Ukrainians In Search of Their Identity!

After Italy's unification in 1860, Italian leader Massimo d'Azeglio remarked that "We have made Italy, we now have to make Italians."

The same is true of many post-Soviet states, including Ukraine, where nation- and state-building are as much part of their transition as are liberal democratic and market economic reforms. Viktor Yushchenko's government is thus taking the same degree of interest in national integration as it is in economic reform. Government measures aimed at enhancing national integration can be divided into four areas.

Ukraine Is For Russians…?  
  "Why should we be arguing about the language", states the expert of sociology-when convincing facts are available?"  
Your  nationality

The magazine "Politics and Culture" narrates the results of the latest sociological research on the language issue in Ukraine conducted by the "Democratic Initiative" and Socio-Galap Company.

Ivan der Stul the OSCE high commissioner visited Ukraine. His major goal was to find out how the national minorities' rights for the language are insured by the state. It is not fortuitous. This issue is now often raised by the angry and exultant advocates of the two-state language status as well as by the ardent supporters of the single state language.
It is perhaps of the sociology's priority to figure out the truth.Individuals tend to make assumptions that are based on the emotions. The last population census of 1989 offered the next data: 72,6% was Ukrainians, 22%--Russians, and 5,6% represented others. The 87,7% of the Ukrainians spoke the language of their nationality, while the other 12,3% chose the other "USSR nations' language" as their native.

After Ukraine became independent the particular research was further carried out by the joint efforts of the Socis-Galap Company and "Democratic Initiative" Fund. They brought off the annual polls during 1994-1999. The polls were conducted on the merit base and included the grown up population (18 and older) that represented various socio-demographic groups. 1800 individuals were questioned annually.

The given charts reveal no change occurred in the number of people using Ukrainian language during the 1994-1999. About 15% of the questioned who defined themselves, as Ukrainians do not consider Ukrainian to be their native language. It is also known that attitude towards Ukrainian varies by region. In the East and South the usage of the Ukrainian language is quite rare.

Here are the results of the poll conducted in the Donets'k oblast in June of 2000 (620 respondents). Only 41% of the Ukrainian population in the area considers Ukrainian to be their native tongue. Moreover, only 8% of those speak the language in the family.

If Mr. Ivan der Stul had the data he would definitely draw one conclusion: "The rights of only one national minority are not properly assured".
Your  native language

Language you speak at home

Your  nationality

Your  native language

Language you speak at home

  Ukraine-Russia History in the
  Context of Russification
  We very often speak about the destruction of the Ukrainian language and culture during the Soviet times. But we forget that Soviets only continued the oppressive policy towards the language that Russian Empire embarked on a long time ago. Therefore, it is worth reminding some facts from the common Ukrainian-Russian history.  
  1720-The Decree of the Peter I prohibited book printing and sanctioned the exclusion of the church literature in Ukrainian.

1753-The Decree of the Catherine II prohibited lecturing in Ukrainian at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

1769-The Synod of the Russian Church issued a decree on the expropriation of the Ukrainian textbooks.

1775-Zaporiz'ka Sich was abolished. All Ukrainian schools that existed within the structure were shut down.

1863-The Valuyevskiy Circular forbade Ukrainian publishing in the Russian Empire.

1876-The Emskiy Decree banned the import of the books in Ukrainian to the Russian Empire.

1908-The Senate of the Russian Empire issued a decree that acknowledged Ukrainian culture and education to be dangerous, namely "that can provoke the consequences which threaten the peace and security in the Empire".

1933-The Stalin's cable on stopping the "Ukrainization". The letter "´" (g) was dropped out of the Ukrainian alphabet because of having the nationalistic connotation.

1938-The Resolution of the RNK and TsK VKP (b) on the non-compulsory learning of the Russian language at the schools of the national republics and regions.

1958-The Article envisaged in the law on "The Education at the Republics of the USSR" enabled students' and their parents to choose other language of instruction in addition to Russian.

1958-The Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Verhovna Rada of Ukraine on the irrelevance of the Ukrainian as the instruction language at the higher educational establishments.

1978-The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR approved the resolution on extending the instruction of the Russian language and literature.

1983-Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR on intensive learning of Russian. It also envisioned the 15% salary promotion for the teachers of the Russian language.

(Before 1917 all officials received 50% of the salary rise for conducting the "russification")

1989-The Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR approved the resolution on "Granting Russian language the official status"
o p i n i o n
"Do you really feel prejudice towards your language?"    Serhiy Soprun, people's deputy, "The Regions' Revival" party:
-No. And it seems to me that language issue is something artificially made up. Ukrainian people are loyal by nature.

 Valyriy Miroshnychenko, director of the "FESTA" company:
-I am Russian by nationality. Therefore, all the Russian culture restrictions are of great concern to me. How come a person, who spoke Russian all his life, can do the business correspondence grammatically correct in the foreign dialect?

 Serhiy Soboyev, Prime Minister's Councelor, "Reforms and Order" party:

-No prejudice, but for one. Journalists always ask me questions in Russian when I am ready to answer in the state language.

 Serhiy Moskvin, people's deputy, "Green Party of Ukraine":
-I see none. But most of the Ukrainian mass media is in Russian; the same is applicable to the literature. The state has got to deal with it somehow.

 Teymur Bahirov, Prime Minister's counselor:
-It does not bother me. I speak Russian at home and Ukrainian at work.

 Roman Bezsmertnyi, the President's representative in the Parliament:
-(In Ukrainian) I follow the principle: why should I learn their language? Let them learn mine.

 Oleksander Pan'ko, the head of the Executive Office at the President's Administration:

-(In Russian) I speak whatever language I like. And no one corrects me.

 Vitaliy Kapranov, the director of the producer's agency "Zelenyi Pes":
-I feel it constantly. I can't get information in my native Ukrainian language. The state bodies ignore it as well.
"Politics and Culture" reports the next responses:

Les' Tanyuk, people's deputy, deputy head of the "Peoples' Movement of Ukraine" party:
-Sure. 80% of the daily television programs are aired in Russian. 8 out of the 14 newspapers I buy in Verhovna Rada every morning are in Russian. What country do I live in?

 Vladyslav Kasyanenko, the director of the "RGWC" company:
-I speak exclusively Russian. The business partners who respect me speak Russian. If they don't, I regard it as sheer incompetence of conducting business talks.

 Myhailo Pohrebins'kyi, the director of the Political Research Center in Kiev:
-I am Russian speaking. But I feel no prejudice whatsoever. I think that it is irrelevant to talk about any kind of bias. However, I've heard that it is an issue in some other cities.

 Yuriy Bezborodov, the president of the "Golden Telecom":

-I don't personally. The company's staff speaks different languages: Russian, English, and Ukrainian. When working they basically speak Russian and English. But I never heard anyone asking me, like "Why do you speak Russian?"

 Vikto Suslov, people's deputy, Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine (united):
-I never felt it. I always preferred to speak Russian. I find nothing unusual about it.

Ukrainian Language Ukrainian Language, one of the East Slavic languages. It is now spoken throughout Ukraine, in parts of Poland, Slovakia and Belarus and by various groups in the USA, Canada, Russia and elsewhere.

Ukrainian is an official (state) language of Ukraine according to it's Constitution (Article 10).

Distinctive Ukrainian traits appear in 12th-century manuscripts, becoming notably more pronounced in writings after the fall of Kyiv Rus' in the 13th century. However there are some very ancient documents and artifacts show that Ukrainian (or Rus' language) is one of the oldest languages in the world.

Some linguists (M.Krasuski "The Antiquity Of The Ukrainian Language" Odesa 1880, J.Stojko "Letter To Gods' Eye" Vantage Press N.Y. 1978 and others) believe that Ukrainian is identical with so-called Proto-Indo-European - the father of the Indo-Eropean family of languages.

Modern literary Ukrainian developed from the colloquial language of the 17th and 18th centuries. Of the three East Slavic languages, Ukrainian is farther from Russian than is Belarusian (about 70% of Ukrainian vocabluary and pronunciation are different from Russian). Besides some details of word formation and syntax, Ukrainian has several vowel and consonant sounds that are absent from both Russian and Belarusian. It also shares certain sounds with Belarusian, however, and these two languages are linked by transitional dialects. Ukrainian is now written with the Cyrillic alphabet however centuries ago there were some other (Rune, Glagolic, probably even Phoenical etc).