Debunking Russian Propaganda: Ukrainian Language – Dialect of Russian

The Ukrainian language is a dialect of Russian, spoken only in Western Ukraine. This is just one of the many hoaxes spread by Russia’s imperialist policy. Our correspondent Natalia Chekotun tried to debunk five known propaganda myths about the Ukrainian language…

Ukrainian is an artificial language created in the 18th century by nobleman Ivan Kotliarevsky.

To debunk this myth, we came to the golden-decked 11th-century St. Sophia Cathedral. Medieval inscriptions have been preserved in its interior walls to this day.

“It is a 12th-century graffiti. There is an assumption that it was written by Kyivan Prince Volodymyr Monomakh. It says: ‘Lord, help your slave Volodymyr’. Not ‘Vladimir’ as it is used in Russian. Over 7 thousand graffiti that date back from the 11th to early 18th century have been preserved till this day. Thanks to these inscriptions we can learn how the Ukrainian language developed,” Vitalii Korniienko said

Ukrainian is a dialect of Russian. That is why the two languages have a lot in common.

In fact, the Ukrainian language is closer to Belarusian, Czech, Slovakian and Polish, than to Russian. Let’s compare:

“Red” in Russian is “красный,” while in Ukrainian it is “червоний,” in Belorussian — “чырвоны,” and in Polish — “czerwony.”

“Ukrainian has the biggest number of lexical similarities with Belarusian, that is 84%; with Slovakian 72%, Polish 70%. And with Russian only 62%. This means, if we take a sentence consisting of 10 words, only 6 of them will be similar in Ukrainian and Russian; in Slovakian, Polish and Ukrainian — 7 words, and in Belarusian and Ukrainian — from 8 to 9,” Ukrainian linguist Oleksandr Avramenko said.

The eastern regions of Ukraine were always Russian-speaking.

In fact, modern-day Donbas was Ukrainian since the Cossack era. However, time passes. After committing the Holodomor, the Soviet authorities decided to settle Russians in the eastern regions of Ukraine. Regulation of the Council of USSR People’s Commissars from October 25, 1933, says that 21,000 Russian families were to be settled in these areas.

“The Holodomor, or the man-made famine, in particular, killed millions of Ukrainians who lived in modern Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk Regions. In fact, it lead to a devastating result for Ukrainian ethnicity. That is why the territory was later settled by people both from Ukraine and remote parts of Russia. Thus, the language transformations occurred after the Holodomor,” Director of the Institute of Ukrainian Language Pavlo Hrytsenko said.

Ukrainian is widely spoken only in the western regions of the country, mainly in rural areas.

Polls conducted by the Razumkov Center in 2017 — say that 68 percent of Ukrainians consider Ukrainian to be their native language. Only 14 percent say that their mother tongue is Russian, while 17 percent consider themselves to be native speakers of both Ukrainian and Russian.

It is true that Ukrainian is the most widely spoken in the Western Regions, as there it is used by 93 percent of respondents.

In Central Ukraine — by 84 percent.

“When these events began in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, many people reoriented themselves and began to speak Ukrainian. It was the instinct of preservation of their national identity, so to say. They think: “Ah, you act like this! Then I will defend my Ukrainian traits,” Avramenko said.

According to the newly adopted Language Law, Russian speakers will be detained by language inspectors, those who don’t know Ukrainian will face criminal liability.

“There is no criminal liability at all in the law, there is only administrative liability. You might pay a fine, for example. When you provide some services to people, especially commercial services, of course, you are required at least to know, understand the Ukrainian language. And to respond to people in this language as well,” Member of an expert group on language policy, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers Maksym Kobolyev said.

In fact, the Law doesn’t introduce any changes to the Criminal Code. That is why it doesn’t foresee any punishment for not knowing Ukrainian.

The article on Language Inspection, in turn, was taken out of the Law to avoid any speculation.