Kiev: Russians are not native of Ukraine
by Vladimir Rozanskij

A bill presented by Ukrainian President Zelenskii sparks Putin’s wrath: "They are copying the theories and practices of Nazi Germany". Russian is equated with a foreign language, moreover “non-European”. The diatribe on Kievan Rus' in the 11th century.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - A historical-anthropological controversy is igniting the hearts of the Russians towards the Ukrainians. The permanent conflict in the Donbass was not enough, and even the diatribe over the shirts of the Ukrainian national football team, which presents a reference to the Crimea occupied by the Russians in 2014. The new fuse is a bill presented to the Kiev Rada (Parliament) by President Volodymyr Zelenskyj on the "native peoples" of the country crossed by the Dnieper.

Russian ethnicity was not included in the list of these original ethnicities, causing Vladimir Putin himself to go on a rampage. On June 12, the national holiday of independent Russia, the Russian president speculated that "now they will measure the skulls of our relatives, and millions will have to leave Ukraine in order not to live as second-rate citizens. They are copying the theories and practices of Nazi Germany”.

The Russian State Duma also issued a note of protest, calling the project an "offense to historical memory, a new attempt to interpose obstacles and reasons for mutual hatred between Ukrainians, Russians and other native peoples of Ukraine".

In fact, in Zelenskii's list there are only three other peoples, besides the actual Ukrainians: The Crimean Tatars, the original inhabitants of the Crimean Peninsula and the Karaites, a Jewish community of Turkish origin settled in the Crimea and on the Black Sea coast. The Ukrainians themselves, moreover, are related to the Poles and largely descend from the Don Cossacks, who gathered free men from East to West in search of autonomy.

The Ukrainian president has promised that the law will be approved before the summer. It was presented at the Rada last May 18, the day on which Ukraine remembers the victims of the genocide of the Crimean Tatars, with the mass deportations of 1944 decided by Stalin: two million people were transferred to Siberia in a week.

Zelenskii also clarified that the law will allow for "the de-occupation and reintegration of Crimea and Sevastopol, with a conception of the development of the Tatar-Crimean language by 2032". The law therefore has a directly anti-Russian purpose, providing for the return of the peninsula to the Ukrainian homeland.

According to Zelenskii, “we will finally do what should have been done 30 years ago, after eight terms of the Rada and all my predecessors “. The term "native peoples" (korennye narody) is even established in the Ukrainian Constitution, in which the state is committed to "the development of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity not only of national minorities, but also of all native peoples of Ukraine ".

The same concept results from various laws of the country, such as that on official languages, of which Ukrainian is the state one. Those of "native peoples" can be used up to middle school for teaching, and all the others are studied as foreign languages ​​ (European ones can be used for individual courses). Russian is in fact equated with a foreign language, moreover “non-European”.

The draft law reports the characteristics of a "native people": it was formed on the territory of Ukraine; is the bearer of a linguistic and cultural identity; has traditional, social and cultural representation bodies; he is aware of being a native people of Ukraine; constitutes a minority in the country. Finally - what excludes the Russians - it does not have its own state behind it outside the

Ukrainian borders. According to Zelenskii, these are characteristics in line with the United Nations documents on these issues.

The diatribe between Russians and Ukrainians has its roots in the common origins of 11th century Kievan Rus', of which Moscow would become heir after the "Tartar yoke" in the 1400s. The Russians also have laws for the protection of minority "native peoples", and they consider the Ukrainians one of the variants of their Russian-led multinational composition, in fact without really distinguishing them from their own ethnicity, as do the Belarusians.

Zelenskii's initiative, which Putin mocked by saying that "he himself is of Jewish nationality", therefore tries to close a centuries-old dispute rather hastily, and the definitions on paper will not change the situation of a people whose identity remains. always pending, on the border between Western Europe and East Asia.