Russian language in Ukraine

What is the percentage of Ukrainian citizens in Ukraine who speak the Russian language? About 30% of the Ukrainians speak Russian as their primary language.

This was because it was a conscious effort to stamp our Ukrainian identity. Russian imperialism tried to flex over the democratic and free people of Ukraine. They tried to brainwash the people like they had propagandized their people.

However, most Russian-speaking Ukrainians are in the autonomous region of Crimea. About 50% of the people in this area are ethnic Russians, and about 75% speak Russian.  However, this is only one region.  The rest of Ukraine does not have these percentages. This is only because of the Russians moved people in there to skew the numbers.

In New Mexico Spanish speakers are about 50% and in Puerto Rico 95% percent of the people speak Spanish,  does that mean the USA should go Spanish?

Most everyone in Ukraine speaks Ukrainian, not Russian.  A minority speaks Russian, but many people in the UK speak Arabic; therefore, should the UK have Arabic as the official language?

Ukrainian should remain the official language of Ukraine.  If people want to speak Russian, they can, but Ukraine is Ukraine, not a state of Russia. Therefore, The Russian language should not be official in Ukraine.

In the Kyiv region, only 7% of the people speak Russian compared to 90% of Ukrainians.

Ukrainian is spoken by 71% percent of Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine.  However, Russian was required.  For a people, in this case Ukrainians,  to define themselves as a nation it is important to keep the Ukrainian language not Russian as the official language.

In Western Ukraine, like Ternopil Oblast (where my family is from) and Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, the percentage of Russian language speakers is only about 1%.

Why is the Russian language in Ukraine?

Because Russia is an Empire and always has been, this percentage is because Ukraine went under a forced Russification and colonization program by Moscow.  Ukrainian was not a legal language.  Now Ukrainian is the language of Ukraine, however, Moscow is trying to change that and bring Russia back to its official language status.

The whole objective of Moscow is to try to disrupt and weaken Ukraine so it can further extend its empire.

I have studied Russian history, and for 1000 years, they do nothing but try to exploit and extract wealth for the elite in Moscow. The tragedy is, the Russian people suffer the most.  Russian language speakers and Russians in Ukraine and Russia could be wealthy if they simply voted out these pro-Moscow oligarchs. However, it is not as easy as it seems, as Moscow cheats in the Ukrainian elections.

Ukrainian elections

Moscow always tries to buy votes, poison Ukrainian politicians, bribe officials, and rig the Ukrainian elections.  Mean while, the West is too afraid to say anything. Germany needs gas from Russia; the US needs Russia to support its Oil policies in the Middle East.  This is all foolishness.  Ukraine is a rich country in terms of people and potential, and if Ukraine was integrated into the EU and NATO, then Russia’s position would be weakened, and eventually, Russia would be free from its Moscow Oligarchs.

Since the unjust and brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, there is not reason to learn or speak Russian in Ukraine.

Author: Mark Biernat

I live in with family between two worlds, US and Europe where I create tools for language learning. If you found my site you probability share my passion to be a life long learner. Please explore my site and comment.

44 thoughts on “Russian language in Ukraine”

  1. This is so false! I live in Kiev, and everyone in Ukraine speaks russian. Sure, people in western Ukraine are unwilling to speak russian, but they certainly understand it! However, not everyone in Ukraine understand ukrainian fully!! Especially in the east where pracically no one knows ukrainian.

    Overall in Ukraine, including Kiev, the situation is such, pracically everything that goes public should be written in ukrainian, like press releases, commercials, and state documents. Since being able to write formally in ukrainian evolves into a requirement for many jobs, in a country where practically everyone thinks in russian, and only write very good in russian, people are not able to get the right jobs in their own country!!

    Culturally, people think that russian is the best language to use too, since it has a much larger vocabulary than ukrainian.

    Ultimately, everyone speaks russian to an extent, but not everybody know ukrainian. People therefore think that there should be two official languages in Ukraine: russian and ukrainian.

    The Yulia Timoschenko government is very against this, and she is the one who has made this an issue, she was the one who made it a requirement to know ukrainian in order to get most jobs, and she was the one who prohibited to even speak russian in the halls of some universities.

    1. According to Wiki and I am Ukrainian in roots, most people, over 70% speak Ukrainian not Russian. Check Wiki, most in the Kiev oblast speak Ukrainian not Russian. Maybe in the center city where you are living Russian, but Ukraine, speaks Ukrainian.
      Ukrainian has a larger vocabulary as it is more western and has commonalities with Polish, while Russia just takes English words. Ukrainian takes Russian, Polish and English words.
      Yulia Tymoschenko is for the EU. Ukraine would be in EU in 5 years. Do not be an idiot. In the 5 years Poland entered the EU it got rich. I live in Poland.
      When Ireland entered the EU it went from the poorest country in Europe (western) to the richest.
      I studied Economics, free movement of labor and capital is what does is not Russian oligarchs loyal to czar Putin – are you telling me Belorussia a Moscow puppet state is better than Rich Czech republic?
      Like Poland Ukraine would be rich and free.
      Russia is only for the elite.
      You are a very foolish person and do not understand the world.

      1. Sir,
        Canada, is a prosperous bilingual country, English and French.
        Please visit Ottawa,where the Canadians switch with ease from French to English and back again, no problems, no discrimination.

        Why is so the Western Ukrainas have such a mental problem? Get with it, speak both languages, or is it because down under the skin the Western Ukrenians are really just Eastern Poles?

    2. Absolutely right. Russian was erased from Ukraine immediately, as a school subject, as a language you could study at a University or take exams in. Millions of people lost their jobs, like teachers of Russian and Russian literature, thousands of students who arrived from other parts of former Soviet Union were unable to write their exams in any language other than Ukrainian! Moreover, most intellectual production, like books, films etc is made in Russian, and Ukrainian is artificially imposed. Give people time to adjust, or give Russian status of a second official language. It is too late now, because it will look like political statement. What could have been done naturally, was forcefully imposed which led to this terrible situation in the country.

  2. OK. Nice site you have, but can you please avoid bickering? Everyone has a point of view. What I want to know is how different are Ukrainian and Russian languages? Can’t a Russian speaker understand Ukrainian, and vice versa? I have heard that is the case.

    1. They are very close, they are both Eastern Slavic languages. Some Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers say that they can not understand each other but lets be honest over 50% of the vocabulary is the same. They might not understand each other perfectly in complex abstract thoughts, but they can be understood if they need to communicate. I speak Polish and when in Crimea could communicate with Russians and Ukrainians with basic things.
      However, they are different languages. If a Russian or Ukrainian spends a couple of months trying to speak the other language they can speak it. I know many Ukrainians in Poland and in half a year they speak Polish and this is a Western and Eastern Slavic language. Yes they will all complain and say know, but I see it. I know Russians that speak Polish with no accent. In Ukraine all Ukrainians know Russian and it is on TV and in school and the other way around also. Therefore, it is not a big deal.
      Why not just have Ukrainian the national language of Ukraine.

  3. Hi Mark,
    I do not know what you learned and where.
    But as Ukrainian with two universities behind my back I can tell you that you article is all full of BS.
    What do you know about Ukraine. Do you know that western Ukrainians speak a mixture of Hungarian, Romanian and Ukrainian.(Karpati region). No one in Ukraine can understand them. In order to speak Ukrainian language you have to learn it as any other language. It is not an easy one. I learned Ukrainian in the school. Yes I can speak basic Ukrainian but when it comes to professional language or business language I am done. My first University was Kiev polytechnical intitute and we had no classes in Ukrainian. None of the students spoke Ukrainian and there were thousands of students and teachers. In soviet time Ukrainian was spoken in small villages and western territories. Eastern, Southern and most of the central territories spoke Russian. When I am in Kiev and have business meetings with some of the government employees and we spoke Russian. They are forced to speak Ukrainian at work. I am not against Ukrainian language but it has to be implemented gradually. I also do not see the problem with two official languages. India has 18 official languages, Canada two, South Africa has 11 official languages. There are many other countries which have different official languages.

    I also doubt that you have studied any history otherwise you would know how Russian language became the language of majority Ukrainian poeple.

    Regarding election and Yulia Tymoshenko.
    If you know the history or follow Ukrainian politics you would know former Ukrainian PM Lazarenko. He is in USA jail right now and will stay there for a long time. You should also know that Yulia was his first aid in his business (illegal). May be I will tell you the secret but you should know that aid of the majia (in Russia or Ukrain) are those who all the dirty staff. Basically she has to be in jail the same as her former boss who she betrayed when Kuchma promised her a place in his government.
    Also European countries have seen her work for the past five years. Ukrainian economy was brought down to her knees. No one knows where IMF and WB money went. Youlia is good for scandals. That all that she can do well and all she was doing for the past five years. European politicians are scared of her because she is not predictable and dangerous for Europe. It was one of the reasons that Ukraine was not accepted into NATO and EU.
    She speaks Ukrainian only because of the support of the western and part of the central territories. She even would speak Chinese and make it an official language if it would help her to win the elections.

    If I were you I would not write about the things you do not know or learned in the pubs.

    1. I love it. I love this type of reply. First you talk about your degrees rather than the facts.
      The facts are 20 something percent of the people in Ukraine speak Russian. That is about the same about of people in the US that speak Spanish, well maybe a little less. Check it Wiki or any other site. Yulia is a patriot. Victor Yanukovich is a Parrot of Czar Putin. My family is from Ukraine. Western Ukraine and I live in Poland. The languages you speak of are very small groups of people like Cajans in the USA or people in NYC that speak Ukrainian. You have this in every country.
      Look at the voting, Yulia even won by a majority in Kiev. Only this Eastern areas where Russia has bought votes did she lose. Look the Victor Yanukovich is a wooden ex communist.
      Do not be so foolish. Yulia wanted to bring Ukraine in the EU in 5 years. This would have made Ukraine rich like it has made Poland rich.
      Russia will only exploit people. This has been the history of Russia as it is an imperialistic nation. Go to Gary Kasparov’s website “the other Russia” – He is a true patriot of Russia, he stands for freedom and human rights.
      The Ukrainian and Russian people will suffer and be ruled by the new Russians and oligarchs, you need to understand how the world works.

      1. You can not learn from history, Ukraine has disputes with Romania and Poland and Russia and are not allowed to enter the EU because of Russian influence.

  4. At least I greeted you.
    As you could read I mentioned my degrees and then listed the facts.
    The only reason I mentioned my degrees is to let you know that I am knowledgeable and I had learned many things in universities and not from Internet. Also to let you know that unlike you I experienced life in Ukraine while living in Ukraine and I know it for a fact and not from the stories that were told by solders of bandera or Ukrainian nationalists. I firmly believe that nationalism is not the way to go.
    As per the statements that you are trying to present as facts I can tell you the following:
    If you acquire your knowledge from the Internet sources then I cannot debate this subject with you. I personally prefer debates based on the official information, scientific data and official polls.
    Let me translate for you some data from Ukrainian official data and not the stories of my friends, relatives or nationalist propaganda. These are Ukrainian government sources.
    According to official data from the 2001 Ukrainian census, the Russian language is native for over 14,273,000 Ukrainian citizens (29.3% of the total population. It is 2.9% decrease from 1989. ) Therefore the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine forms the largest linguistic group in modern Europe with its language being non-official in the state.
    According to a 2004 public opinion poll by the Kiev International Sociology Institute, the number of people using Russian language at their homes considerably exceeds the number of those who declared Russian as their native language in the census. According to the survey, Russian is used at home by 43–46% of the population of the country (in other words a similar proportion to Ukrainian) and Russophones make a majority of the population in Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine:[18]
    • Autonomous Republic of Crimea — 97% of the population
    • Dnipropetrovsk Oblast — 72%
    • Donetsk Oblast — 93%
    • Zaporizhia Oblast — 81%
    • Luhansk Oblast — 89%
    • Mykolaiv Oblast — 66%
    • Odessa Oblast — 85%
    • Kharkiv Oblast — 74%
    Russian language dominates in informal communication in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. According to data obtained by the “Public opinion” foundation (2002), the population of the oblast centres prefers to use Russian (75%).

    According to Larisa Masenko who is the head of a chair of Ukrainian language institute in Kiev
    Так, згідно з результатами всеукраїнських передвиборчих опитувань, які провів у 1998 р. центр соціологічних досліджень національного університету «Києво-Могилянської академії», що враховували не тільки національність респондентів, але й мову, якою вони відповідали на запитання, українською мовою відповідали 39-40% опитаних, російською – 45%
    In short it means that even in 1998 majority were speaking Russian. The number did not change in 2004.
    According to the same source in 2001 in interethnic relations dominate Russian language.
    Результати перепису 2001 року щодо виявлення мовних характеристик груп національних меншин якраз і показали, що у функції мови міжнаціонального спілкування в Україні домінує не українська, що було б закономірно для державної мови, а все ще російська
    You can also find Lingvo – ethnic structure of Ukraine document issued by KMIC(in English translation is International Sociology Institute)
    This document dated 2004-11-11
    Just a few quotes.
    Easiest language to speak in%
    Ukrainian 47.2
    Russian 52.8
    There are much more official data that explains different aspects of language and ethnic structure of Ukraine and I am not saying that everything points to the Russian language being the first in all the measures. All I am saying is that language issue in Ukraine is not simple but complicated and responsible people would not claim irresponsible statements. As I told you before many ethnic Ukrainians including myself historically do not speak Ukrainian and do not consider Ukrainian language as mother tongue. There are some Russians and other ethnic groups who consider Ukrainian language their mother tongue and speak Ukrainian. I do not know what the best solution is and no one knows. There has to be a compromise. The only thing that I know is that people with no knowledge on this subject should not misinform the public.

  5. About the foolishness.
    I never was, is and will be foolish when it comes to the life, business, politicians, politics and everything else in any of the former Soviet republics. Do not make yourself look foolish at least in the eyes of the people who know the life in and out in the former Soviet republics. Just so you know it did not change too much.
    I personally think that it is a shame to have all this criminals as candidates for presidency. But because you do not know anything about Ukraine and its politicians I will give you a couple of facts.
    1. 27.03.1995Yulia Timoshenko was arrested for smuggling $26,000.00 US and 4 mln karbovancev(local curency) in cash through Ukrainian customs. The investigation was stopped in 2005 by the judge who is the father of one of the member of Yulia’s party and head of public procurator’s office which was placed to this position by Yulia after she became PM.
    2. In 1996 she was stopped in Moscow airport when she was trying to smuggle $100,000.00 US in cash. This resulted in criminal case where investigators found out that she was bribing top military commanders. They were fired and jailed later.
    3. As head of the UEIL she did not pay 7.5 billion griven ($1,6 млрд долларов) to Russian GAZPROM. This money were paid to GAZPROM by Ukrainian government in 2005 when she was PM.
    4. She was trying to become PM in 1996 to avoid the arrest.
    5. Transferred $273 mln US to former PM Lazarenko. $162 mln US transfer was proven in US court. She was wanted by US authorities for the same criminal actions as Lazarenko but when she supported the orange madness US dropped the charges.
    I can continue the list with her full achievements as a criminal but I do not see any point. You do not look into the facts you just express your emotions.
    Regarding the communists. They are both communists. They have the same mentality.
    She is more dangerous because she does not have any limits.
    She is not Ukrainian per say. Her mother is Russian and her father is either Lithuanian or Armenian. She claims that he was Lithuanian but according to his last name he was Armenian. She did not speak Ukrainian until she decided to get one of the government positions. (1994-1995). She started to talk Ukrainian publically only in 1996 when was trying to get PM position.
    She does not care about the language, Ukrainians or EU. All she cares about is power.

  6. Regarding patriots and happiness of the Russian and Ukrainian people.

    Everyone is patriot our days. Since patriotism is subjective term everyone can call himself the one. The other thing is that I hate when people think that they are professionals in everything. Kasparov is a patriot so is Putin, Zhirinovsky, Zuganov, Juzshenko, Obama. Every one has it is own definition of patriotism and they look at themselves as patriots of their countries but they are not from someone else’s point of view.
    Russian people and Ukrainian people will suffer regardless of who is their presidents.
    Let them decide for themselves what to do and who to vote for. Do not give them advises especially when you have no idea what is really going on in those countries and how it all works.
    I would advise you to right about Poland and Polish language and maybe I will read some interesting and useful information about Poland.

    1. Ukrainian, that is an interesting reply, but the bottom line is this, Ukraine can go lean west and join the EU or lean towards Moscow and the Byzantine politics of cloak and dagger and oligarchs.
      As Gary Kasparov points out Russia is not free as the press is not free and is a tool to manipulate people. On his website it is clear ‘The news is distorted by in Russia, which is controlled directly or indirectly by the Kremlin’. How can you be so naive? Do you now know how the world works?
      Maybe your smarter than Kasparov?
      And as I stated before, my family is from Ukraine and am I not Ukrainian? Does a persons government stamped paper determine their nationality? Your thinking is very 1970s big state run government lets look to Moscow.

  7. Dear Friends from Ukraine,

    I have a question for you: Why are you so upset on Russian past practices regarding Ukraine and why you are not democratic regarding other languages as Romanian in Bukovina and Odessa regions or Hungarian (Let call Karpaty region). The Ukrainian practice is the same: not proper schools in above mentioned languages, no rights! You want to be respected but you forgot to respect others. In this way, the Ukrainian mentality is Soviet one!


    1. Lets make every language spoken in the USA and Canada the official language and teach all 107 of them in schools and use them in government offices. There are linguistic minorities in Poland, but so what, it is Poland and the official language is Polish. People are free to speak whatever language they want, but when it comes to the official language, Ukrainian in Ukraine and Russian in Russia makes perfect sense.

      1. I think Ukrainian should be the official language of Russia. Why not? There are many Ukrainians living in Russia. I also think Chinese should be the official language of Russia.

        1. Because erasing a language is erasing the culture which is produced in this language. Russian literature belongs to the treasures of world literature, and Ukraine could read it in the original, but instead it will read it in translation, in some adapted versions. Why rob people of culture? The two cultures could exist together and the two languages, but politics have made it irreversible unfortunately.

  8. Poland is Poland but Ukraine includes some non-Ukrainian territories as Crimeea (gift from Hrusciov), Donetsk (gift from Stalin), South Basarabia, Bukovina (Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement).
    Ukrainian nationalists want to stop other languages where they (Ukrainians) have not a majority. The Ukrainian policy is not the same as Polish one. In Poland, the German minority could use German language in their collectivities: they have schools, newspapers and so on. Dare you to bring Romanian some books in Reni? (a small cities where Romanians have majority). You wouldn’t be an Ukrainian lawyer.

    1. I am not a nationalist at all. Ultimately I am proud that I have roots from Ukraine but I opposed to nationalism. Nationalism was the worst mistake of the 20th century, along with some crazy political ideologies. I am pro-humanity and freedom. However, I think for a country, whether it be the UK for English or Ukraine for Ukrainian a national language is fine as it is the official language.
      In Poland you do not learn German in schools or can not speak it in any Uząd. You must speak Polish. No big deal. Same in the UK for English.

  9. As you can see in my previous posts I never said that Russia is democratic raw model.
    I even did not tell you that Russia has democracy. We did not have any discussion about Russia you just jump from subject to subject. Let’s stop this discussion because we are not discussing Russian international or internal policies as well as Russian history and historical events related to Russia.
    Ukraine can go any way their people want and its direction should be decided by people of Ukraine by elections and national forums or any other form of public consultation. I also would like to be the part of Europe but I would not want to be a part of United muslim states of Europe.(Euorabia). This is different subject.
    I am sure that I am smarter than Kasparov in some aspects of life and he is smarter than me in other aspects of life. No one is 100% smart unless you are well known genius and even then you will not be 100% smart in all the life situations.
    I did not quite understand what you meant when talking about nationality.
    I can tell you that in current Ukrainian internal passport there is no field for “NATIONALIY”. I actually agree with this. The only people who are against it are Timoshenko’s people. Last year Ростислав Новоженец, who is the member of Timoshenko party, suggested to add field NATIONALITY to the internal passport. My thinking is my own thinking. Your thinking is not a thinking it is declaration of other people views.

    1. Ukrainian, only time will tell which leader was the better choice. I really enjoy living in the EU and the freedom and transparent laws and government as well as free movement anywhere in Europe. But if Victor will bring openness and freedom and opportunities for Ukrainians then that will be good.
      I do have to say you kept your cool here when this could have been a very heated debate.

  10. Dear Liviu,

    I am not upset about Russian past practices regarding Ukraine.
    It is already history and we should learn from it and it has to be left behind.
    Your question is valid. That is why I am saying that it is complicated issue and cannot be resolved by Ukrainian current practices. It has to be reviewed taking into consideration interests of many others ethnic groups living in Ukraine.

  11. Mark,
    based on your childish comment from February 12th, 2010 at 17:0.
    I can conclude that there is no point in trying to discuss serious issues with you.
    Grow up first.
    Thanks for your attention.

  12. I really find it very interesting while i read through your contributions!

    People, ukraine can only be built by Ukrainians and not Russians or Eu countries.We have great similarities with Ukraine since we also have an Orange Movement here in our country! Can somebody really tell me what Orange is all about?Am not talking of any other country other than Kenya, East Africa! This Orange thing is a movement that is funded by outsiders who wouldn’nt wish to see countries prospering!
    In the year 2007 and early 2008, Kenya was about to go to the dogs all because the leader we had who had governed for only one term had realised the west has no heart for any developing country. By the time we were going for our elections, Kenya could factor her budget 93% from local financing!!, This became strange since we had just come out from a negative index to a positive one!!!!, They founded this monster called Orange movement which could hear less of the achievements!The country became polarised to an extent of even wanting a separate state!!!!!, What does this tell us? If you do not sing their tune, you are condemned, regardless of all that you have done!! They like capitalising on poverty and tribalism, sectionalism ,and not unless you wisen up, people, YOU WILL FIND YOURSELVES IN A MORE TOUGH GROUND THAN WE DID!!!
    For politicians, wherever you go, these are very selfish human beings and for any transaction that is not helping him or her personally,it absolutely becomes unpopular and always looks out for irresponsible support to state his stand!!
    We had lived for more than 24 years under dictatorship,collapse of the economy, infrastructure,factories closing down………….. these “good” friends of ours were no where!!!!, BUT when we got one of the people ready to develop the country, here they come pinpointing all mistakes we have in all books only because they are not benefiting from Government tenders and there is more transparency!!!
    Talking while outside your country is no patriotism!!! You need to be under the tree to exactly understand what comes down and who collects what!

    Warm and sweet regards and I need to know who sponsers ORANGE, look beyond the holizon!!!

    1. Ukraine is the cradle of Slavic culture, at least Eastern Slavic culture. Ukrainians have really had a hard time from both Western and Eastern European powers. There is nothing nationalistic by saying the Ukrainian language should stay the official language of Ukraine and Russians should not try to influence Kiev policy. It is a very simple idea that a people should be allowed to have their own nation, free and self determined.

  13. Ukraine:

    I am from Poland and I have been to the Ukraine many times, also a very dear friend of mine is Ukrainian from Ivano-Frankivsk. She has told me on many occasions, as well as many people in the Ukraine, that Russian is now essential. She happens to speak both languages fluently. It has nothing to do with current policies. It’s a language. In America people speak English, but that does not mean we have a Queen or follow British policies. The past is the past. It’s unfortunate that not all Ukrainians can in fact speak Ukrainian, but the truth is the majority of Ukraine speaks Russian period. It would be nice for schools to teach both languages. However, eliminating Russian would just prove to be disastrous since in the east almost everyone can only communicate in Russian. The one good thing is that both languages are so similar.

    1. Polka- I deleted your insulting comments as you do not have the ability to talk to someone with kindness, further you talk on anecdotal evidence but it is wrong. Lets look at the facts. Further your metaphor is wrong, its not British English it is Spanish. Do not be naive, of course politics is involved.

      Facts on the Ukrainian languages
      I am from Poland also and my family is from Ukraine so I think I know what I am talking about. Only 29 something percent of the people in Ukraine speak Russian as their first language. 71 percent use Ukrainian. Please check a source like Wiki, this will confirm this, not some friend of a friend who says something. Further, this number is changing as Ukrainian is back in the schools and this could change to over 80% unless politicians who are puppets from Moscow reverse policies.

      Poland and the Russian language had a similar history like Ukraine- forced Russification
      I think you as a Polish girl should learn Russian as Poland was part of Russia and many people speak Russian there right? Russian was spoken in Poland not only during the partitions but during communist times. You must be a child not to remember that or know all the people who had to learn Russian? Do you want Poland to be part Russian?
      You have a double standard for Ukrainians. Many uneducated Poles have this towards Ukrainians. I do not. Ukraine should be like Poland a normal self determined country.The Poles who are educated know that Ukraine is Poland’s most important ally in the future as it could have been in the past to stand in contrast with Moscow and Berlin politics. This is why the president of Poland was really for Yulia.
      Why not make German a dual language in Poland? I mean if you do not speak German than how can you manage in Western Poland?
      Why not make English the official language of Poland as it is essential in Poland today?
      An official language of a country has large political ramifications. Do you now understand that?

      American English as a metaphor for Ukrainian
      In the USA most people speak English but many speak Spanish. However, I do not need Spanish to get around. In fact in states like New Mexico the majority of people speak Spanish. That does not mean I must learn Spanish. No way. I am also an American and do not know Spanish (that well).

      All of Western Ukraine is Ukrainian only speaking. Russian is not welcomed. My friends and family from Ukraine do not speak Russian. They are in Krakow going to Uniwersytet Jagielloński.
      Polka you have no understanding of the way the world works, you just repeat other people’s opinions and insult because maybe you do not have the ability to write intelligently with facts to back up your statements about the Ukrainian language.

  14. This article is not really true. By far most people in Ukraine are Russian speaking. From experience I would have to estimate at least 60%. But also I do agree that Ukrainian should be the only official language. The mass use of Russian was brought into Ukraine artificially and for imperialistic reasons. Also if you know one of them the other is easy learn so it shouldn’t be a problem. However, the problem is that many of the “russian rights” advocates are anti-Ukrainian and don’t even recognize Ukrainian as legitimate language. Why should the government please these people? For the minority of the people who don’t know how to speak Ukrainian, they need to learn it. I learned how to speak 3 different languages ( beside Ukrainian and Russian by native languages) over a course of few years and it is no problem. Growing up in Soviet Union my teachers told me “Russian and Ukrainian are brotherly languages but you should speak Russian”, now Ukrainian government should say that Ukrainian and Russian are brotherly languages but you should speak Ukrainian.

    1. According to Wiki and any other sources Ukrainian is spoken by almost 80% of the people.
      Russian is taking over the Ukrainian gas company, stationing troops until 2045 on Russian soil etc. Basically Russian is playing an empire like it does all over the former Soviet bloc.
      I do not understand why the people of Russian tolerate this. Russians are great and I really mean that. The Russian government is not for them, but for the oligarchy.

      1. You are wrong Mark, this government headed by Putin redistributed the wealth by the Oligarchs. The president of Russia enjoys more than 70% confidence of the Russian people. What pisses the West off is that this is the only man firm enough not to allow them to rape his country. The western greed to grab and exploit the abundant wealth of the Russian people is what is driving them to turn a blind eye to all the atrocities being committed in Ukraine today. All the fundamental values on which the so called leaders of the “free world” based their ideals on is being systematically trampled underfoot while they are consumed by an unwarranted hatred of Russia. This is complete debasement of humanity and the trust reposed on them by their electorates.

        1. You are wrong. Here are ten points to consider. Putin is a devil and not too clever. Remember I said this he will not be in power soon. It was a long run mistake.

          First, the reason Putin invaded Ukraine was oil (shale gas). There are oil reserves off the coast and this would undermine Russia’s virtual monopoly in the trading energy to the EU. That in my book is stealing and murder (yes he did this). Hell will await him. Like the Pope said about mobsters that eternal punishment waits them, I wonder if Pope was alluding to Putin last week when he said that. I think he was. If I was Putin I would get on my hands and knees and ask God forgiveness as and eternity of fire and ice is not to nice.

          Second, the reason Putin invaded Ukraine is the Russian economy is going down. A little war would rally primitive Russians. Pure manipulation. Russian people, can be manipulated it appears or their should be protests.

          Third, Russia signed three treaties to say Crimea is to Ukraine. Ukraine in tern gave up their nukes. The world has this one paper. Putin is a lying roach.

          Fourth, The Russian government has always lied about votes and popularity. Any vote in the Communist Soviet Union was 90% plus. If you believe they would the vote is real I have swamp land in Florida to sell you.

          Fifth, I think the whole country of Russia should have votes like that, I mean to see if anyone wants to break from Russia and join freedom and self determination, and more than 80% of the country would splinter to small republics. Russia is becoming Asiatic as the ethnic Russians are not having babies despite Putin’s borderline racist rallies for Eastern Slavic procreation.

          Sixth, I am from Eastern Europe and I was in Crimea and it a peaceful seaside place. They want no and destruction and He flew professionals to act as citizens. Moscow killed millions of Ukrainians and Tartars in the past and what about their human rights? He promotes world terrorism and would sell Nukes to the Iranians and weapons to genocide crazy leaders in Syria and around the world. The guy is pure evil and those who follow him souls are in danger.

          Seventh, Smart people like Gary Kasparov oppose him as they know there is no democracy only a reign of terror in Russia.

          Eight, Are you saying the average Russian can do much more than buy a 50 meter flat? Prices for the middle class are so pumped that the average Russian spends a lifetime for a small concrete flat in the city. Russian could be rich but Putin holds it down.

          Nine, Come on do you really believe people are so dumb they would choose tyranny to a New dictator Union devoid of economic open markets and freedom, compared to a union with the free market in the EU. I was in Poland during the joining of the EU over night people, and I mean the middle class nor normal people are living lives much easier and free.

          Ten, Putin is weak. Might does not make right and he is a desperate little old man who lost his soul. Weak, scared of losing his power as he already lost his eternal soul. Left his wife and family for some girl. The guy is pietyful and weak, but puffs his chest out like a childish bully who does not understand real wisdom and strength comes from peace not aggression. No matter how much he tries to disrupt the world, standing at like 5’4 1/2″ he will not grow nor his tiny hands etc if you know what I mean. Napoleon complex is too nice a word for him, more like H-tler complex.

          Like in the Hunger games, I hope the good people of Russia remember who the enemy is.

  15. You are not a nationalist ? Oh please ! Your anti Russian tirades speak for themsevles. Awful stuff and I am not an admirer of the oligarchs, Russian or Ukrainian.I have been to and travelled throughout Ukraine and, as a Russian speaker, I was surprised that almost everyone i encountered spoke Russian. That the lands east of the Dnpr and the Crimea were “gifted” to Ukraine means that Ukraine has a huge minority problem and this is complicated by the historical ties that Ukraine has with Russia which, whether you like it or not, is a fundamentally important part of your historical inheritance. You Ukrainian nationalsists will need to come to terms with it or it is pain all the way for you lot. Enjoy !

  16. Russian language is widely spoken in Ukraine except Lvov and some Kiev’s universities also if you have to deal with some government issues sorry but this is true I have lived in Kiev also in Odessa for the last 20 years and because my work I have travelled almost mostly all over Ukraine and according my surveys in Ukraine 80% of ukrainian population speak russian and only 20% left ukrainian. My father was an american citizen and my mother was an ukrainian lady.

    1. I live in Eastern Europe and my family is from Ukraine. I disagree. Your spelling of Lviv tells me you do not know as much as you think. It is Lviv not the Imperial spelling of Lvov.
      The entire West from Ternopil on speaks Ukrainian and Russian is fading as Ukrainians I know do not even know Russian. I mean the Russians tried to make the Poles speak Russian as it was once part of the empire and no one speaks it today except if they want to.
      Ukrainian is gaining in numbers and Russia is demographcially declining. Look at the birth stats, that alone will shift things.

  17. Mark, by whom you are brainwashed? and why so against of Russian language? Russian has all rights to be an official language in Ukraine and I`m glad that it is now. You are talking about Arabic in UK and Spanish in US,but these languages are languages of immigrants in first or second generation and Russian is a language of local nation,which lives there for centuries,just like Ukrainians.In Russia states,which have status of `republic`, have the local language as second official and only nationalists see it as a problem.
    btw,In Canada only 22% French speakers,French language is equal with English, and other Canadians handle that somehow without whining. Switzerland has four official languages,don`t know if Swiss have any problems with that,but the country doesn`t look suffering. Don`t know why Ukrainian nationalists make such a big drama from the language, it`s just will make country better for living for its citizens and there so many things to fix in Ukraine,but nationalists just try to make some political points instead of solving real problems.

    1. I like Russians personally, but the policies of Moscow over 100+ years and policies of Russification have hurt local cultures. They tries to Russify Poland and of course Ukraine. For Ukraine to reclaim its identity stolen by the policies and colonization, not by the Russians but by Moscow then they have a right to reverse some of the damage done and reclaim their country culturally.

      Lets be honest the Russians and Ukrainians are close and similar and are better off working together in a free movement of labor and capital and full rights to speak and act as they choose.

      The issue is this is not the reality. Russia totally tries to make satellites for economic benefit of the elite like they always have.

      I think Putin and the Russian elite are doing what they always have done, taking the opportunities from the Russian people. Most Russians live modest and it is because of Moscow.

      Enlightenment ideals believe the role of government is to maximizes and protect the freedoms of individuals. I do not think this has been Russian policy in Ukraine. I think Ukrainians have a right to their culture and try to reverse the damage.

  18. I don`t think that Ukrainian culture is destroyed by Russian language, Russian language is just a part of Ukrainian culture and not only for the last 100+ years. It`s like to tell that Canadian culture is destroyed by French language.Just doesn`t make sense.
    And Russians and Ukrainians do work well together in both countries, until it`s not going to politicians and nationalists,which just trying to make some profit for themselves and turn out people`s attention from real problems.
    The economics of Russian and Ukraine are integrated a lot,so being part of EU can give some negative aspects to Ukrainian economy.
    I also don`t see any politician in Ukraine, who cares about protecting and maximizing freedom and human rights,also zero attempts to increase standards of living. For the last 20 years it was all about fighting for power and ing resources from the country. Tymoshenko isn`t an exception.
    I don`t see any reasons for erasing Russian language from Ukraine.The country gave many talented people to the world,who were using both Ukrainian and Russian languages. And the key for developing is not separation,but integration.For Ukraine it might work perfectly from the both sides of East and West. The country only will win from that.
    Just has to find the right balance. And accepting Russian language and Russian heritage is a definitely right thing.

  19. This may be very late, but I feel the need to weigh in.

    I lived in Ukraine for 10 years and attended a Ukrainian school where all subjects were taught in Ukrainian, but Russian was also a required course.

    I grew up in a family where my mother spoke Russian primarily and my father spoke Ukrainian so I have proficiency in both. Because my father died when I was very young, I speak Russian with my mother because that is what she grew up speaking. I’d like to point out that it is a huge stretch to say that “many Ukrainians don’t know Ukrainian,” or that “most people in Ukraine speak Russian.” That isn’t to say that the people who have that impression (and it seems as though most of the people in this discussion are foreigners) are mistaken about what they experienced.

    The recent history and use of the the Ukrainian and Russian languages
    The Ukrainian/Russian divide is the divide between the countryside and the city. When tourists visits Ukraine, and they go the major cities (i.e.: Kyiv, Odessa), they will find a large portion of the population speaking Russian. Much of this stems from the fact that during the Communist years, Ukraine being a largely agrarian economy and suffering from a labor shortage as a result of a brutal civil war, the holodomor and World War II, many factory workers were brought in from Russia to work in Ukrainian steel mills and other factories, which were located in the cities. This led to the cities of Ukraine becoming largely Russian speaking, in addition to the Russophilic policy of USSR following the Stalin regime (except for a brief respite under Khrushchev, who, having grown up in Yuzovka, now Donetsk, located in the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine, had a special place in his heart for the country, unlike Stalin who would’ve deported all the Ukrainians to Kazakhstan like he did with the Crimean Tatars and the Chechens had they not been so numerous).

    City vs. Country use of languages in Ukraine
    The countryside, which tourists don’t often visit, is populated by largely Ukrainian speaking people. Indeed, when I visit my relatives in Bohodukhovka in Cherkas’ka Oblast, and when they speak Russian they speak with a noticeable Ukrainian accent — using Ukrainian through most of their daily lives — and this isn’t Western Ukraine! This is on the eastern bank of the Dnieper! Growing up in the city of Cherkasy, I had friends who spoke both. In my uncle’s home in Kaniv, my uncle being from my mother’s side is a Russian speaker, but his wife is a Ukrainian speaker, and their children all speak Ukrainian, because that is the language that their friends speak.

    Russification of Ukrainians but no Ukrainification of Russians
    All Ukrainians know Russian, and many use it in public, but that should in no way be taken as an implication that they use only Russian at home. A majority of the Ukrainian population, be they ethnically Russian or Ukrainian, knows how to speak, write and read Ukrainian. And even though Russians and Ukrainians have coexisted in the same lands for thousands of years, it truly cannot be denied that the governments that have ruled Ukraine over the past two centuries have outlawed the use of Ukrainian in preference to Russian or Polish (with only the Austro-Hungarians allowing Ukrainians to speak their own language unhindered, which is why the nationalist Ukrainian movement is based primarily in the west). Russification is the reason so many Ukrainians speak Russian – essentially, the prevalence of Russian is a colonial vestige.

    Usage of these two Slavic languages today
    Certainly Russian is under no threat, and is indeed a thriving language – when I was going to school in Ukraine, during the 1990s, there were plenty of schools available in both Russian and Ukrainian. However, the Ukrainian government is not wrong to be promoting the Ukrainian language – it is intrinsically a part of the Ukrainian culture, and it has been historically suppressed by powers that sought to treat Ukraine as a colonial holding. Upholding Ukraine as the sole state language is not unreasonable. I’d argue that there is no problem with Russian schools being open to provide education primarily in Russian, but Ukrainian must be taught in those schools, and Ukrainian should still be the only acceptable language in the state apparatus in order to allow the language to regain its prestige and vitality. I know for a fact most Ukrainians have no problem with this, nor do they have a problem with those who prefer to speak Russian speaking Russian in their day to day lives.

  20. I know that in southeastern Ukraine Russian, not Ukrainian is a dominant language after long subjugation of Ukraine by Russian imperialism in the past and as a result of past forceful artificial Russification of Ukraine. But in my view historical injustice to Ukraine by Russia must be rectified in all respects, and the Ukrainian language must again be the major language in southeastern Ukraine too because according to the last official census in Ukraine over 72% of citizens of Ukraine claimed to be of Ukrainian ethnicity. Russian linguistic imperialism on the territory of other nations outside Russia must end. It’s long long overdue. Of course Russian people in Ukraine can communicate in Russian between themselves and the Russian community in Ukraine must have opportunities to preserve their language and culture, but Russians living in Ukraine must also know and use Ukrainian in communication with Ukrainian people. I think Russians in Ukraine and the Russian authorities try to impose Russian as the main language in Ukraine even now, and to restrict the use of Ukrainian as much as possible by preserving the past Russification of Ukraine. It is long overdue to teach and learn more Ukrainian than Russian in Ukraine.

    1. I agree, I remember some Russians put big billboards across Ukraine that were saying ‘say no to Ukraine joining NATO’. Why did they did this, because NATO is the first step towards the EU. I lived in Poland and I can tell you the EU was a positive economic occurrence. Ukrainians want to be democratic, western and free. They also want their own sense of national identity. I mean there are a lot of Germans in Poland but can you imagine if the German minority tried to make German an official language. Or Japanese an official language in China? Ukraine to get its sense of identity can start with the language.

  21. I believe imperialism of any disguise is an ideology and practice of conquest, oppression, domination and enslavement by one militarily and economically stronger nation of other weaker nations. The ultimate goal of imperialism is to destroy the subjugated captive nations through eventual elimination of their native original language, culture and religion, and to expand the territory of the nation practicing imperialism. It’s like someone tries do dominate you and to manage your private and household affairs. Imperialism breeds repressions, persecutions and wars. Russian imperialism in comparison with imperialism of other nations has been particularly barbaric, criminal, cruel, repressive and oppressive. In the past Russia (originally called Muscovy) over centuries managed to subjugate and to enslave over 100 nations and to create the largest territorial empire in the world.
    That’s why the officially falsely called Russian Federation is the largest country in the world now. Today’s Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union (Russian Communist Superempire) is in fact a reduced Russian Empire which in addition to Russia proper includes a great number of other nations.

  22. I am a knowledgeable political activist. I have read a lot of authoritative political publications on many issues. Since 1999 Russia has been building disguised dictatorship, not democracy. Russia tries to build a new Russian Empire (including by violent means) to subjugate and rule countries that in the past forcibly belonged to the highly criminal and oppressive Russian Empire (both tsarist and communist). Ukraine which lost over 20 million people in the 20th century alone is the biggest victim of historical Russian imperialism. Now Ukraine is again in enormous danger from disguised Russian neo-imperialism that has intensified its efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty since 1991 by interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs, to eventually eliminate Ukraine’s sovereignty, to dominate and to control Ukraine economically, politically, militarily and even linguistically and religiously through present continuation of preserved past Russification in Ukraine. Using common sense this neo-imperialist policy of Russia is against International Law. The European Union and the USA do not oppose Russian expansionist neo-imperialist policies and violations of International Law by Russia adequately and effectively which can lead to grave consequences for global security.

    I request that in your letters you try to convince European Union officials of the importance of Ukraine for the EU to strengthen the EU against the dangers from Russian neo-imperialism. Please urge EU officials to start the process of bringing Ukraine into NATO and the EU. Ukraine is the largest European country, with significant natural and mineral resources and is of strategic significance for the EU in terms of security.
    It would be very unreasonable and unwise for the EU to lose Ukraine and other East European countries (Moldova, Georgia, Belarus) to Russia which would strengthen Russia as an empire and only create more rivalry and threat/danger to the EU from Russia.
    The EU must not wait until Russia succeeds in domination over those countries. Further delay in bringing those countries into NATO and the EU may be very costly to the EU in the near future if Russian neo-imperialism succeeds in its policies.

    Russia is a disguised enemy and a rival of the EU, not a reliable partner. Only Russia is a real threat to the EU economically, militarily (with the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction) and in terms of security because Russia has expansionist domineering ambitions not only in Eastern Europe, but also globally. Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus as European peaceful countries (unlike Russia) must belong to NATO and the EU to make the EU stronger and more prosperous so that they have a brighter future and do not get under oppressive Russian rule again which this time may be corpulental to these nations.

  23. So how many times has Russia invaded or defiled the sovereignty and integrity of any country? How many times have Russia caused a global war? why would Russia need to expand when it enjoys six time zones and one sixth of the land mass on earth? What does Russia need from Europe and the rest of the world that it does not already have in it yet unknown natural and human resources? You should check your facts well before you write. Crimea used to be Russian and 90%. Due to the madness going on in Kiev and the continuous threat to lives and property they decided requested for protection from the only one who can give it to them, the president of their country. I don’t think United States will turn a blind eye to such a request from its many Americans were in Granada when USA forces invaded it to protect American citizens? How man Britons were in Falkland when U.K took it by force from Argentina? Besides Crimea was an autonomy and has international and constitutional right to join any country it wishes. The only troops in Crimea were Crimean citizens who volunteered to keep the people safe since the new government in Kiev had failed and continue to fail in providing security to the citizens. Officials are being forced to resign at gunpoint. The prosecutor general was beaten up, humiliated and forced to resign on camera. What is going on there is madness. There is antisemitism, Nazi style terrorism. even calls for Chechen terrorists to resume attacks and bombing in Russia. How can any sane person defend that. try and get your facts straight and stop using political propaganda brewed by the Western press. What is the reason for this Russophoboa?

    1. I stand for peace. I oppose all aggression from the USA, UK and Russia, I am Slavic and have always seen the good people of Russia as the same as all Slavic people. I oppose not the people of Russia. I love the great culture. I oppose primative aggression and violence. I believe in free markets. Adam Smith and all for all people to become rich, it requires freedom.
      I am part Jewish and I feel much safer in Ukraine and Poland then Russia by the way. Russia I am in fear and it is tragic.

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