What difference does it make what language they speak?
Taras Demyanchuk, Ph.D. 23.02.16
Foreword: Why I am writing in Russian, the reader will guess. Recently, in Kyiv, I talked with a young, beautiful girl, Olga, who speaks both Ukrainian and Russian. She took offense at my remark. I have the right to speak the language I’m used to and don’t put pressure on me – she answered sharply. I couldn’t find an answer. But this conversation prompted me to think, which I want to share.
Excursion to the USSR.
I remember myself, also a Ukrainian. Soviet Union, were we forced to communicate in Russian or did we want to? Lviv, studying at a technical school – most of the subjects are in Russian. I serve in the Soviet army in Kamchatka, where only Russian is spoken. I work at a factory, I also only speak Russian, at the institute, too, in the family, too, because. Russian wife. In a word, communication is only in Russian. But this is the 70s, 80s of the last century, and I live in the USSR, otherwise it’s impossible there! And try to prove to someone that you have the right to speak your native language – immediately the stigma of “nationalist”, “Bandera” and the end of your career. It’s easier to adapt, bend over and spit on your native language.
There was a clear example, the now well-known dissident M. Marinovich. For a year we worked together at the same factory. He did not bend over, he spoke only in the Ukrainian language around and defended it. As a result, the collapse of a career, a prison. He disappeared unnoticed. Over time, from the “enemy” radio “Voice of America” we learned about his fate. “1977 r. – arrest and trial of members of the Ukrainian Gelsinsky group and others. (M. Marinovich, G. Snegiryov, L. Luk’yanenko and others). And in 1978. – directive of the Collegium of the Ministry of Education of the URSR about “Improving the education of Russian language in the educational schools of the republic”. This is how the Russian language was “not planted” in the USSR.
And our parents, and we, the older generation, basically surrendered without resistance and “knelt down” switching from their native language to Russian. But not all, because there were people like Marinovich!
Time passed, and in 1982 in Kyiv, I went to get microcircuits at the Mikron plant. The storekeeper is interested – are you from Ivano-Frankivsk, a local Ukrainian? Yes – with surprise from such a question, I answer. I am Russian and I don’t understand you Ukrainian, your language is so beautiful, but you are either embarrassed to use it, or ashamed of your origin? I was speechless, on the train at night I could not sleep, solid thoughts. I came home and spoke to my wife in Ukrainian, she looked at me but said nothing. It was harder at work, after all, I was in charge of a department where there were 65 people, and some employees began to resent why I didn’t speak Russian with them, and the “snitch” did his job. But even a preventive conversation in the party committee, I really was not a member of the party, did not change anything in my position. They didn’t touch me anymore – there was already a so-called “warming”. In addition, there were other problems, for example, with technical terminology. It was also difficult psychologically, the “brain” thought in Russian and translated into Ukrainian. But it didn’t last long.
Constant communication in Ukrainian has done its job, and when I speak Ukrainian, I think in Ukrainian, and when I switch to Russian, I automatically think in Russian.
When using the Ukrainian language, “Russianism” sometimes slipped through me, and some acquaintances (not Russians, but Russian speakers) immediately paid attention to this and ridiculed me, they did not like that I was using the Ukrainian language. But for some reason, no one has ever ridiculed me if “Ukrainism” slips through the use of the Russian language?
Do we recognize ourselves as Ukrainians?
Summer 2003. I am going up with my niece and her boyfriend from Kirovograd to Mount Hoverla. The weather is beautiful, the scenery is unnaturally beautiful. My companions are in the mountains for the first time and do not hide their delight. We are overtaken by a group of young people, two guys and a girl. At the same time, they sang Ukrainian songs but sometimes spoke in Polish. “Good afternoon” – they greet us. I ask: “Are you Poles?”, “No Polish Ukrainians,” they proudly answer. I chatted a little with them in Ukrainian and they started to overtake us. Zhora, that was the name of my companion, addressed them in Russian. They looked at him strangely, did not answer, and went on. Zhora asks offendedly – what are they, pretending not to understand the Russian language? I explain that only in Ukraine we understand both Ukrainian and Russian, and Ukrainians in Poland, Canada, Australia and others do not understand Russian. It can’t be, it’s almost the same language – Zhora is surprised. And you go to Russia and try to speak Ukrainian there, no one will understand you – I say, I tried it. He looks at me with distrust and proudly says – I am Russian and I speak Russian, but I understand everything when they speak Ukrainian. Those. he says – I am Russian, not Ukrainian Russian? I cursed and corrected Zhora – what kind of Russian are you, your mother is Armenian, your father is Ukrainian, and you are Russian and you don’t know your parents’ native language. He was very puzzled. And this guy is 20 years old, a student of the Kharkov Law School and has been living in independent Ukraine for more than 10 years! Parents, school, mass media – they all contribute to such education.
I’m walking, about fifteen years ago, around Kirovograd with my godfather Sergey (Ukrainian) and I ask him – why do you speak Russian in stores? And they do not understand the Ukrainian language, the godfather says. Let’s do an experiment, I suggest. We went through a dozen stores in the center of Kirovograd and only in one the seller answered my question in Ukrainian in Russian, the rest answered in Ukrainian, but everyone understood Ukrainian. Even in Western Ukraine, as in a joke: who are crests – these are Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian to each other, but when someone says something in Russian, they immediately switch to Russian and then speak Russian. When you ask – why are you switching to Russian? They answer – we show our respect for the interlocutor ??? Surprisingly, then if we answer in Ukrainian, then we disrespect the interlocutor? You can still give many examples of such “excuses”, or maybe we are so indifferent or we use blanks thrown by someone?
I was surprised when in Ivano-Frankivsk foreign students (Negroes) turned to me with questions in Ukrainian, then I realized – they are not scoops.
The well-known writer Shklyar well noted how the Ukrainian authorities set an example for us: during the war, they do not think about culture, but bare their teeth at the Evening Quarter.
The use of the Ukrainian language in modern Ukraine.
From 1982 to the present in Ukraine, I communicate only in Ukrainian, both at work and at home.
And I should note that communication in Ukrainian is very cool not only in the times of the USSR, but even now!
There are no problems at all in life. And in work, it’s not that there are problems, but there are incidents. Both directors of enterprises and chief engineers from eastern Ukraine for the first time, during a conversation, go dumb for tens of seconds, then they speak Russian with pressure, as if forcing me to switch to Russian, and then they already speak normally, sometimes they try to switch to Ukrainian. The technical director of one enterprise from Krivoy Rog at the first meeting said – she speaks in a normal language and does not pull herself out. Are you suggesting that I switch to the language of “scoops” – I asked? This question confused him. Then it turned out that he is a good person and understands Ukrainian perfectly.
In Odessa, a high-ranking official (Ukrainian) admired my Ukrainian language and said – “you are welcome to enter there, because you can speak Ukrainian language, but it’s impossible in Odessa, you will be pecked.” For some reason, I did not believe, for a long time I did not
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that it is time to be proud of the Ukrainian language and not allow discrimination against it. After all, now is not Soviet times, when it was considered shameful to speak Ukrainian in Kyiv, that this village came, in addition, your career directly hung on this. No matter how I come to Kyiv, everything is in Russian everywhere, menus in restaurants, at concerts, etc. What’s on the street, analyze the programs of our central TV channels, most of the time in Russian. What about other cities? Kiev “beau monde”, part of the intelligentsia is still ashamed of the Ukrainian language, and maybe even despises. Not only in Russian films and TV programs they make fun of the Ukrainian language, but in our entertainment programs they do the same, for example, in the 95th quarter. And the Russian language is not ridiculed anywhere, but only protected, everything is like in the USSR (for example, the Plug and Tarapunko show). Is it really inertia (post-imperial syndrome) or is it still a “blind” continuation of the Kremlin’s policy? Will our youth be able to raise us from their “knees” in the language issue?
Yes, I agree that all of us, Ukrainians, have the right to speak any language. But we must not forget our responsibility to protect and develop the Ukrainian language. Fulfilling the duties of a citizen of your country is no less important than protecting your rights.
And do not use a trick – what difference does it make in what language to communicate, I’m so used to it (in fact, we don’t admit to ourselves that we gave up without hesitation, without a fight and got used to the language imposed on our parents, at one time). There is a difference, among other things, in Putin’s statement: the border of Russia ends where the Russian language ends.
Where a nation does not have its own cultural and informational space, a favorable field is created for an invader. But the main factor here is, of course, the language, the Ukrainian spirit. In our country, this factor is somehow hushed up because of the propaganda of “Russian-speaking patriotism”, and no one notes that the occupier did not go to the northern Luhansk region. And he didn’t go there because there are Ukrainian-speaking villages,” Shklyar believes.
But there are countries with two official languages!
In 2005, at a business meeting in Vinnitsa, a Czech, Dalibor, made a remark to the vysokoposadovtsy of the regional council – “I don’t understand, are we in Ukraine in Russia?” The official blushed and switched to Ukrainian. After this incident, I ask Dalibor – did you have such problems in the Czech Republic? Yes, he replies, after the Second World War we mostly spoke German. But after the war, an appeal appeared: “We have the state language Czech, the majority supported this appeal, especially the youth.” But what about the Sudeten Germans, you violated their rights. He laughed and said – I myself am a Sudeten German, and I am fluent in German, but I communicate in Czech, including in the family. And it was we, the Czech Germans, who were the first to support this appeal. We do not want the Czech Germans to be “liberated” by Germany again. This is some kind of mess in your head here, which can end badly. He looked into the water.
Many, including politicians, in order to justify their unwillingness to use the Ukrainian language, say – do not pay attention to this, because there are countries with two state languages. Give the example of Belgium. But, at the same time, they ignore such facts:
A). This is not a young state, but with an age-old tradition.
b). This state does not have an aggressive empire like Russia nearby.
V). Politicians even in Belgium are trying to introduce a split on linguistic grounds, remember last year’s referendum.
Just those young states that from the very beginning use one state language have achieved significant development. A very good example is Israel. “In Israel, by the way, if such methods had not been used at the beginning of the last century, Hebrew would never have become the national language. And the cities would have consisted of Russian-speaking, Moroccan and other ghettos. I still remember in the early 2000s they tried to legalize Russian in God forbid.” “If Ukrainian were widely used in the eastern regions, all that is happening there now would not have happened. The role of language in self-identification is enormous.” – Alex Averbukh. http://obozrevatel.com/blogs/ 38149-krokodilyachi-slozi-starshogo-brata.htm