This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Arguing that Ukrainians are a different nationality from Russians, is like arguing that Texans are a different nationality from Americans. It is false on the grounds that they are a people of the same ethnic make-up and have a shared cultural, religious, and linguistic history.
The 20 Questions with Vladimir Putin project is an interview with the President of Russia on the most topical subjects of social and political life in Russia and the world.
The first part of the interview is about the tasks of the new Russian government. The second part of Vladimir Putin's interview is about the Russia - Ukraine relationship.
Has Vladimir Putin seen the Servant of the People TV series? Is dialogue with Zelensky possible? How to view Ukrainians’ national identity? Are Russians and Ukrainians one people? In the second episode of our “20 Questions with Vladimir Putin” video interview, Andrei Vandenko spoke with the President about relations with Ukraine. Our special project “20 Questions with Vladimir Putin” consists of 20 episodes, in which we asked the President important and very bold questions.
This project is the first-ever of its kind not only for TASS, but for the Russian segment of the Internet. The episodes will be uploaded from February 20 to March 26. Watch them on all TASS platforms! In this episode:
00:25 — On the Servant of the People TV series
01:03 — On relations with Zelensky
01:45 — On ties with Ukraine
01:59 — Who are the Ukrainians and what unites them with Russians?
03:56 — On relations between the Russian and the Ukrainian churches
05:05 — What tore ties between Russians and Ukrainians apart?
05:30 — On competitive advantages in today’s world
05:47 — On Ukrainian identity
06:20 — On Ukrainian nationalism
06:52 — What did Ukraine lose when relations with Russia fell apart?
07:42 — On the Ukrainian power structure’s interests
08:20 — On potential implications if Russia and Ukraine joined forces
- Ukraine. Have you seen the ”Servant of the People“ series?
- Even the segment when president Goloborodko is choosing a wristwatch like Putin's?
- I haven't seen it. I don't know either Goloborodko or who is choosing what there. I haven't seen it.
- Ok. Though a very interesting pair forms: a galley slave and a servant of the people.
- As you know, whatever goes around comes around.
- Ultimately, it’s not what you call yourself, it’s what you do and how you do it.
- Is there a chance that you come to terms with Zelensky?
- What about?
- About peace, about friendship.
- Hope is the last thing to die. Yes, there is a chance. But unfortunately, after his return from Paris he started talking about the necessity to revise the Minsk Agreements. This begs the question. Nevertheless, we managed to agree on the exchange of detained persons and we now managed to agree on gas.
- Does the fact that today we are not friends with Ukraine represent a loss for us?
-Yes, of course, but as I have repeatedly said I believe that we are one and the same people.
-The Ukrainians don't like it very much either.
- I don't know whether they like this or not but if you look at the reality that is true. You see, we had no difference in our languages until the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. And only as a result of Polonization, the part of the Ukrainians who lived in the territory under the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, only around the 16th century the first language differences appeared.
- In general, the Ukrainians were called the people who lived …
- Ukrainians were the people who lived on the frontiers of the Russian state. There were Ukrainians in Pskov; Ukrainians were the people who defended the southern frontiers from attacks by the Crimean khan. Ukrainians were in the Urals. Ukrainians were everywhere. We had no language differences.
Moreover, around the same time, before the 14th and 15th centuries, even those people, the east Slavs, who lived in the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – both in Muscovy and in Poland – were called Russians. The first language differences appeared much later…
- History is history, but now we are talking about the present day.
- To talk about today or tomorrow we need to know history, need to know who we are, where do we come from, what unites us.
- What unites us is… - Now many things divide us.
- Many things divide us. But we should not forget about things that unite us. And should not destroy what we have. For example, the Church.
Why did one need to destroy the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church?
You know that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is in fact fully autonomous; it has been fully autonomous before, including in terms of the election of hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Moscow Patriarchate has never had any influence on the election of hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. In fact, it has always been independent, completely. There has been only spiritual unity and mentioning. The Patriarch of Moscow has been mentioned, recalled all the time in churches. That's it! It has been the only thing uniting the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
But they needed to cut the cords that bind. Why?
You say people do not understand. They simply do not know it. If they know, they will understand better.
- They should be told that. Why should one be embarrassed? Is it insulting for people?
- Some time passed. As a result of people sharing the border with the Catholic world, with Europe, a community of people feeling to some extent independent from the Russian State began to emerge.
How should we feel about that? I have already said: we should respect that. But we should not forget about our shared community.
Moreover, in the modern world, our joint efforts give us huge competitive advantages. And, vice versa, division makes us weaker.
The Ukrainian factor was specifically played out on the eve of World War I by the Austrian special service.
Why? It is well-known – to divide and rule. Absolutely clear.
Nevertheless, if it happened this way, and a big part of the Ukrainian population got a sense of their own national identity and so on, we should respect that.
We should proceed from the reality but not forget who we are and where we come from.
By the way, the fathers of the Ukrainian nationalism, they never spoke about the urgent need to break up with Russia. Strange as it may seem, but their major works of the 19th century say that Ukraine is:
a) multinational and should be a federal state, and
b) should build good relations with Russia.
Today’s nationalists seem to have forgotten that. I will tell you why they have forgotten that. Do you know why? Because the interests of the Ukrainian people are not the main issue on their agenda.
How can it be the interest of the Ukrainian people if the break-up with Russia has led to loss of space engineering, shipbuilding, aircraft engineering and engine manufacturing; it is virtually the deindustrialization of the country that is happening. How can it be among interests?
The World Bank demands to stop cross-subsidizing. What's good in it? Or, they make them export round wood from the Carpathians. Soon the Carpathians will turn bald.
Why do this if, by joining efforts, we increase our competitive advantages manifold? Why lose it? Why throw everything away, what for?
Because the Ukrainian leaders or those who got power pursued their self-interests. And what were they? It was not even to earn more by robbing the Ukrainian people but to retain what has been plundered before.
This was the main objective.
So, where is the ‘dough’? Pardon my French. Where is the money? In foreign banks.
What do they need to do for this? Show that they serve those who have this money. Hence, the only thing they sell is Russophobia. Because some like dividing Ukraine and Russia, they believe it's a very important mission.
Because any integration of Russia and Ukraine, along with their capacities and competitive advantages, would lead to the emergence of a rival, a global rival for Europe and the world.
No one wants that. That's why they'll do anything to pull us apart.
Source: Russia Insight
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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