Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Tradition of Ukrainian and Cossack Independence Lives On in the Kuban, Ukrainians and Cossacks Remind Moscow

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 11 – While Moscow’s insistence that part or all of Ukrainian territory is properly Russian has attracted international attention, far fewer have noticed that much of current Russian territory has close ties with Ukraine and perhaps even a stronger claim to be linked to Ukraine.

            Since the Russian Anschluss of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014, Ukrainian authors have spoken frequently about this, focusing most of their attention on the so-called Ukrainian “wedges” spread across what is now the Russian Federation. (On this, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/06/window-on-eurasia-zelenyi-klin-isnt.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/06/historical-memory-of-ukrainian-wedge-in.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/kyiv-takes-up-cause-of-ukrainian-far.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/when-russia-falls-apart-kyiv-must-be.html.)

            They have also focused on the Kuban, a region whose population was long dominated by Cossacks from Ukraine and where as Ukrainian sources point out, Ukrainian “cultural traditions” have been preserved until now (babel.ua/ru/texts/76760-104-goda-nazad-kubanskaya-narodnaya-respublika-obyavila-o-nezavisimosti-ot-rossii-i-neskolko-raz-pytalas-obedinitsya-s-ukrainoy-v-itoge-vseh-zahvatili-bolsheviki-istoriya-v-arhivnyh-foto).

            For background on the Ukrainianness of the Kuban, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/09/window-on-eurasia-ukrainians-in-kyiv.html,  windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/04/ukrainian-was-official-language-and.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/02/another-sub-ethos-emerges-within.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/06/window-on-eurasia-kuban-cossack-youth.html.)

            And for background on Russian concerns about this and Moscow’s opposition to any discussion of it, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/05/kuban-might-pursue-independence-but.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/09/window-on-eurasia-russians-deny.html).

            Now, with the war against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this issue has spread to social media and the Internet, something that at a minimum will spark anger in Moscow but force the Russian authorities to consider the possibility that they may face yet another front against them (youtube.com/watch?v=HK86xt6Hp0g and various posts at twitter.com/kuban_republic).

            And what Moscow is likely to find especially alarming is that in the Kuban, Ukrainians are linking up with independent-minded Cossacks, many of whom have their origins in Ukraine but who have even broader aspirations as far as their own future is concerned. (On that, see jamestown.org/program/cossackia-no-longer-an-impossible-dream/.)

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