Are Ukrainians Russians?
This question sometimes could be asked by many foreigners and the answer is NO. Ukrainians are separate independent nation with its own traditions, language, and cultural heritage and so on. Of course, there are many common among Ukrainians and Russians. If we refer to the history it is clearly seen that the first state that gave birth to Moscow Empire and Russia is Kievan Rus with the capital Kyiv. It was powerful state populated with Ukrainian ancestors and its’ territory those times has covered almost all the territory of modern Ukraine. Even now there is a proverb sounds like “Kyiv is the mother of all Russian cities”. As the name of the country was “Kievan Rus”, people who populated it were called “Rusins” and “Rusians”. There were no Moscow and Russian those times. Within the time the state disappeared but the word was completely transformed to “Russians”. Nevertheless, some Russians, probably badly educated ones, say that Ukrainians are just “re-named Russians” and this theory is very liked by those who would like to restore “The great Russian Empire”.
Ukrainians have many common not only with Russians but with other Slavic people like Poles, Czechs, Belarusians, Slovaks, Slovenians, and Serbs and so on. All those nationalities have common roots, common ancestors and common traditions. Nowadays they live in different parts of the continent but are very similar. For example, Poland and Slovakia are part of European Union, Belarus is in close relationships with Russia, and Ukraine is independent state with many different points of view where to follow ahead. Such versatile picture that is sometimes hard to understand if not to read between the lines and search more on Ukraine and Slavs. If you have already asked yourself the question “Are Ukrainians Russians” it means that you have the shade of doubt is it really so. This is good you are searching, getting to know more, educate yourself and share this information with others. Now you know that Ukrainians are just Ukrainians with no other way out.
Probably if you ask are Ukrainians the same as Russians Ukrainians might be offended. It is something like to ask Canadian if he is American, but not exactly the same, because Canadians and Americans are two nations that live on one continent and have partner relationships. Ukrainians were under Tsarist Russia for many years and then they were in Soviet Union. In 1991 Ukraine became independent state and that is why comparison with Russians causes disaffection among Ukrainians. Many Ukrainians accuse Stalin Russia in genocide of Ukrainian peasants who were forced to make collective farms and in early 30th had a compulsory to give all their harvest. Millions of Ukrainians have died from starvation because of that. Ukrainians on East of Ukraine have strong sentiment to Russia and speak Russian with Ukrainian accent but identify themselves as Ukrainians. People in the U.S. speak English, but they are not Australians, because they speak English too, right? Ukrainians who live on West of Ukraine strongly show their national identity, speak Ukrainian language are more religious, keep to the traditions.
The statement that Ukrainians are Russians was created by Russian Empire propaganda machine and was explained that “Ukrainians are Russians that are spoiled by Polish influence”. Not many know that Ukraine was one of 15 states that Soviet Union consisted of, but as people who live on West got information on Russia mostly and associated Soviet Union with Russia. Even after collapse of Soviet Union Ukrainians and Ukraine are considered to be the same by many western people.
To say “if you are Ukrainian that means you are also Russian” is the same as to say “if you are Japanese it means you are also Chinese”. Sounds foolish, right? That is why such expressions never leave Ukrainians indifferent and willing to explain to the world they are NOT Russians. Imagine a dumb person who can hear everything and understand what is all about but is unable to answer because no one can hear him/her. That is allegory to the expression that Ukrainians are Russians. So, be educated and smart and after you have already read this article never call Ukrainian “Russian”.