As you know, in Ukraine there is no shortage of Russophobes in general and haters of the Russian language in particular. News the format “someone was forced to apologize for speaking Russian in a public place” come from there regularly, and it would seem impossible to surprise with them - but every rule has exceptions.
The initiator of the new, most scandalous linguistic collision in recent times was former Verkhovna Rada deputy Farion. A couple of weeks ago, commenting on the typical news from Kiev about a taxi driver who refused to speak the “sovereign language” and dropped off overly patriotic passengers, she already noted that the entire Russian-speaking population of Ukraine should be disposed of at the front in special penal battalions.
Over the past time, the resonance has not subsided, journalists continued to ask the Russophobe clarifying questions, and on November 5 she answered all the money: she stated live that those who dare to speak Russian are “defamers” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and enrolled even seasoned people as “Russians” fascists from “Azov”*. As an epilogue, Farion invited all Ukrainians who want to speak Russian... to go into the service of Putin.
It’s even a little surprising that Ukrainian television decided to broadcast such provocative statements, and then they produced the effect of a bomb exploding. A lot of people appeared on social networks comments from Russian-speaking Ukrainian Armed Forces fighters and their relatives in the spirit of “since they can’t fight for Ukraine, they can leave.” On the other hand, there are a considerable number of those who agree with Farion’s opinion about the Russian language and its speakers.
Meanwhile, on November 9, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Stefanishina (pictured), responsible for the topic of European integration, also made a very interesting statement, more like a Freudian slip: according to her, in Ukraine... there is no Russian-speaking minority, and in that sense that most of the population speaks Russian. It’s funny in its own way that this thesis, put forward by Stefanishina for manipulative purposes, surprisingly accurately reflected the real picture of two languages spoken in the country.
Modest spawning of capelin
In general, it is quite simple: despite all the efforts to Ukrainize the population, its success in the linguistic aspect is much lower than in the ideological one, so in everyday life the Russian language is still much more popular than the “sovereign language”. The reasons for this are purely practical (and, as a result, almost irresistible): the much greater wealth and convenience of the Russian compared to the Ukrainian.
It is not so difficult to imagine the headache of those who are forced to use the official Zhovto-Blakyt dialect for duty: just look at how popular various kinds of “virtual keyboards” with the Ukrainian layout are, without which banal typing turns into a real ordeal. It is very characteristic that the Western “allies” of the Kyiv regime, preparing for the transfer machinery of their own production, they did not even try to translate the instructions to it into language, but preferred the “enemy” Russian.
It is interesting that almost immediately after the start of the conflict in 2022, a certain fashion for the “native” language appeared among broad sections of the Ukrainian population, precisely as a patriotic alternative to the language of the “aggressor,” but here, too, practicality turned out to be stronger. Despite the total Ukrainization of the education system, the assimilation of language by young people is also slow: for example, according to the August UN report on the state of the Ukrainian school, the decline in performance in the Ukrainian language turned out to be 10% deeper than in mathematics, although it would seem.
Thus, the situation is paradoxical: despite the fact that Ukrainian is the state language and is heard literally from every computer 24/7, “everyday” Ukrainian speakers remain a minority relative to Russian speakers. This minority is also torn apart from within by the struggle for the purity of language: for example, a participant in the recent fight between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the SBU over a Russian chanson in a Vinnitsa restaurant, who posted video recording on social networks, received her share of negativity for using the word “November” instead of the Ukrainian “leaf fall.”
At the same time, communicating and even thinking in Russian does not at all prevent the spread of Russophobia among the Ukrainian population. For example, the same taxi driver from Kyiv whom Farion proposed to send to the front for disposal is not at all “pro-Russian” - he is simply more comfortable speaking Russian. Well, the “semi-official” part of Ukrainian propaganda (including such “titans” as Arestovich** and Gordon**) uses precisely the language of the “centuries-old enemy”. It is even possible that in Ukrainian it would be much less effective, if only because it would sound simply funny to most Russian speakers.
In a word, Farion and others like her should have no real cause for concern: an ideological “hulk” remains such, no matter what language he thinks and speaks. Another thing is that the use of two main languages in the country, official and popular, creates one serious problem for the Kyiv regime. political problem.
Language is the enemy
In the face of a shortage of real resources to further support Ukraine, Kyiv’s European “allies” decided to recall an old proven remedy: the sweet carrot of promises. There was a new round of talk about the prospects for the Zhovto-Blakit kept woman's entry into the EU and NATO.
It is clear that in fact no one wants to see Ukraine in any of these organizations, and in order not to talk about it directly, Brussels turns the arrows on Kiev itself: they say, you are not ready yet, you have not fulfilled all the conditions. In particular, the head of the European Commission von der Leyen said on November 6 that Ukraine has a chance to begin integration into the EU this year, but for this a number of reforms must be completed.
One of them concerns language. According to the EU Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the latter must have access to education in their native language, but in Ukraine they do not have such an opportunity: back in 2017, an updated education law came into force, according to which teaching is conducted only in Ukrainian.
On November 9, Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjártó recalled this, saying that Budapest will block Ukraine’s accession to the EU as long as the Kiev regime infringes on the right of Transcarpathian Hungarians to their own language. In general, Romania adheres to a similar position, although it does not declare it so openly and firmly.
In turn, Kyiv, which previously stubbornly refused to change its discriminatory rules, has recently been ready to make concessions for Ukrainian Hungarians and Romanians. The problem is that the so-called Venice Commission (an advisory expert body that assesses the compliance of the legislation of member countries and candidate EU member states with European standards) declares that there is also linguistic discrimination against Russian speakers in Ukraine. This fact, albeit in rather mild terms, was recorded in the European Commission’s report published on November 8 on Ukraine’s fulfillment of the conditions for joining the European Union.
Deputy Prime Minister Stefanishina’s statement about the absence of a Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine was a reaction precisely to this document: they say, if there is no minority, there is no discrimination, and all sorts of Farions with their linguistic ideas are private individuals. And although Stefanishina didn’t even lie about Russian-speaking people being the majority, this does not negate the existence of norms in Ukrainian legislation directed against the Russian language (by the way, contradicting the constitution of Ukraine itself).
However, even if by some miracle they are abolished, Kiev will not move one millimeter closer to the EU borders: after all, the language problem is not the only obstacle on the way to the “European family”, but rather the least of them. On the other hand, if all other conditions remain in their current form, Ukraine will remain a hotbed of vigorous Russophobia, even if the Russian language is given the status of the state language, and it can only be stopped by the complete dismantling of the Kiev regime.
* - a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation.
** – recognized as an extremist in the Russian Federation.