Ruscism = Russian fascism
- Apr 18, 2013
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
These Russian speakers in Ukraine reject Putin's war
Missile attacks have pummeled Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which is only 25 miles from the Russian border in the country’s northeast.
Shelled residential neighborhood in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
KHARKIV, Ukraine — Sheltering in the subway system of his besieged city, Leonid Perevoznik laughed bitterly between rounds of Russian shelling. “It’s funny because he says he’s going to defend Russian speakers in Ukraine, in Kharkiv,” Perevoznik, 24, said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I’m a Russian speaker, and I can’t see any discrimination against me in Ukraine. It’s funny. It’s like a joke,” the software developer added. Putin has used the pretext of protecting Russian speakers from what he termed “genocide” and oppression by the government in Kyiv to justify his invasion of Ukraine and earlier annexations of the country’s territory in 2014. Not only is there no evidence of a genocide against Russian speakers in Ukraine, but many Ukrainian Russian speakers reject Putin’s claims of discrimination against them. In fact, his military campaigns may be pushing more of them into switching from speaking Russian to speaking Ukrainian. The languages are distinct but share many words, and as a rule of thumb Ukrainian is spoken more widely in the west of the country than in the east, which is closer to the border with Russia. Many Ukrainians are bilingual.
For the most part, though, Ukrainians switch between Russian and Ukrainian without batting an eye. “Almost everyone in Kharkiv speaks Russian, and no one tells us to speak Ukrainian. It’s your choice,” said Serhii Shpak, 28, who fled northeastern Kharkiv last week for relative safety farther west. “There is no racism or any other kind of ism. … Russian- speaking people don’t need any protection in Ukraine,” said Shpak, also a web developer. Another stark counter to Putin’s narrative and justification for war is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, himself a Russian speaker.
Putin pushes the language lie because: (1) Kremlin-owned media in Russia has been telling the Russian people that Russian-speakers in Ukraine are persecuted and (2) People in the West generally have very little granular knowledge of Ukraine.
It is not at all unusual for a husband to speak Russian and his wife Ukrainian (or vice versa). Most people are, to various degree, bilingual. There is also Surzhyk, which is a blend of the two languages.
Ukrainian is the national language and is taught in all schools, but anyone can also choose Russian as an elective language.