Russians in Ukraine

Russians in Ukraine

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Russians in Ukraine

caption = S. KorolyovI. SikorskyN. Pirogov
S. Prokofiev • M. Bulgakov • I. Mechnikov
poptime = In the 2001 Ukrainian census, 8,334,100 identified themselves as ethnic Russians.cite web|url= |title= Results / General results of the census / National composition of population |accessdate= |accessmonthday=May 20 |accessyear=2007 |work=2001 Ukrainian Census |language=English] 17.3% of the population of Ukraine
popplace = The historical region of Novorossiya (Donbass, Crimea)
langs = Russian language
rels= Predominantly Russian Orthodox. Some are Old Believers (a relatively small group of Orthodox Christians). Small minority are Protestants. Many consider themselves Agnostics or Atheists.
related =

Russians in Ukraine form the largest minority in the country, and the community forms the largest single Russian diaspora in the world. In the 2001 Ukrainian census, 8,334,100 identified themselves as ethnic Russians (17.3% of the total population).cite web|url= |title= Results / General results of the census / National composition of population |accessdate= |accessmonthday=May 20 |accessyear=2007 |work=2001 Ukrainian Census |language=English]


The ethnic Russian population is significant throughout Ukraine ranging from merely a notable fraction of an overall population in the west, to a significant minority in the center and growing in number even further to the east and south.

In the west and the center of the country, the percentage of the Russian population is higher in the cities and industrial centers and much less in the overwhelmingly Ukrainophone rural areas. Due to the traditionally high presence of the Russians in the cities, as well as for the historic reasons, most of the large cities in the center and the south-east of the country (including Kiev where Russians amount to 13.1 % of the population) remain largely Russophone to this day.

The traditionally mixed Russo-Ukrainian populated territories are mainly the historic Novorossiya ("New Russia") and Slobozhanshchina ("Sloboda Ukraine") that are now both split between modern Russia and Ukraine. Russians also constitute the majority of the population of the Crimea, the peninsula now in the very south of Ukraine that was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 by the decision of the Soviet government.

Historic Background

Early history: Early settlement and Novorossiya

The early Russian ethnic group, the Goriuns resided in Putivl (Putyvl) region (what is modern northern Ukraine) from the medieval times.F.D. Klimchuk, About ethnoliguistic history of Left Bank of Dnieper (in connection to the ethnogenesis of Goriuns). Published in "Goriuns: history, language, culture" Proceedings of International scientific conference, (Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, February 13, 2004)] [ Russians in Ukraine] , Congress of National Communities of Ukraine] The first new waves of Russian settlers onto Ukrainian territory came in the late 16th century to the empty lands of Slobozhanschyna, in what is now northeastern Ukraine, that the Russian state gained from the Tatars, [ Russians in Ukraine] ] although they were outnumbered by Ukrainian peasants escaping harsh exploitative conditions from the west. Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Slobidska Ukraina [ Retrieved] December 14, 2007] In 1599 Tsar Boris Godunov ordered the construction of Tsareborisov on the banks of Oskol River, the first city and the first fortress in Eastern Ukraine. To defend the territory from Tatar raids the Russians built the Belgorod defensive line (1635-1658), and Ukrainians started fleeing to be under its defense.

More Russian speakers appeared in northern, central and eastern Ukrainian territories during the late 17th century, following the Cossack Rebellion led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The Uprising led to a massive movement of Ukrainian settlers to the Slobozhanschyna region, which converted it from a sparsely inhabited frontier area to one of the major populated regions of the Tsardom of Russia. Following the Pereyaslav Rada the modern northern and eastern parts of Ukraine entered into the Tsardom of Russia. This brought the first significant, but still small, wave of Russian settlers into central Ukraine (primarily several thousand soldiers stationed in garrisons, out of a population of approximately 1.2 million non-Russians).

At the end of the 18th century, the Russian Empire captured large uninhabited steppe territories from the former Crimean Khanate. The systematic colonization of lands in what became known as Novorossiya (mainly Crimea, Taurida and around Odessa) began. Migrants from many ethnic groups (predominantly Ukrainians and Russians from Russia proper) came to this area. [V.M. Kabuzan: The settlement of Novorossiya (Yekaterinoslav and Taurida guberniyas) in 18th-19th centuries. Published by "Nauka", Moscow, 1976. Available on-line at Dnipropetervosk Olbast Universal Science Library, [ Retrieved] 15 November, 2007 ] At the same time the discovery of coal in the Donets Basin also marked the commencement of a large-scale industrialization and an influx of workers from other parts of the Russian Empire.

Nearly all of the major cities of the southern and eastern Ukraine were established in this period: Aleksandrovsk (now Zaporizhia; 1770), Yekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk; 1776), Kherson and Mariupol (1778), Sevastopol (1783), Simferopol and Novoaleksandrovka (Melitopol) (1784), Nikolayev (Mykolaiv; 1789), Odessa (1794), Lugansk (Luhansk; foundation of Luhansk plant in 1795).

Both Russians and Ukrainians made the bulk of the migrants — 31.8% and 42.0 % respectively.Fact|date=June 2007 The population of Novorossiya eventually became intermixed. and with the Russification being the state policy, the Russian identity dominated in mixed families and communities. The Russian Empire officially regarded Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians as Little, Great and White Russians, which, according to the theory officially accepted in the Imperial Russia, belonged to a single Russian nation, the descendants of the people of the Rus'.Fact|date=November 2007

In the beginning of the 20th century the Russians were the largest ethnic group in the following cities: Kiev (54,2 %), Kharkov (63,1 %), Odessa (49,09 %), Nikolaev (66,33 %), Mariupol (63,22 %), Lugansk (68,16 %), Berdiansk (66,05 %), Kherson (47,21 %), Melitopol (42,8 %), Yekaterinoslav (41,78 %), Yelisavetgrad (34,64 %), Pavlograd (34,36 %), Simferopol (45,64 %), Feodosiya (46,84 %), Yalta (66,17 %), Kerch (57,8 %), Sevastopol (63,46 %), Cuguev (86 %).Дністрянський М.С. Етнополітична географія України. Лівів. Літопис, видавництво ЛНУ імені Івана Франка, 2006, page 342 isbn = 966-700760-4]

October Revolution and Ukrainian SSR

Ukraine was a battleground during the Russian Civil War (1918-1922). Although macroscopically Ukraine was fought over by several powers: Austro-Hungary, Germany, Poland, Romania; Ukrainian People's Republic, the Anarchist Black Army as well as the Red Army and the White Army, the population of New Russia by large allied themselves only with the latter three.Fact|date=May 2007 A large portion of men that made up the armies of Denikin and Wrangel came from New Russian volunteers (see Volunteer Army.)Fact|date=May 2007 Nevertheless, most of the people in New Russia supported the Red Army and a big part supported the Black Army, because most of the residents of the area being peasants and workers, classes that opposed to the Tsar's regime.

The first Russian Empire Census, conducted in 1897, showed extensive usage (and in some cases dominance) of the Little Russian, a contemporary term of the Ukrainian language, [ 1897 Census on [ Retrieved] on 20th May 2007.] in the nine south-western Governorates and the Kuban. Thus, when the Central Rada officials were outlining the future borders of the new Ukrainian state they took the results of the census in regards to the language and religion as determining factors. The ethnographic borders of Ukraine thus turned out to be almost twice as large as the original Cossack Hetmanate incorporated into Russia in the 17th century. [Stanislav Kulchitsky, "Imperiya i my", "Den", Vol. 9, 26 Jan. 2006. [ Retrieved] on 12 December 2007.]

The October Revolution also found its echo amongst the extensive working class and several Soviet Republics were formed by Bolsheviks of Ukraine: Ukrainian People's Socialist Republic, Soviet Socialist Republic of Taurida, Odessa Soviet Republic and the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic.

The Russian SFSR government supported the military intervention against the Ukrainian People's Republic, which at different periods controlled most of the territory of present-day Ukraine with the exception of Crimea and Western Ukraine. Although there were differences between Ukrainian Bolsheviks initially, [Valeriy Soldatenko, "Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic — illusions and practicals of nihilism", "Zerkalo Nedeli", December 4 - 10, 2004. [ In Russian] , [ in Ukrainian] .] which resulted in proclamation of several Soviet Republics in 1917, later, due in large part to pressure from Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders, one Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed. The Ukrainian SSR was "de jure" a separate state until the formation of the USSR in 1922 and survived until the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Lenin insisted that ignoring the national question in Ukraine would endanger the support of the Revolution among Ukrainian population and thus new borders of the Soviet Ukraine were established to the extent that the Ukrainian People's Republic was claiming in 1918. The new borders completely included Novorossiya (including the short-lived Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic) and other neighboring provinces, which contained substantial number of ethnic Russians.

Early Soviet times

In his 1923 speech devoted to the national and ethnic issues in the party and state affairs, Stalin identified several obstacles in implementing the national program of the party. Those were the "dominant-nation chauvinism", "economic and cultural inequality" of the nationalities and the "survivals of nationalism among a number of nations which have borne the heavy yoke of national oppression". [ "National Factors in Party and State Affairs -- Theses for the Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), Approved by the Central Committee of the Party". [ URL] ]

In Ukraine's case, both threats came, respectfully, from the south and the east, Novorossiya with historically strong Russian cultural influence, and the traditional Ukrainian centre and west. These considerations brought about a policy of Ukrainization, to simultaneously break the remains of the Great Russian attitude and to gain popularity among the Ukrainian population, thus recognizing their dominance of the republic. [For more information, see ]

Ukrainian language was mandatory for most jobs, and its teaching became compulsory in every school.

By the early-1930s attitudes towards the policy of Ukrainization had changed within the Soviet leadership. In 1933 when Stalin declared that local nationalism was the main threat to Soviet unity. Consequently, a lot of changes introduced during the Ukrainization period were reversed, Russian language schools, libraries and newspapers were restored and even increased in number. Changes were brought territorially as well, forcing the Ukrainian SSR to cede some territories to the RSFSR. During this period parents in the Ukrainian SSR could choose to send their children whose native language was not Ukrainian to schools with Russian as the primary language of instruction.

Latter Soviet times

The territory of Ukraine was a battlefield during the World War II, and its population, including Russians, significantly decreased. The infrastructure was heavily damaged and it required human and capital resources to be rebuilt. This compounded with depopulation caused by two famines of 1931-1932 and a third in 1947 to leave the territory with a greatly reduced population. A large portion of the wave of new migrants to industrialize, integrate and Sovietize the recently acquired western Ukrainian territories were ethnic Russians who mostly settled around industrial centers and military garrisons.Терлюк І.Я. Росіяни західних областей України (1944—1996 р.р.) (Етносоціологічне дослідження). — Львів: Центр Європи, 1997.- С.25.] This increased the proportion of the Russian speaking population.

Near the end of the War, the entire population of Crimean Tatars (numbering up to a quarter of a million) was expelled from their homeland in Crimea to Central Asia, under accusations of collaborations with Germans. [J. Otto Pohl, "The Stalinist Penal System: A Statistical History of Soviet Repression and Terror, 1930-1953", "McFarland", 1997, ISBN 0786403365, [ Selected pages] ] [J. Otto Pohl, "Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949, "Greenwood", 1999, ISBN 0313309213, [ Selected pages] ] The Crimea was repopulated by the new wave of Russian and Ukrainian settlers and the Russian proportion of the population of Crimea went up significantly (from 47.7% in 1937 to 61.6% in 1993) and the Ukrainian proportion doubled (12.8% in 1937 and 23.6% in 1993). [Directory of resources on minority human rights and related problems of the transition period in Eastern and Central Europe. Demographic Balance and Migration Processes in Crimea. [ Retrieved] June 3, 2007 ]

The Ukrainian language remained a mandatory subject of study in all Russian schools, but in many government offices preference was given to the Russian language that gave an additional impetus to the advancement of Russification. The 1979 census showed that only one third of ethnic Russians spoke the Ukrainian language fluently.

In 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued the decree on the transfer of the Crimean Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR. This action increased the ethnic Russian population of Ukraine by almost a million people. Many Russian politicians considered the transfer to be controversial. [Our Security Predicament, Vladimir P. Lukin, Foreign Policy, No. 88 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 57-75] Controversies and legality of the transfer remained a sore point in relations between Ukraine and Russia for a few years, and in particular in the internal politics in Crimea. However, in a 1997 treaty between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, Russia recognized Ukraine's borders, and accepted Ukraine's sovereignty over Crimea.Ukraine: A History. Subtelny, Orest University of Toronto Press 2000, ISBN 0-8020-8390-0, 600]

Ukraine after the dissolution of the Soviet Union

"See also: Anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine".

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union Ukraine became an independent state. The independence was supported by the referendum in all regions of Ukrainian SSR, including in those featuring large Russian populations.Fact|date=November 2007

The return of Crimean Tatars has resulted in several high-profile clashes over land ownership and employment rights. [cite web|url= |title=Tatars push to regain their historic lands in Crimea |accessdate= | accessmonthday=March 31 |accessyear=2007 |date= |year=2006 |month=March 31 |work=Today's Zaman |language=English ]

Presently many ethnic Russians in Ukraine feel pressured [ Большинство украинцев говорят на русском языке] , "Podrobnosti", December 04, 2006.] [ Украинцы лучше владеют русским языком, чем украинским: соцопрос] , "REGNUM", December 04, 2006] by the new Ukrainization effort. Much controversy has surrounded the reduction of schools with Russian language of instruction. In 1989 there were 4633 of them, and by 2001 this fell to 2001 schools or 11.8% of the total in the country. [ A.Dokurcheva, E.Roberova, The use of Russian language in education in CIS and the Baltics, [ Retrieved on 12th December 2007] ] A significant number of Russian schools were converted into mixed schools in which there are classes with both Russian and Ukrainian as the language of education. By 2007, 20% of pupils in public schools studied in Russian classes. [ [ Как соблюдается в Украине языковая Хартия?] ] Some regions such as Rivne Oblast have no Russian schools left, but only Russian classes in the mixed Russian-Ukrainian schools. [В. В. Дубичинский, "Двуязычие в Украине?", "Культура народов Причерноморья" №60, Т.3, 6 - 9, ( [ pdf] )] As of May, 2007, only seven schools with Russian as the language of instruction are left in Kiev, with 17 more mixed language schools totaling 8,000 pupils, [ Шестая часть киевских школьников изучает русский язык] , "", May 29, 2007] with the rest of the pupils attending the schools with Ukrainian being the only language of instruction. Among the latter pupils, 45,700 (or 18% of the total) study the Russian language as a separate subject in the largely Russophone Ukrainian capital,In the 2003 sociological survey in Kiev the answers to the question 'What language do you use in everyday life?' were distributed as follows: 'mostly Russian': 52%, 'both Russian and Ukrainian in equal measure': 32%, 'mostly Ukrainian': 14%, 'exclusively Ukrainian': 4.3%.
cite news|first= |last= |author= |url=|title=What language is spoken in Ukraine?|work= |publisher=Welcome to Ukraine|pages= |page= |date= 2003/2|accessdate= .] [According to a 2006 survey, Ukrainian is used at home by 23% of Kievans, as 52% use Russian and 24% switch between both.
"Kiev: the city, its residents, problems of today, wishes for tomorrow.", "Zerkalo Nedeli", April 29 - May 12, 2006. [ in Russian] , [ in Ukrainian]
] while estimated over 70 percent of Ukraine's population nationwide consider that Russian must be taught at secondary schools along with Ukrainian.

According to 2006 survey by Research & Branding Group (Donetsk) 39% of Ukrainian citizens think that the rights of the Russophones are violated because the Russian language is not official in the country, whereas 38% of the citizens have the opposite position. According to annual surveys by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences 43.9% to 52.0% of the total population of Ukraine supports the idea of granting the status of state language to Russian language.Natalia Panina, "Ukrainian Society 1994-2005: Sociological Monitoring", "Sophia", Kiev, 2005, ISBN 966-8075-61-7, ( [ pdf] ), p. 58] At the same time, this is not viewed as an important issue by most Ukraine's citizens. On a cross-national survey involving ranking the 30 important political issues, the legal status of the Russian language was ranked 26th, with only 8% of respondents (concentrated primarily in Crimea and Donetsk) feeling that this was an important issue. [Громадський рух — Не будь байдужим. [ Ще не вмерла Україна ... круглий стіл.] ]

In total, according to 2007 country-wide survey by the Institute of Sociology only 0.5 % of the respondents describe as belonging to a group that faces discrimination by language.Evhen Golovakha, Andriy Gorbachyk, Natalia Panina, "Ukraine and Europe: Outcomes of International Comparative Sociological Survey", Kiev, Institute of Sociology of NAS of Ukraine, 2007, ISBN 978-966-02-4352-1, pp. 133-135 in Section: "9. Social discrimination and migration" ( [ pdf] )]

According to the Institute of Sociology surveys conducted yearly between 1995 and 2005, the percentage of respondents who have encountered cases of ethnic-based discrimination against Russians during the preceding year has consistently been low (mostly in single digits), with no noticeable difference when compared with the number of incidents directed against any other nation, including the Ukrainians and the Jews.See Panina, p. 48] According to the 2007 Comparative Survey of Ukraine and Europe only 0.1% of Ukrainian residents consider themselves belonging to a group which is discriminated by nationality. [ Ukraine and Europe: Outcomes of International Comparative Sociological Survey.] Question Q17: On what grounds is your group discriminated against? (page 156)]

Similarly, the surveys indicate that Russians are not socially distanced in Ukraine. The indicator of the willingness of Ukraine's residents to participate in social contacts of varying degrees of closeness with different ethnic groups (the Bogardus Social Distance Scale) calculated based on the yearly sociological surveys has been consistently showing that Russians are, on the average, least socially distanced within Ukraine except the Ukrainians themselves.Panina, pp. 49-57] The same survey has shown that, in fact, that Ukrainian people are slightly more comfortable accepting Russians into their families than they are accepting Ukrainians living abroad. Such social attitude correlates with the political one as the surveys taken yearly between 1997 and 2005 consistently indicated that the attitude to the idea of Ukraine joining the union of Russia and Belarus is more positive (slightly over 50%) then negative (slightly under 30%).Panina, p. 29]

While there are concerns over the status of the Russian language in the country, the language continues to dominate in several regions and in nation's business, in leading Ukrainian magazines and other printed media. cite web|url=|title=TOLERANCE REDUCES NEED FOR RUSSIAN LANGUAGE LAW IN UKRAINE|accessmonthday=July 5 |accessyear=2007 |work=Eurasia today |language=English] Russian language in Ukraine still dominates the everyday life in many areas of the country, the local media and press in the East and South, internet, book printing and most of leading national newspapers.



According to 2001 census the Russians are the largest ethnic group in Sevastopol (71.7%) and Autonomous republic of Crimea (58%), and also in some cities and raions: Donetsk (48.2%), Makiyivka (50.8%, Donetsk Oblast), Ternivka (52.9%, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast), Krasnodon (63.3%), Sverdlovsk (58.7%), Stakhanov (50.1%) Krasnodonskyi (51.7%) and Stanychno-Luhanskyi (61.1%) raions of Luhansk Oblast, Izmail (43.7%, Odessa oblast), Putyvlskyi Raion (51.6%, Sumy Oblast).

In general the population of ethnic Russians in Ukraine has shown a systematic decrease in all regions, both quantitatively and proportionally since 1989. Several factors have affected this - most Russians lived in urban centres in Soviet times and thus were hit the hardest by the economic hardships of the 1990s. Some chose to emigrate from Ukraine to (mostly) Russia or to the West. Finally some of those who were counted as Russians in Soviet times declared themselves Ukrainian during the last census. [The Ukrainian Weekly. Oleh Wolowyna. 2001 Census results reveal information on nationalities and language in Ukraine [ Retrieved] on May 30, 2007]

The Russian population was also hit by the factors that affected all the population of Ukraine, such as low birth rate and high death rate. [ [ Рождаемость в Украине самая низкая в Европе] ,, April 16-29, 2007 ru icon]

2001 census showed that 95.9% of Russians in Ukraine consider the Russian language to be native for them, 3.9% named the Ukrainian to be their native language.Дністрянський М.С. Етнополітична географія України. Лівів, Літопис, видавництво ЛНУ імені Івана Франка, 2006, page 261 isbn = 966-700760-4] The majority, 59.6%Дністрянський М.С. Етнополітична географія України. Лівів, Літопис, видавництво ЛНУ імені Івана Франка, 2006, page 259 isbn = 966-700760-4] of Ukrainian Russians were born in Ukraine. They constitute 22.4% of all urban population and 6.9 % of rural population in the country. Women make up 55.1 % of Russians, men are 44.9%. The average age of Russians in Ukraine is 41.9 years. The imbalance in sexual and age structure intensifies in western and central regions. In these regions the Russians are concentrated in the industrial centers, particularly the centers of oblasts.


The majority of the Russians are Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Faith and predominantly belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,fact|date=December 2007 a former Ukrainian exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which received an ecclesiastical Autonomy from the latter on October 27, 1990. [ Определение Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви 25 - 27 октября 1990 года об Украинской Православной Церкви] ]

There are small minorities of Old Believers, notably Lipovans, as well as Protestants among Russians. In addition, there is a sizable portion of those who consider themselves Atheists.Fact|date=November 2007


In several of Ukraine's elections, political parties that call for closer ties with Russia received higher percentage of votes in the areas, where Russian-speaking population predominate. Such parties like the Party of Regions, Communist Party of Ukraine and the Progressive Socialist Party are particularly popular in Crimea, Southern and Southeastern regions of Ukraine.

An analysis showed that "the percentage of the votes for Yushchenko and Yanukovych in 2004, as well as those for the orange and the white-blue in 2006, are mostly tightly linked... most of all, with the portion of the mono-ethnical [sic] Ukrainians and the bi-ethnical Russian-Ukrainians among the voters." [Svetlana Stcherbak, " [ Some aspects of the social and political situation in Ukraine (2004-2006 elections)] ", "Analitik", July 18, 2006]

While the Ukrainian nationalism remains the fringe political movement in post-Soviet Ukraine, the perception of its importance is often exaggerated by the disproportionately vocal activity of its most radical wing.Andrew Wilson, "Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith", Cambridge University Press, 1996, xvii, 300p. ISBN 0-521-48285-2] The degree of "anti-Russianness" of the mainstream national conservative parties is debatable but their overall national support has been insufficient to overcome the 3% threshold required for the Ukrainian parliament representation in each and every national election to this day. The situation in the local representative bodies in Western Ukraine, a stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism,Wilson, pp. 82, 132, 134, 145, 195] is somewhat different, especially in Galicia, the only region in the country with the tradition of Ukrainian authoritarian nationalism being present.Wilson, p. 195]

Noticeable is the ultra-right nationalist political party "Svoboda", ["Tiahnybok considers 'Svoboda' as the only right-wing party in Ukraine", "Hazeta po-ukrainsky", 06.08.2007. [ Russian edition] , [ Ukrainian edition] ] marginal on the national scale, [0.36% of electoral support in the 2005 elections to Verkhovna Rada, in the 2007 parliamentary elections the party received 0.76%. Source [] that often invokes the radically Russophobic rhetoric (see poster) and has sufficient electoral support to form factions in several municipal and provincial local councils in Western Ukraine.Fact|date=November 2007

The nationalism of Western Ukraine, however, particularly Galicia, is out of step with the rest of the country, and the Russophobic and nationalist sentiment is firmly rejected by the overwhelming majority of population, as shown by the national poll results.During the 2005 national election, the ultra-nationalist "Svoboda" party received 0.36% of the overall support and none of the more mainstream national conservative parties fared better than 2%. Source [] ] At the same time, the political parties whose electoral platforms are crafted specifically to cater to the Russophile voters' sentiments fared exceptionally well. In the 2005 election, the mainstream Party of Regions, whose stronghold is based on Eastern and Southern Ukraine came first with 32.14%, ahead of its two nationally conscious main rivals, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (22.29%) and Our Ukraine Bloc (13.95%), while also Russophile Communist Party of Ukraine collected 3.66 % and the radically pro-Russian Nataliya Vitrenko Bloc 2.93% coming closest of the small parties to overcoming the 3% barrier. In the 2007 election, the Party of Regions came first with 34.37% (losing 130.000 votes), the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc second with 31.71% (wining 1,5 million votes), the Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc third with 14.15% (losing 238.000 votes), the Communist Party of Ukraine fourth with 5.39% (wining 327.000 votes) while the Nataliya Vitrenko Bloc dropped to 1.32%. [ [ Central Election Commission of Ukraine] ] [ Yanukovych Loses 300,000 While Tymoshenko Receives Additional 1.5 Million] , "Ukrainska Pravda"] )

Radical pro-Russian movements in Ukraine

Whereas there are several political parties and movements in Ukraine that advocate a moderate pro-Russian policy, there are also a few pro-Russian political organizations that are considered radical by observers. [ [ Leftist, pro-Russian extremists defy Yushchenko over history] ] [ СБУ собирается ликвидировать пророссийские радикальные организации в Крыму через суд.] ] Many of them state their agenda as an opposition to Ukrainian independence and openly advocate for the restoration of the Russian Empire. These movements are numerically small but their impact on the society is easy to overestimate due to their sometimes outrageous and vocal activity that generates much of the media coverage and commentary from the highest levels of politicians. [ [ Foreign Ministry to apply drastic measures in case Russian "Eurasian Union of Youth" responsible for vandalism on Hoverla mountain] , "The National Radio Company of Ukraine"] [ [ MP Candidate Herman (Party Of Regions): Vandalism Act At Hoverla Beneficial To Tymoshenko Bloc] , Ukrainian News Agency] The actions organized by these organizations are most visible in the Ukrainian part of historic Novorossiya ("New Russia") in the south of Ukraine and in the Crimea, currently the home of the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet. As ethnic Russians constitute a significant part of the population in these largely Russophone parts of southern Ukraine (and a majority in the Crimea), these territories maintain particularly strong historic ties with Russia on the human level. Thus, a stronger than elsewhere in the country pro-Russian political sentiment makes the area a more fertile ground for the radical pro-Russian movements that are not as common elsewhere in the country.

Among such movements are the youth organizations, the Proryv (literally the "Breakthrough") and the Eurasian Youth Movement (ESM).Mykyta Kasianenko, " [ Without provocateurs and Russophobes Crimea seeking solutions to Ukrainian-Russian problems] ", "Den", 13 August 2007] Both movements' registration and legal status have been challenged in courts, the leader of Proryv, a Russian citizen, was expelled from Ukraine, declared Persona non grata and barred from entering the country again.Fact|date=November 2007 Alexander Dugin, the Moscow-based leader of the ESM and his associate Pavel Zariffulin have also been barred from travelling to Ukraine because of their involvement in the activities of these organizations, although bans have been later lifted and reinstated again. [ [ SBU singled out people responsible for Hoveral attack] , "Novynar", 20 October 2007]

These movements openly state their mission as disintegration of Ukraine and restoration of Russia within the borders of the former Russian Empire [ Радикальные русские маргиналы хотят разделить Украину по Сталину] , "Ukrayinska Pravda" , July 18, 2006] and, reportedly, have received regular encouragement and monetary support from Russia's politically connected businessmen. Андреас Умланд, [ Фашистский друг Витренко] , "Ukrainska Pravda" 26.09.2006 ] These organizations have been known not only for their separatist and pro-Russian activities, but have been also accused of organising massive acts of protest, vandalism and violent attacks at public offices.2007 РБК-Україна [ При штурмі СБУ в Києві арештовано 10 активістів ЄСМ] 14.06.2006]

Some observers point out the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church's support of these movements and parties in Ukraine, especially in Crimea.The Sunday Times [ Once more into the valley of death?] October 24, 2004] The publications and protest actions of these organizations feature strongly pro-Russian and radically anti-Western, anti-NATO messages invoking the rhetoric of "Ukrainian-Russian historic unity", "NATO criminality", "conspiracy against the Eastern Orthodox Christianity", and other similar claims.

As a branch of a similar Russian organization the ESM has been organizing annual Russian Marches. The November, 2006 "Russian march" in Kiev, the capital, gathered 40 participants, but after Ukrainian nationalist demonstrators violently attacked them riot police was forced to interfere and several participants from both sides were arrested. [ "Вместе с бабой -- семь человек"::Киевская милиция пообщалась с участниками "Русского марша"] , "Kommersant-Ukraine", November 6, 2006] In Odessa and Crimean cities the November 2006 "Russian marches" drew more participants, with 150-200 participants in Odessa, and 500 in Simferopol and went more peacefully. The marchers were calling for the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Church unity as well as the national unity between Russia and Ukraine. In Odessa the march of about 200 people carried anti-Western, pro-Russian slogans and religious symbols. One of the marchers displayed a clearly visible anti-semitic slogan. [;12679/ «Російський марш» в Одесі серед інших піднімав тему єдності УПЦ із Московським Патріархатом] ] [ [ Около 200 человек проводят "Русский марш" в Одессе] , "Podrobnosti", November 4, 2006] Anti-semitic manifestations in these areas are supported, at least in terms of organization and direct financing, from radical nationalist organizations from Russia, where incidence of anti-semetism is higher. Vyacheslav Likhachev. Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. [ Anti-semetism in Ukraine] ]

Some observers link resurgence of radical Russian organizations in Ukraine with Kremlin's fear that the Orange Revolution in Ukraine could be exported to Russia, and the fight with that possibility has been put at the forefront of these movements' activities.Andriy Okara, "New Ukrainian Oprichnina, or what is in common "Pora", neoeuro-Asians, Ivan the Terrible and Yulia Tymoshenko", "Zerkalo Nedeli, March 12 - 18, 2005. [ In Russian] , [ in Ukrainian] .]

See also

* List of famous Russians from Ukraine
* Russian language in Ukraine
* Demographics of Ukraine
* Russian Cultural Center in Lviv
* Anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine
* Ukrainians in Russia

Footnotes and citations

External links

* [ Russian community in Ukraine] ru icon
* [ Russian movement in Ukraine] ru icon
* [ Russian Donbass] ru icon
* [] - Russian Community and Classifieds in Kiev, Odessa & Lviv

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