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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid