An ethnic Greek, native of Donbass now living in France, offers a word of clarification


A brief essay by Yelena Delville

February 23, 2015

Translated from French by Tom Winter

I have had more than enough of hearing the term “pro-Russian” that the media use to designate those who have risen up against the Kiev junta (I ought to actually say against the Galician junta installed at Kiev). The word “Russian” [“russe”] that we use in the French language expresses two very different concepts. The word “Russkii” denotatively pertains to Russian ethnicity and/or culture, — and the word Rossiiskii pertains to the geographic zone, i.e., relating to a part of the country which is the Russian Federation.

Before 1991 a large part of the population of Ukraine, a Soviet Republic formed out of pieces, was “Soviet Russia”. To illustrate — the IDs of people in the Soviet Union included two concepts: “nationality”, which signified ethnic origin, and “citizenship” belonging to the country that was the USSR. So in Ukraine there were soviet Ukrainians, soviet Russians, and there also was a big diaspora of soviet Greeks, particularly in the south part of the Donbass. (In fact, the city of Mariupol was founded by their Greek ancestors in 1780, in the reign of Catherine the Great) and soviet Germans, soviet Tartars, soviet Georgians, even soviet Koreans! . . .  and the list is long. And then one day, all this little microcosm of the wide world went to bed soviet, and woke up … Ukrainian, without anyone asking…. 

But they did it saying that Ukraine was the sister of Russia and of Belorussia, and that the ties of blood were sacred and ineradicable (in the Russian world you never get mad to the death with family members — it is simply inconceivable); they did it saying that moving out of the common house and taking another apartment, getting out on one’s own, would never end up in profound discord. But they were wrong! Because the patch, the “daughter-in-law” who had already shown herself less than loyal, this time had a downright Machiavellian plan — she wanted to sever Ukraine from her family for good, using the kids in whom she had inculcated quite different values and in particular, a history with different heroes…. She even went prostituting herself to achieve these aims. There’s a Russian saying “It’s the one who pays, that orders the music” [essentially equal to “Who pays the piper calls the tune], [and they’ve called up] the “music” of terror, and prisons, and bombs, and genocide for the ones less willing to go along.

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