Europe

Mar 12, 2014

In Russian-speaking Odessa, a call for calm as Putin advances

The Ukrainian town of Odessa has traditionally continued with business as usual even during times of war. But Ukrainian journalist (and chess grandmaster) Mikhail Golubev says Russian aggression has spurred the town into action.

Odessa, on the north-west corner of the Black Sea, is the only Russian-speaking town in the Ukraine not dominated by Russians.

It is an international trading town, built up by Europeans with an ethnically varied population — very unusual for the Russian-speaking world. It is difficult to describe the ethnic makeup of Odessa because so many people are mixed, but the three main groups are Russians, Ukrainians and Jewish people. (My father was Russian, my mother mostly Ukrainian.) The Jewish people speak Russian, but they don’t necessarily feel Russian; generally, we also don’t feel that people in Crimea, or Kiev, are like us. Each regions in Ukraine has significant differences.

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4 comments

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4 thoughts on “In Russian-speaking Odessa, a call for calm as Putin advances

  1. Michelle Imison

    Hi Mikhail – thanks for this, it’s always good to have knowledgeable, on-the-ground input in cases such as this.

    One question: I’m curious that you referred a couple of times in your article to ‘the Ukraine’. A few years ago, talking to an Australian-Ukrainian friend about his parents’ homeland – a place he had visited numerous times – I said this a couple of times and was told that this was most definitely NOT the terminology now and it was simply called ‘Ukraine’. Could you clarify for me, please?

  2. Ian Rogers

    I did some editing of the author’s English before I passed Mikhail’s comments on to Crikey so the extra ‘the’s at the end of the article are my fault.
    When asked about your comment, Mikhail said that he definitely prefers Ukraine without the ‘the’ and directed me to the following link http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/aug/14/eu.commentanddebate
    I will be more careful in future!

  3. Liamj

    Escobar in Asia Times lists eight far-right ministers in new pro-western administration in Ukraine:
    -interim defense minister and former student at the Pentagon Ihor Tenyukh
    -deputy prime minister for economic affairs and Svoboda ideologue Oleksandr Sych
    -agro-oligarch minister of agriculture Ihor Svaika
    -National Security Council chief and Maidan commander of Right Sector neo-nazis Andry Parubiy
    -deputy National Security Council chief Dmytro Yarosh, the founder Right Sector
    -Svoboda leader Oleh Tyanhybok, a close pal of John McCain and Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, and active proponent of an Ukraine free from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.”

  4. Mikhail Golubev

    The left wing in the Ukrainian politics was lately represented by the Comminunist party which mainly was selling votes to Regions Party in the parliament!
    (Before that, the Socialist party had committed something like the electoral suicide by switching from one side to another in the mid-2000s, and they lost most of their supporters).
    So, it is not a surprise that righ-wing politicians are relatively strong now.
    But the main democratic force in Ukraine are UDAR and Batkivshchina parties. Maybe it was a mistake by UDAR not to enter the new government. Then the righе-wing politicians would take a lesser number of seats.

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