In response to a request I will dab into this controversial topic, strictly opinionated. Being from the eastern part of Ukraine, I consider myself Russian. Why? Russian was the language I spoke at home, in school and everywhere I went growing up in the country.
I would say to most residents of eastern Ukrainian cities, Russian is their native tongue. They speak Ukrainian in official situations, such as schools or court for example, because our country acknowledges only one official language. However, when these same people come home, or even go on a smoke break, they are speaking Russian.
I’ve been told there are documents written with the first page being “officially” in Ukrainian, and the rest of the pages in Russian, to make it easier for eastern Ukrainians to understand. Now how ridiculous is that?
Ukraine’s history with Russia is bound by the Slavic language, and by the blood that flows through our veins. Russia emerged from the Kievan Rus (Kiev is now the capital of Ukraine). For centuries eastern Ukrainians have spoken Russian.
I understand the argument “we live in Ukraine, so we must speak Ukrainian,” but I am not going to go to Quebec and say “you bow down to the Queen, so you must speak English.” People should have the option to choose what language they want to speak, read and write in, especially if that language has been in that region for centuries. Why not take a lesson from Canada and adopt two official languages?