News / Europe

Russia-Ukraine Ties Seen as Deep, Complicated

Ukraine and Russia Share Long-Standing Historical Tiesi
X
Mike Eckels
March 08, 2014 3:39 PM
The political events unfolding in Ukraine reveal complex ethnic, historical, cultural, economic, and religious links between Russia and Ukraine. VOA’s Michael Eckels investigates from Moscow.
Michael Eckels
— The complex ethnic, historical, cultural, economic and religious links between Russia and Ukraine were on display Friday in Moscow during the 200th birthday celebrations for Taras Shevchenko, who composed poetry in Ukrainian and prose in Russian.

Participants from both nations took part including Ukraine's ambassador to Moscow, Volodymyr Yelchenko.

“Unfortunately today’s ceremony is happening on the backdrop of events that I will not comment on, out of respect for our mutual holiday,” he said.

It is a crisis of two nations deeply entwined. Experts estimate there are between three- to five-million Ukrainians in Russia — many of them undocumented migrant workers who send their earnings back to Ukraine. Russian and Ukraine did $45 billion of trade in 2012.

Beyond the literature of Shevchenko, Pavel Felgenhauer, a defense analyst, identifies a mixed language called Surzhik, which translate into "mixed-grain bread," that common in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and neighboring Russian areas.

“It’s not classical Ukrainian literature, and it’s not Russian," he said. "It’s a kind of non-literary talking language, which everyone finds disgusting and funny.”

Living in Moscow for 34 years, Ukrainian-Russian Vera Onipko grew up in Ukraine’s deep east near Lugansk, a hotbed of Surzhik speakers.

“At school we had classes in Russian language and literature, Ukrainian language and literature.  But for math, algebra, or geometry, teachers spoke in the mixed-language,” recalled Onipko.

The nations’ churches have ancient ties dating back to the eighth century Kievan-Rus — the proto-nation for both Russia and Ukraine. Church leaders have had a public exchange of letters decrying violence and promoting brotherhood.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, these brotherly relations could ultimately prevent armed conflict.

“Ukrainian and Russian servicemen will not stand on opposite sides of the barricades. They will stand on the same side,” he said.

But the question is — if tensions continue to rise, will Putin's assessment hold?

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anthony Bellchambers from: London UK
March 09, 2014 9:42 AM
What is the essential difference between the Falkland Islands & Britain and the Crimea & Russia? Between Thatcher and Putin? In both cases the population of the regions in question have opted overwhelmingly to stay with the occupier. It's called democracy, isn't it?


by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
March 08, 2014 7:57 PM
jeremy_gsl writes: “The political events unfolding in Ukraine reveal (!!!) complex ethnic, historical, cultural, economic, and religious links between Russia and Ukraine. - Brilliant discovery! “

It’s absolutely misplaced sneer! To the contrary, the article reminds how deep are cultural, religious, psychological, even blood ties between two nations have been successfully tested for centuries. The brothercide war between Slavonic orthodox Christian countries as Russia and Ukraine with strong Russian ethnicity in the latter could be a humanitarian disaster, unimaginable and would have been disapproved by anybody in sound mind as there is hardly any family in Russia without Ukrainian roots and blood, and vice versa, be it a granny or some other next kin.


by: jeremy_gsl
March 08, 2014 5:38 PM
The political events unfolding in Ukraine reveal (!!!) complex ethnic, historical, cultural, economic, and religious links between Russia and Ukraine. - Brilliant discovery!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid