Language is important to any nation. To it's identify. To it's people. The bulk of podcasts today are in the English language globally. Spoken word is what makes podcasts what they are. But what if another country completely wanted to eradicate the English language in terms of spoken, written, culture, and history?
Well that's exactly what's been happening to the Ukrainian language for hundreds of years. A full on attack but it's still standing. So the irony of Vladimir Putin stating that Russian speakers and the Russian language are being attacked in Ukraine is sadly comical.
I have heard and read a few people say that "most people in Ukraine speak Russian anyway".
Yes, they do. Here is why.
- 1720 – Peter I's decree banning printing in the Ukrainian language and the seizure of Ukrainian church books.
- 1729 – Peter II ordered all government decrees and orders written in Ukrainian to be rewritten in Russian.
- 1763 – Catherine II banned teaching in Ukrainian at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
- 1764 – Catherine II ordered the Russifcation of Ukraine.
- 1769 – The Russian Orthodox Church order the confiscation of Ukrainian primers and church books.
- 1775 – The destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich and closing of Ukrainian schools at the offices of the Cossack regiment.
- 1789 – The Polish Sejm Commission on Education ordered the closure of all Ukrainian schools.
- 1804 – according to a special royal decree in the Russian empire, all Ukrainian-language schools were banned, which led to the complete degradation of the Ukrainian population.
- 1832 – Reorganization of education in Ukraine transformed all teaching into Russian language
- 1847 – Increased persecution of the Ukrainian language and culture, the prohibition of the best works of Taras Shevchenko, Panteleimon Kulish, Mykola Kostomarov among others.
- 1859 – Ministry of Religion and Science of Austria-Hungary attempts to replace Ukrainian Cyrillic alphabet with Latin in Eastern Galicia and Bukovyna.
- 1862 – Closing of Ukrainian Sunday schools for adults in the Russian part of Ukraine.
- 1863 – Valuev Circular – a secret decree that prohibited censors from giving permission to the publication of Ukrainian spiritual and popular educational literature. It referred to Ukrainian as "a separate Little Russian language [that] never existed, does not exist, and shall not exist, and their [Little Russians] tongue used by commoners is nothing but Russian corrupted by the influence of Poland".
- 1864 – Adoption of a Charter which stated primary school education was to be conducted only in Russian.
- 1869 – Introduction of the Polish language as the official language of education and of the administration of Polish Eastern Galicia.
- 1870 – Minister of Education of Russia states that "the ultimate goal of education for all inorodtsy (non-Russians, literally "people of other descent"), is unarguably their Russification
- 1876 - Alexander II’s decree banning the printing and import from abroad of any Ukrainian literature, and to ban Ukrainian stage performances and Ukrainian lyrics in music scores and folk songs.
- 1881 – Prohibition of teaching in the public schools and conducting church sermons in Ukrainian.
- 1884 – The ban by Alexander III of Ukrainian theater in all the provinces of “Little Russia”.
- 1888 – A decree by Alexander III banned the use of the Ukrainian language in official institutions and of Ukrainian given names.
- 1892 – Prohibition to translate books from Russian into Ukrainian.
- 1895 – Prohibition by the Main Administration of Printing to
- publish Ukrainian-language children's books.
- 1914, 1916 – Russification campaign in western Ukraine, the prohibition of the Ukrainian word, education, church.
Then, believe it or not, things did not get better under Stalin's rule.
Where some where between 4 and 7 million Ukrainian's were starved to death in an attempted genocide. That is a lot of Ukrainian speakers that could no longer pass on their language and culture.
This is by no means a complete history of the Russification of Ukraine. Russia has been destroying the Ukrainian language and culture for over 350 years.
So yes, a lot of Ukraine speak Russian. But not by choice.