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By Henri Firket

Do we really want a remake?

Crimia Crisis

The problem of languages used in Ukraine is complex. What information I have, dating from years before the present conflict, can be considered as more reliable than those presently put forward. A large part of the Ukrainian population in the cities, non only in the East of the country, but also in other major towns, including  Kiev, do live everyday in Russian, though saying they feel themselves as Ukrainians. Just as about 40% of Belgians speak only French in their daily life, though describing themselves not as Frenchmen, but Belgians. Some people see  the Ukrainian language as a Russian type of dialect, influenced by Polish, the Bielorussian dialect and the old Slavonic language used by the church. It is only in rural areas in the West that Ukrainian is regularly spoken, together with  several Polish or Galician dialects.  To approve the stand of Maidan Place demonstrators, or the abolition of Russian as an official second language of the country, by the local kiev Parliament, are sure to increase tensions uselessly. It is quite understandable that Russians, and not only Putin, want to support the russophone minorities, present there for generations.

The problem in Crimea is still more complex, due to centuries of migrations. The original tatar  muslims recognizing the overlordship of the Ottoman ruler were conquered by Katherine II in the XVIIIth century. Years later, the building of  the naval base of Sebastopol and of numerous bourgeois sea resorts (Yalta and others) increased considerably the russianized character of the population. The expulsion of most Tatars in 1945 on the pretext they had all collaborated during the Nazi occupation - Soviets tended to have a heavy hand - and their partial return later, did not settle matters easily.  Anyway, in Crimea, there is at present a clear Russian majority who would prefer to live under the  Russian flag.

Military noises from NATO and the Western countries, remind us of similar gestures exactly one hundred years ago, prelude to the worst massacres ever conceived by humans, that were duplicated again after a 20 years interval. After more than 100 millions deaths, ended only by the two « Japanese » atomic bombs, killing  225.000 persons, essentially civilians, most of them being burned alive.

Do we really want a remake ?

Translation of a letter sent to LE SOIR, a serious Belgian daily, usually liberal in outlook. This letter was ignores by the newspaper.

H. Firket




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