Monday, June 10, 2024

Kyiv Must Devote More Attention to Ukrainian Factor inside Russia,’ Leader of Kuban's Crimson Wedge Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 6 – Yevgeny Bursanidi, the émigré leader of the movement for the independence of Kuban from Moscow, says that “the Ukrainian authorities are making a big mistake by underrating the Ukrainian factor in Russia” and especially the regions like his own in which Ukrainians formed a significant part of the population in the past.

            Besides his own Crimson Wedge in the Kuban, he notes, there is the Gray Wedge in southwestern Siberia, the Green Wedge in the Far East, the Yellow Wedge in the Lower Volga, and the Blue Wedge along the border between Russia and Kazakhstan as well as other centers of Ukrainian life outside these regions (

            For his activism, Bursanidi was forced to flee his homeland to Greece a decade ago; but last month, Moscow stepped up its persecution of him by declaring him an extremist and putting him on its most wanted list, a sign his message is getting through (

            Asked about how much support there is in the Kuban for the region’s independence, the activist acknowledges that Moscow’s efforts to dilute the ethnic Ukrainian population and transform everyone there and elsewhere into a mankurt have largely succeeded and that today only a small share of the Kuban’s population supports independence.

            “But this does not mean one must accept the opinion of the unthinking majority, he continues. Instead, they need to be provided with the kind of evidence of what Moscow has done to them and what independence can offer by talking with them. Ukraine has taken some steps in this direction but not nearly enough, Bursanidi says.

            Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelensky, for example, has included the Kuban in his list of “territories historically populated by ethnic Ukrainians (, and activists have circulated petitions.

            “It is important,” Bursanidi says, “to intensify work to pull all those with Ukrainian roots out of the camp of darkness and get them to support freedom, independence, and the fight against the empire.” Once this happens, the disintegration of the empire will take place remarkably “quickly.”

            At the same time, he continues, it is important to recognize that these Ukrainian regions won’t become part of Ukraine. They will instead be independent and likely follow the formula that Ankara and Baku have proclaimed for their peoples, “one nation in two states,” and have close but separate statehoods.

            At the end of the 19th century, he notes, Ukrainians outnumbered Russians in the Kuban; but now, they officially form only a small minority there because so many have been led to reidentify as Russians by officials who openly discriminate against the Ukrainians. Once these people recognize what has happened, they will return to the fold.

            For background on the Crimson and other Ukrainian wedges inside Russia and Moscow’s hostility to them, see,, and  

No comments:

Post a Comment