This is going to be pretty much one of the most serious posts in my blog so far. There’ll be no pictures or videos. You’ve seen them all. I... don't feel very good writing this because I know it is probably not going to change anything. I had doubts about finishing and posting this article but the events of last Friday, 2nd of May in Odessa pushed me to do it. Moreover, I am now getting used (since December) to hear many (and I mean, MANY) questions from my non-Russian/Ukrainian-speaking colleagues like “So, what do you think about the events in Ukraine?”. Well, I'm finally ready to tell you what I think.
(If you don't feel like reading all this stuff, please skip to the end. You'll find actually an important thought there. Thanks.)
I don't accept the idea of the war, any war. I am a pacifist. I wouldn’t be able to kill. Neither can I do it driven by racist ideas nor by some differences in political views. Although I despise the idea of a war itself, I am especially disgusted by its worst kind - a Civil war. Different nations and kingdoms have been fighting for centuries in order to get more land and stuff for themselves, but what makes people of the same nation kill each other? During the last century over 50 civil wars happened within different nations. I ask myself: “What's the world come to?”
I was born in 1986 in Odessa. Back then, nobody was talking about some Russia or some Ukraine. We were all living in the USSR. And guess what? In Odessa we were all speaking Russian. I don't think that much changed after 1991. Odessa remained peaceful and the most beautiful city in (from 1991) Ukraine. When, however, in 1994 I began studying in the first grade of the Stolyarsky School I found out that some other citizens of my country were speaking a different language – Ukrainian. For us, it was a foreign language. We were obliged to learn it too but still, you would never hear anybody speak it outside the Ukrainian language class. “Why should we learn this strange language?” - I asked my grandmother. “Well, because we are living in Ukraine” - she replied. Thus, I found out that we were living not just in Odessa but also in Ukraine.
Was there ever any pressure? No, I wouldn't say so. Although, at some lessons at school (besides the Ukrainian language and literature) teachers were trying to make us speak Ukrainian (for unclear reasons), it didn't make any difference for us. Behind the class' doors we would always speak Russian. It was all fine.
From 2005, when I began my studies at the Odessa State (now, National) Nezhdanova Music Academy, I met the first Ukrainian-speaking people; however, still, there was never a question of miscommunication or racial misunderstanding. It was common for people from west and south-east to speak Ukrainian on one the side, and Russian on the other. That was the only difference between us. We were equal.
So, is there a language problem in Ukraine? It's hard to just say “yes” or “no”. Ukraine has always been and will be a bilingual country, so, we'll have to go into details.
There is no communication problem, it is clear. I have never misunderstood someone or been misunderstood because of the language.
However, it has been years since most of the TV-channels switched to the monolingual (Ukrainian) broadcasting. Firstly, yes, we can understand the news, TV-shows, brazilian soap-operas and stuff in Ukrainian without any problem but it is kind of unfair not to have a right to choose. Secondly, the clowns in the government went even further and sometimes we could hear russian movies dubbed into Ukrainian. Thirdly (now this goes a bit over the edge), all of the movies in the cinemas are dubbed into Ukrainian. Well, the problem is that, as a general rule, talents of the actors doing the Ukrainian voices are questionable, and the quality of the translation itself is very low, so, any serious film has a pretty high chance to turn into a comedy.
Thus, even though a language problem has never been a direct threat to the integrity of Ukraine it remains one of the dangerous means of political speculation and I'm convinced that now it became a very helpful instrument for those who are interested in breaking Ukraine in half. Switzerland has been many times taken as an example and I have to repeat it as well. Switzerland is one of the smallest countries in Europe as well as one of the most developed in the world. The standard of living in Switzerland is sky-high. Switzerland, as a confederation, consists of 26 cantons with different laws, taxes, customs and holidays. Moreover, despite the population of only a little over 8 million people, Switzerland has 4 official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh (spoken by around 0.5% of the population). In addition, German has its own, sometimes quite different, dialect in every canton. Why these cultural, political and other differences do not prevent people from collaboration? It think that doesn't happen because all these differences are protected by law, and people have no doubt that whatever happens they can speak their own language (language of their parents) and will never be called “minorities”.
It is hard to reach that kind of harmony, of course, but if Ukraine tried to provide equal rights for the Russian-speaking citizens, making the Russian language official, that would wipe out once and for all a possibility to use this language question in any political intrigues.
There has also been a lot of talk about the fact that people who would like Ukraine to become a federal state are idiots. The reason for that is the fact that according to the constitution, Ukraine has to be a unitary state and one should not dare changing it. Well, apparently, if something doesn’t work and is impossible to repair, you change it. Too much money is being stolen in Kiev. Converting Ukraine into a federal state is not a magic cure but should at least give the regions a chance by letting them set their own rules.
I was not in Kiev when all the tragic events happened. I'm glad I was not in Kiev. I'm glad that none of the people I know were in Kiev (except for those who live there). I can only build my opinion on what I have seen on YouTube and television. Terrible things happened. On both fronts. I'm not even talking about the “third side”, snipers shooting both of them. Back then I was in Cologne following the news on TV every day and could not imagine how this kind of stuff could be happening in a civilized society. I was surprised by the fact how low and dirty people could go trying to fight for the illusive ideas. For the first time in my life I was truly embarrassed by my Ukrainian origin. I do not want to be associated with those people. “I'm from Odessa” – that’s my answer to “where are you from?” from now on.
However, let's see, who died in Kiev? Were there any relatives of Yatsenyuk, Tyahnybok or Tymoshenko? No, those were usual people, the crowd, the pawns of the self-proclaimed government. I could never imagine that people of Ukraine could be so easily manipulated by fascists. I was disgusted by the videos where drunk wasted Klitschko, Tyahnybok and Yatsenyuk were trying to talk to people at the Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev. The same Yatsenyuk was after a couple of weeks told to “F*** off” by the same disappointed crowd. I am disgusted by all these faces on the TV-screen that keep lying again and again.
“To crush is easier than to build” - an awkward translation of the known russian saying reflects the situation of the so-called revolution in Ukraine. When the famous events were taking place in Kiev some people who pretended to fight for the integrity of Ukraine thought it was not enough to destroy the Independence Square (Maidan). They decided it would be very helpful to get rid of the Lenin statue, and so they did. This example of vandalism was followed by other “patriots” and it happened also in other cities of Ukraine. There were over 15 Lenin monuments destroyed. Oh my... People, where does this tendency to destroy everything you see come from? If you have so much energy why don't you use a tiny little bit of it to power up your brain and the rest to create something beautiful?! And if (who knows), a piece of stone or metal is really the only thing that is making your life miserable then use your brain again and try to cope with this problem in a more civilised way.
A famous satirist M. Zadornov once delivered the following piece of wisdom: “Ukraine, Russia and Belarus – we are one nation, and our governments are another nation.”
Never could I imagine that there could be a danger of war between Russia and Ukraine. I mean, look! We are the same people! We have the same mentality, the same traditions, the same food... Almost all of us are speaking the same language. How can we be against each other?
The events of the 2nd of May in Odessa showed a real face of people who got the power today. Those Nazis who are guilty of burning people alive will never be forgiven. As soon as they realize (and that is going to happen sooner or later) the size of the crime they committed they will punish themselves.
I can understand people who cannot cope with pain and undeniable hatred in their hearts, especially, those whose relatives were killed in that burning building. The rage is forcing them to seek revenge. I say, I can understand but, probably, not. It's impossible to imagine that kind of feeling. However, it is important to realise that even if you satisfy your hunger, if you avenge your friends or relatives, they will still be dead, the pain will never go away. Well, it's easy to say.
People, please, I'm asking all of you, regardless of your political views, do not allow yourself to be manipulated! Do not go with the crowd; try to develop your own point of view. Try to evaluate how much you can build and destroy if your actions are driven by hate and racial prejudice. We're all the same!
This article turned out to be at least 3 times longer than I had planned. If you read it, thank you.
My general point of view can be expressed narrowed to the following fundamental statement:
No person on earth has a right to defend or fight for their political, social or religious views in a way that may or will put in jeopardy even a single life. If such actions result in even a single death, there is no justice that may acquit the people who committed them or justify the reasons behind their actions.
If at least half of the people tried to follow this principle, some dramatic changes would happen in society, I am sure.
And a secondary thought: I don't care what your political and religious preferences are. As long as they don't make you violent, we are equal.
Tomorrow is the 9th of May, Victory Day. Everybody is afraid that this will give a big opportunity to dishonourable people. I truly hope that peaceful people will not let themselves to be provoked. I hope there won't be more senseless casualties.
Please leave your comments below. I would like to believe that at least some people were not left indifferent by what they just read. I promise to respond to any questions. You can contact me either via the comment box or Contact Me page. I appreciate your attention.
Previous Facebook comments
- Lars KurthI'm absolutely compliant with your statement and fully support it. Thank you, I hope that it helped many others to understand.
- Natalia SergeevaМолодец. Хорошо написал и очень правдиво. Подписываюсь.
- Zawód: Muzyk...ever wondered why you spoke Russian in Odessa in the first place..? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gCtiJYFYak&list=UU3tKBi6jK41aDsWkKhdfifA#t=266 looks like you don't mind years of Russian occupation at all...