End Note: THE MYTH OF RUSSOPHONE UNITY IN UKRAINE xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

KYIV WANTS MOSCOW TO REIN IN CRITICS OF UKRAINE. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on 4 July announced that it has asked the Russian authorities to stop its officials from suggestingóincorrectly--that Ukraine is helping Chechen fighters, AP reported. PG

UKRAINE GIVEN MORE HELP TO CLOSE CHORNOBYL. At a donor conference in Berlin on 5-6 July, attended by Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, G-7 countries, EU states, and other countries discussed ways to help Kyiv close the reactor blocks at Chornobyl, ITAR-TASS reported. The Dutch representative to the meeting announced that The Hague will contribute $2.84 million toward closing the site of the world's worst nuclear power plant disaster. PG

UKRAINE TOLD NOT TO EXPECT EU MEMBERSHIP SOON. A spokesman for EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said on 4 July that the EU will complete its current round of expansion talks before considering inviting others, including Ukraine, to start such negotiations, Reuters reported. "It's not realistic as things stand today to speak about the accession of other countries," he added. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma accepted the resignation of reformist Economics Minister Serhiy Tyhypko, who has been elected to the parliament, according to the Western news agency. PG

UKRAINE, POLAND TO SEND JOINT PEACEKEEPING UNIT TO KOSOVA. Ukraine and Poland are to dispatch a joint 850-soldier peacekeeping unit to serve in the NATO-led KFOR force in Kosova, Reuters reported. PG

VAN DER STOEL EXAMINES RUSSIAN RIGHTS IN UKRAINE. OSCE High Commissioner on Ethnic Minorities Max van der Stoel is to study the position of ethnic Russians in Ukraine from 6-8 July, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 July. The commission is then scheduled to visit the Russian Federation to examine the state of ethnic Ukrainians there. PG

...STEPS UP CONSULTATIONS WITH UKRAINE ON OIL PIPELINE. Polish Sejm speaker Maciej Plazinski met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Kyiv on 4 July to discuss finishing the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline, ITAR-TASS reported. Some 500 kilometers of a projected 667 kilometers of that pipeline, which will carry oil from the Caspian basin to Western Europe, have already been built. PG


In the second round of Ukraine's July 1994 presidential elections, the incumbent, Leonid Kravchuk, won the majority of votes west of the River Dnipro and his main challenger, Leonid Kuchma, the majority east of that river. The larger urban and industrial centers of eastern Ukraine gave Kuchma a modest lead over Kravchuk. Since those elections, the prevailing view among many scholars and policymakers in the West has been that Ukraine is clearly divided into two linguistic halves: "nationalist, pro-European, and Ukrainophone" western Ukraine and "Russophile, pro-Eurasian and Russophone" eastern Ukraine.

Unfortunately, this framework for understanding postSoviet Ukraine has failed when it has been applied to the Kuchma. When elected in 1994, Kuchma was an eastern Ukrainian Russophone, and it was predicted that he would return Ukraine to Eurasia. Instead, Ukrainian foreign policy has remained consistent throughout the 1990s, regardless of the language spoken by the president or his support base. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs defined this policy in 1996 as "Integration into Europe, Cooperation with the CIS," which continues to rule out Ukraine's participation in the military and political structures of the CIS.

Under Kuchma, Ukrainian foreign policy has shifted westward more decisively, especially with regard to NATO. Ukraine has also been instrumental in preventing Russian regional hegemony through its membership in the pro-Western GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) regional group, which in effect split the CIS into two groups of an equal number of states.

Using language as the sole or main criterion by which to analyze post-soviet Ukrainian developments has proved to be flawed for two reasons. First, it assumed that Ukrainians belonged to either one or the other linguistic camp-- Ukrainophones or Russophones. Most observers argued that language data in the 1989 Soviet census were flawed and that the actual number of Ukrainophones was far smaller than the number of Russophones in Ukraine. Moreover, a large proportion of Ukrainians, perhaps even the majority, are bilingual and therefore cannot be characterized as either purely Ukrainophone or Russophone. Kuchma himself, for example, uses Ukrainian in public but has a Russian wife and almost certainly speaks Russian in the private sphere. Which of the two linguistic groups does he belong to?

Data from an Intermedia National Survey in late 1999 conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology asked "In which language is it easier for you to talk?" Of the respondents, 44.2 percent said in Ukrainian and only 38.7 percent said in Russian. In response to the question "which language do you speak at home?" 47.8 percent said Ukrainian, 36.3 percent Russian, and 14.4 percent both.

Second, there has been no evidence of the mobilization of Russophones as a group or lobby. Indeed, there is strong evidence that Russophones in Crimea, Odesa, the Donbas, Kyiv and western Ukraine have very distinct separate identities and have developed different attitudes toward the Ukrainian language, nation-building, and foreign policy. A recent study found that Russophones in Odesa and the Donbas exhibit "language retention," while in Kyiv and Lviv they favor assimilation or "language integration." A large number of Kyivites, for example, continue to use Russian as their main language but have not opposed sending their children to Ukrainian language schools, which now account for 80 percent of all schools in the city.

A recent poll conducted in Kyiv by the National Democratic Initiatives Center among a representative sample of Kyivites was aimed at gauging the attitudes of Russian speakers and demonstrated this lack of uniformity among Russophones. Five main results emerged from the poll.

First, 53 percent of Kyivites speak Russian always or most of the time. Of these respondents, 70 percent were brought up in a Russian-language environment.

Second, half of these Russophones believe that the "Ukrainian language is an attribute of Ukrainian statehood." They feel that its usage in all spheres in the capital city does not reflect its state status and that there is still a need to raise its prestige. Moreover, according to these Russophones, state officials should take exams in the Ukrainian language to prove their proficiency. Only 30 percent of Russophones in Kyiv disagreed with these views.

Three, two-thirds of Russophones in Kyiv feel that their rights as Russian speakers are not infringed on within a Ukrainian language information space.

Four, 70 percent of Russophones in Kyiv believe that Ukrainian citizens should know the Ukrainian language well and 44 percent believe that they personally should improve their Ukrainian because it is important for them to do so.

And five, only 43 percent of Russophones in Kyiv agreed raising the status of Russian to second state language.

The organizers of the poll concluded that only up to one-third of Russophones in Kyiv are opponents of Ukrainianization. Meanwhile, 50-55 percent use Russian but remain positively disposed toward increased use of the Ukrainian language and do not see such a development as in any way harming their national dignity.

Contemporary Ukrainian studies await further research into the myth of Russophone unity in Ukraine. Clearly the situation in Ukraine is far more complicated than a simplistic division of the country into two linguistic groups , one oriented toward Europe (Ukrainophones) and the other toward Eurasia (Russophones). If Ukraine's elites wish to maintain an independent state, they have no alternative but to continue with a policy of "Integration into Europe, Cooperation with the CIS."

...AS PUTIN URGES NEIGHBORS TO RATIFY 1997 ABM ACCORDS. Citing the Russian presidential press service, Interfax reported on 5 July that Putin has sent a message to his Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Kazakh counterparts informing them of Russia's completion of the process of ratifying the 1997 New York agreements on ABM. The Russian president said in his message that Moscow views those accords as an "important instrument designed to strengthen" the 1972 ABM Treaty. In September 1997, Russia and the U.S. signed accords establishing the distinction between strategic and nonstrategic missile defense systems. The U.S. also signed an accord to extend the 1972 ABM treaty to four successor states of the former Soviet UnionóRussia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstanóbut agreed to send the amended treaty to the Senate only after the State Duma had ratified START-II. The Russian lower house approved START-II earlier this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 April 2000). JC

DUMA DEPUTY CONDEMNS ANTI-RUSSIAN POLICIES IN UKRAINE. Duma Deputy Chairperson for the Committee on the Affairs of Nationalities (People's Deputy) Svetlana Smirnova said on 4 July that alleged attempts by the Lviv City Council to crack down on the transmission of Russian-language songs is a Russophobic policy and constitutes a deliberate attempt to create a system of cultural and linguistic discrimination in Ukraine, ITAR-TASS reported. Smirnova added that the Russian language "has always been and will be a language of interethnic communication in the post-Soviet space. JAC