Location Poland Poland

Polish Left Are Interested How Russians Live In Ukraine

On April 20, 2017, an international round table was held in Warsaw on the theme: “Ukraine – Three Years After Maidan. PATHOS OF DESTRUCTION.” Public event was organized by various Polish left activists. It brought together scientists, human rights activists, political and trade union leaders of Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Syria. The round table attracted interest of representatives of Polish scientific and political circles who made up the audience of the event and who actively participated in the discussion of all submitted papers. They were interested not only in ordinary life in the country of victorious coup d’état but were also occupied with problems of language minorities. Polish public opinion knows very well how ethnic Poles live in Ukraine, so they invited guests who can describe situation with Russians and Trancarpathian minorities.

In an introductory speech, the conference moderator Polish journalist Yatsek Kaminsky focused the participants’ attention on the relevance of the conference dedicated to the results of the three years that have passed since the victory of the Maidan. Ukraine is Poland’s closest neighbor, the speaker emphasized, and the processes that are taking place in that country are extremely important for Poland.

The introductory speech was followed by A. Prigarin, professor at the Odessa National University, who chose as the topic of his speech the problem of Ukraine’s choice between cultural pluralism and ethnic solidity of the society. The speaker noted that there is not one homogeneous ethnic area in Ukraine. He gave an analysis of the development of Ukrainian society for the last several centuries and emphasized that as a result, a historically conditioned culture of good-neighborliness developed on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, there are constant attempts in the country to control the sphere of interethnic relations. In different periods of history, this took place in various forms – from attempts at assimilation to creation of unique ethno-cultural reservations. Today, the speaker described the current policy of the Ukrainian authorities as an attempt to block inter-ethnic ties.

Separately, the author of the report dwelled on the situation of the Russian and Russian-speaking population of Ukraine. He noted that the basis of the national policy of Ukraine under the current conditions is the blocking of everything Russian. At the same time, there are 8 million Russians in Ukraine according to the last, although already quite old, census, without mentioning the Russian-speaking population, who are also usually seriously restricted in their rights. This situation is hushed up at the official level and is intensively discussed at the domestic level. Most of the ethnic communities are actively involved in economic life, but are removed from decision-making in the ethno-national sphere and in other important spheres of social and economic life.

Professor Prigarin gave a detailed answer to the question of what feelings the Russian and Russian-speaking population of Ukraine is experiencing today. He believes that the basic feeling of today’s Russian citizen of the country is uncertainty.

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Representatives of Hungary Matias Benyik and one of the leaders of the Rusyn movement Mikhail Tyaslo spoke in detail about the history and current situation of Ukrainian Hungarians and Rusyns. This topic caused a lively discussion in the hall, during which both speakers answered questions related to the vision of the future of small ethnic groups in Ukraine. The presenters see this future only in the revival of the centuries-old, in many respects unique, cooperation of the peoples inhabiting Ukrainian Transcarpathia.

During the discussion of these reports, the role of local oligarchs in inciting interethnic conflicts was revealed and information was provided on the ways of recruiting “volunteers” in pro-Ukrainian battalions. One of them is as follows: during classes at schools commanders come in in full combat equipment and take “volunteers” directly from classrooms.

 

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