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On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians | Analysis by Maria Domańska (OSW} in Warsaw |

Russia views the existence of the Ukrainian nation "with respect". However, present-day Ukraine owes its territorial form to the Soviet period. It benefitted from "regaining" ancient Russian lands at the expense of Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia, and obtained territories which had been taken away from "historical Russia". Consequently, if Ukraine is determined to severe  its friendly relations with Russia, i.e. the USSR's heir, it should return to its 1922 borders. Putin also took the opportunity to criticise the policy pursued by the Bolsheviks; he accused them of "robbing" Russia of the territories that were awarded to Ukraine.

-        Russia did a great deal to help the Ukrainian state thrive post-1991; Putin mentioned the significant economic assistance Russia offered to Kyiv. The rupture of the ties between the two countries has resulted in Ukraine's economic degradation: at present Ukraine is "Europe's poorest country". The anti-Russian Ukrainian authorities have "wasted and frittered away the achievements of many generations", even while the two nations still have "great affection" for each other.

-        Putin also offered harsh criticism of the policies pursued by the authorities in Kyiv, both towards Russia and domestically, and of the local oligarchs who plunder the Ukrainian state. Ukraine is affected by a persistent weakness of its state institutions and has become "a willing hostage to someone else's geopolitical will". In addition, Putin accused Kyiv of mythologising and rewriting history - a routine allegation against those neighbouring states which  work to debunk Russian historical propaganda.  In Putin's words, "the common tragedy of collectivisation" back in the 1930s is falsely presented as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. As he pointed out, the Ukrainian elites wrongfully base  the country's independence on a denial of its past. However, at the same time they  "conveniently" leave  out the aforementioned issue of the contemporary state's borders.

Worthy analysis quite a difference with war hawk Anne Applebaum.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Mar 16th, 2022 at 08:22:17 PM EST

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