Seemingly unrealistic figures were recently cited by Gallup (Gallup, Inc). Gallup experts stated that for 83% of Ukrainians native language is Russian . They have achieved such a startling result using an elegant trick outsmarting “language gamblers” among the respondents to such polls, who answer what is politically correct. Respondents were asked to choose questionnaires printed both in the Russian and Ukrainian languages. Then answer to the questions were ignored, and researchers counted just the number of responses in a particular language.
Using this methodology Gallup experts consider the native language not the one that the person states in any official questionnaire, but the one spoken in the family and used in case you need some mental effort like answering the questionnaire. In other words the language a person prefers to use in everyday life. BTW this study was funded by the U.S. government ;-).
Observers are concerned with two sides of main Ukrainian paradox, the meaning of which is that citizens of Ukraine mostly officially specify Ukrainian as their mother tongue, and in everyday life, and informal situations predominantly use Russian.
|Ukrainian paradox: citizens of Ukraine mostly officially specify Ukrainian as their mother tongue, and in everyday life, and informal situations predominantly use Russian.|
Ukrainian propaganda explained this by “blaming Soviets” rather that the fact that a small area with population of less then 20% really uses Ukrainian as their native tongue language. The same situation happens with English and other “major” languages, which have strong “gravitational pull”. Small languages like small planets lack gravitational pull and thus atmosphere…
Also the whole phenomena of “Ukrainian culture” looks provincial in comparison with Ango-shere culture, German culture, Russian culture to name just a few. So forceful “conversion” does not produce any good feeling of population who has experience with any of higher level cultures, be it Anglo-Saxon or Russian. Ukraine is unable to produce technical subjects textbooks for university — it lack both talent and resources to do so, but bark at using English language textbooks or Russian language textbooks (I would prefer mandatory using of English language textbooks at universities). BTW Poland, in many way as nationalistic as Western Ukraine uses English language textbooks at universities.
I think this “small planets generally lack atmosphere” is a more plausible explanation then the fact that the Soviet regime made it impossible for Ukrainians to use their native language. Although it is true that in the USSR the official language was Russian and that made speakers of other languages uncomfortable in any official or educational settings. But there was no prohibition on its use in any other settings. Actually it is was artificially supported in literature, performing arts and generally in the sphere of culture. Soviets provided quotas, financial support, etc. This was an official policy of subsidizing “national culture” in each of the republics with the exception of Russia. The policy that later spectacularly backfired during the dissolution of the USSR, as it was this “national intelligencia” so carefully grown by Soviets, that became nationalist storm troopers for dissolution, pursuing, of course, their own egoistical interests (Vytautas Landsbergis, a professor at the Lithuanian
But now nothing prevents Ukrainians from using exclusively “Mova” as they call Ukrainian language. What prevents children who have grown up since 1991, to use it in everyday life, if Russian schools are now (forcefully, by government decree) closed in most regions of Ukraine ?
Still this did not happen. So forceful closure of schools (see pretty telling animated map of expansion Ukrainian language only schools and correspondingly closure of Russian schools) and complete “scorch earth” elimination of Russian in universities (which was pretty idiotic policy as textbooks are mostly in Russian) proved to be not powerful enough instruments of enforcing the “language apartheid”. By the latter we will mean systematic, government led suppression of Russian language and humiliation of Russian speakers as the second class citizens. Which was the official policy of the Ukrainian state from 1991, policy that was pursued under all administrations by both less nationalistic Donetsk clan and more nationalistic “lybi druzi” Yushchenko oligarchic clan (Ukraine was and is oligarchic republic — Khodorkovsky dream that came true; coup of February 22 changed nothing in this respect).
Read more: Softpanorama.org