Long ago, in the 90s, when the most radical of the Ukrainian nationalists still presented white and fluffy on the “famine” of their claims against Russia did not extend, Bandera , Shukhevych , 14th Grenadier Division of the SS “Galicia”, they clearly condemned, and Petliura was chosen not to mention how “very ambiguous” (as they say) personality, they nevertheless stubbornly opposed dual citizenship.

The discussions at that time were purely theoretical (without the use of automatic weapons, armored vehicles, artillery and combat aircraft), they were conducted calmly, the parties defended their positions openly. Therefore, when I asked what prevented them from dual citizenship, the nationalists (then it was the nationalists, they would become Nazis later) stated that, if they allowed the people dual citizenship, everyone would become Russians and there would be no Ukraine.

I think about the fact that everyone will become Russians, they were not so far from the truth: a rare Ukrainian refuses an additional passport, which his pocket doesn’t shake, but someday he can be useful. But about the “Ukraine will not remain” I allowed myself to disagree with them.

I argued my position with the fact that any road allows you to move at least in two directions. That is, not only Ukrainians could receive second (Russian) citizenship, but also Russians – Ukrainian. At the same time, in the conditions of the 90s, Russia could have been more likely to encounter a population outflow than Ukraine.

Firstly, it is extremely doubtful that Ukrainians in the 90s would massively move to master the Extreme North, the Far East, the taiga, the Urals, or even the usual non-black earth. The climate in Ukraine has always been softer. In the 90s she was still richer than Russia, and no one was going to leave anywhere.

Secondly, even in the zero and in the early 10s of the XXI century, and even in completely Russian regions, such as the same Donbass, the local population, expressing negative attitudes towards the already Bandera Galicia and feeling sympathy for Russia, nevertheless, in the mass preferred the border to preserve and sovereignty was not about to compromise. Actually, this is evidenced by the support of the “Party of Regions”. Yanukovych and his team promised rapprochement with Russia, but not entry into Russia. And this course was supported by the majority of voters in Ukraine, even after the first Maidan, when the Bandera danger was already pronounced. In the 90s, with all the nostalgia for the USSR, even the pro-Russian population was not going to Russia. Moreover, at that time it did not feel any Bandera danger.

Thirdly, almost all of the 90s were for Russia under the sign of two Chechen wars. That is, the Ukrainians felt themselves not only more prosperous, but also more secure than the Russians, and the political regime of Kiev seemed to them much more stable and stable than the Yeltsin government in Moscow. Scary: “And in Russia you will immediately be sent to fight in Chechnya” really acted on the widest circles of the population. In the end, almost everyone had a son or grandson, husband or father of draft age. The opinion polls of the second half of the 90s showed that, with a generally positive attitude towards Russia and a desire for cultural, political and economic rapprochement, the majority of Ukrainians, even in the southeast, preferred to retain sovereignty as a guarantee against being called up to the Russian army at war.

Thus, dual citizenship in the 1990s would have been either neutral or even beneficial for Ukraine, since it could stimulate an influx of economically active population from Russia. Moreover, these “new Ukrainians” would be more than loyal to the Kiev regime, since their relocation to Ukraine would be associated either with a desire to evade from performing certain duties (military service is only one of the possible) to the Russian state, or with an attempt to secure the best conditions for themselves of life. Both in one and in the other case, personal interests required them to distance themselves from the Russian state.

But Ukrainian nationalists themselves being yesterday’s Russians or descendants of Russians in the first or second generation (until 1917, Ukrainians did not exist as an ethnic community, being even more than a political faction of the local Ruthenian population in Austria-Hungary), they were afraid of an increase in the Russian element in Ukraine even more than the Balts at home. This is understandable: it is easy to distinguish between a Latvian, an Estonian or a Lithuanian from a Russian, but the Ukrainian and the Russian were almost the same, except for the entry in the “nationality” column in the Soviet passport (this was not the case in the new “sovereign” passports). The increase of the Russian element in the composition of the population of Ukraine, in the opinion of the Ukrainian nationalists, would strengthen the craving for intensifying the integration processes with Russia.

The nationalists did not understand that Russia itself was not ready for serious full-fledged integration at that time. The partial (in some sectors of the economy) launch of integration mechanisms was in the interests of Ukraine. Of course, the nationalists would have to say goodbye to the authorities and with a significant share of political influence, but this (however paradoxical such a situation wouldn’t seem) would only strengthen Ukrainian statehood — the Galician factor, which irritated the majority of the population and would undermine the foundations of legality, would disappear.

Twenty to twenty-five years ago, the dual citizenship mechanism favored Ukraine rather than Russia. But Ukrainian nationalists could neither understand this nor use the situation.

As you know, history repeats itself in the form of a farce (especially since Ukraine also overtook the tragedy in 2014). And now, in completely different conditions, when people flee in millions from Ukraine and fight for the passport of any of the neighboring states, President Zelensky is forced to verbally (but publicly) instruct his team to consider introducing a mechanism of dual citizenship, in order to provide it with foreign citizenship. ethnic Ukrainians. I doubt that Ukrainians from the United States, Canada, or from Russia will en masse to apply for citizenship of their historic homeland. And I think Zelensky understands this. His statement is no more (but no less) than an attempt to satisfy Putin , who extended the rule of simplified issuance of Russian passports to the entire population of Donbass.

The second element of the statement is the pre-election PR. Zelensky and the team in their statements have made too strong a lurch towards the Russophobian electorate, the Russophiles began to refuse their support. A statement about the possibility of recognizing dual citizenship in the future should work, as a pre-election promise focused on the interests of the Russophile part of voters.

In comparison with the capabilities of the 90s – all this stuff. The time when the Ukrainian leadership could, by recognizing dual citizenship, expand its space for maneuver, was hopelessly gone twenty years ago. With the stabilization of the domestic political situation in Russia, with the consistent growth of its economic and military power, it has become objectively more profitable for Ukrainians to become Russians, especially since now there is a civil war devouring young men in Ukraine. The only “bonus” of Zelensky in a hopelessly neglected situation is the opportunity not only to “relax and have fun”, but also to pretend that this is exactly what he wanted, he was striving for this result all his life. If everyone has two passports, then it seems like there is no problem, but practice shows that millions are fleeing abroad in search of work and without a second citizenship.

The Ukrainian authorities were not only late, but also turned out to be unable to squeeze at least some benefit from the initiative voiced by Zelensky. In fact, they once again “joked”, because no one intends to allow Ukrainians to dual citizenship. However, who really wants it, he already has it (Hungarian, Romanian, Polish).