Thursday, June 7, 2018

Historical Memory of Ukrainian ‘Wedge’ in Russian Far East Resurfaces

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 7 – Across what is now the Russian Federation, there are various places where a century ago there were significant and, in some cases, overwhelmingly Ukrainian populations. These were known in Ukrainian as “wedges,” and the largest and most famous o these was in the Far East, the Zelyony klin or “Green Wedge.”

            The Soviets and the post-Soviet Russians have done everything they could to suppress any memory of these places as Ukrainian outposts, in many cases forcibly reidentifying ethnic Ukrainians as Russians, which in the case of the Zelyony klin reduced the share of Ukrainians in the population from 83 percent in the early 1920s to three percent now.

            But a certain historical memory continues, and it has now surfaced in an unusual way.  A teacher in Russian School No. 30 in the city of Ussurisk in Primorsky kray presented her students with an award showing the Ukrainian coat of arms and flag ( and

            The teacher made this “mistake,” the After Empire portal says, when she sought the symbols on the Internet.  But given Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, this was no laughing matter for local officials who viewed it as anything but funny that a teacher should give students a certificate “with ‘a fascist-Banderite’ Trident” (

            “In fact, of course, there wasn’t any mistake,” the portal continues. “For as is well-known a century ago, Ukrainians formed a majority of the population of the Far East and during the years of the Civil War, they even attempted to create [in that region] their own Zelyony Klin Republic.”

            That is something that clearly not everyone there has forgotten.

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