure by tsarist Russia’s Prime Minister Petr Stolypin of all Ukrainian cultural centers, associations, and printing houses; the prohibition against giving lectures in Ukrainian and organizing any kind of non-Russian clubs.

For me,
the Russian language is the resolution passed by the 7th Noble Assembly in Moscow concerning the exclusivity of Russian-language education and the inadmissibility of using other languages of instruction in schools throughout the Russian Empire (1911).

For me,
the Russian language is the interdiction against commemorating the 100th anniversary of Ukraine’s national poet Taras Shevchenko and the liquidation of the Ukrainian  press (1914).
 

For me,
the Russian language is the Russification campaign in western Ukraine, the prohibition on Ukrainian letters,  education, and the church (1914-1916).

For me,
the Russian language is the occupation of Ukraine by the Russian Bolsheviks and their red terror, organized by Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin.

 
For me,
the Russian language is the summary executions of Ukrainian civilians in Kyiv by the cutthroats led by Soviet commander Mikhail Muravev  simply because they spoke Ukrainian and some were wearing  Ukrainian embroidered shirts (1918).
 

For me,
the Russian language is the phenomenon of cannibalism during the first and second of the three famines  that took place in Ukraine in the
twentieth century (1921, 1932-33).


For me,
the Russian language is the genocide, known as the Holodomor, which killed at least 10 million Ukrainian peasants, the finest farmers in the world, as Stalin informed Churchill during a conversation by indicating all the fingers of his two hands (1933).
 

For me,
the Russian language is a crime without punishment. It is the Stalin-ordered deaths of tens of thousands of my innocent countrymen in the first days of the Second World War in the park named after the Soviet Russian writer Maxim Gorky in my native city of Vinnytsia.
 
For me,
the Russian language is the poorly clothed, fed, and armed Ukrainian troops who were used as cannon fodder during World War Two to fend off the Nazi occupiers, who
were armed to the teeth; ditto for the Soviet war in Afghanistan.


For me,

the Russian language is the millions of Ukrainian refugees who fled to the West before the second Soviet  invasion of western Ukraine (1943).
 

For me,

the Russian language is the wholesale deportation of the Chechens and Ingushetians from their native lands  during the Second World War.  >For me,

For me,
the Russian language is the complete assimilation of the peoples of the Muscovite Empire, be it tsarist, communist, or post-Soviet.


For me,

the Russian language is the pledge “to kill,  slaughter, hang, drown, and exile those ‘khokhols,’”the derogatory term with which our “fraternal”  neighbors, the Russians,
refer to Ukrainians.


For me,

the Russian language is the political assassinations of the finest sons of my nation not only in Ukraine but outside its borders.

For me,
the Russian language is Siberia, Kolyma, the Solovetsky Islands, and the hundreds of other death camps in  the Soviet GULAG, where the most brilliant Ukrainian
intellectuals of the twentieth century—poets, including  blind ones, writers, scholars, academicians, scientists, and  clergymen, bishops, and archbishops) met their untimely end.


For me,

the Russian language is 21 January 1978, the day that Oleksa Hirnyk from the city of Kalush went to the gravesite of Ukraine’s national poet Taras Shevchenko in Kaniv,
where he scattered a thousand handwritten leaflets protesting the Russification of the Ukrainian people. Then he doused himself with gas and raised a lighter to his chest. Hirnyk’s death marked the year of the building of the “single Soviet people.”
 

For me,

the Russian language is Vladimir Putin’s notorious pledge to eradicate the Chechens’ age-old struggle for independence: “We’ll get them anywhere—if we find them sitting in the outhouse, we will rub them out there” (1999).


For me,

the Russian language is the executions of Ukrainian  patriots who stood up for their right to speak and write in  Ukrainian.


For me,

the Russian language is the language of a fascist,  a racist, a chauvinist—and my bitterest enemy.


For me,

the Russian language is the continuing threats made by the Putins, Zhirinovskys, Zatulins, and Luzhkovs of Russia to launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes at Ukraine.


For me,

the Russian language is the continuing cruelty and disrespect shown to my nation by the installation or  maintenance of monuments honoring the tsarist and Soviet oppressors of Ukraine (2008).


For me,

the Russian language is the language of an oppressor, a conqueror, and an occupier.
 

Today, the Russian language in independent Ukraine, if  Ukraine is indeed independent, is the death of my Ukrainian language and Ukraine’s final enslavement.

 


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