Friday, July 7, 2023

Moscow Claims to Be Saving Ukrainian from Polonization But is Actually Seeking to Destroy that Language

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 4 – The Russian education ministry has prepared a Ukrainian language textbook for use in Russian occupied portions of Ukraine and among Ukrainians inside the Russian Federation. It claims that it is doing so to save Ukrainian from polonization, but in fact, it appears to directed against the survival of Ukrainian as such.

            Last month, Sergey Kravtsov, the education minister of the Russian Federation, announced that Moscow had completed the preparation of textbooks for instruction in the Ukrainian language, textbooks that he said showed Moscow’s solicitousness to that tongue (

            According to him, these textbooks are based on Ukrainian as spoken in Soviet times when the official version of the language was drawn from eastern Ukraine where there was a strong admixture of Russian (

            Kravtsov says that the Moscow textbooks protect Ukrainian from the polonization that he says has happened since 1991 when Kyiv has used the language of western Ukraine as the model and will help Ukrainians recover the language their ancestors spoke as well as making it easier for them to learn Russian.

            But it is obvious that the Russian authorities are more concerned about the second task than the first and that this act of “solicitousness” is in fact yet another attack by the Russian side on the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian identity, especially since he and others say few Ukrainians in the Russian Federation have any interest in continuing to use Ukrainian.

            If Putin and Moscow have their way, that lack of interest will extend into Ukraine itself on the backs of Russian military force.


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