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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More