Saturday, February 12, 2011

What’s in the name?

“Going Ukrainian” in the Soviet Union would most likely mean subjecting yourself to severe repressions. This was the case after the short-lived Ukrainization of the 1920s, or the period of a Khrushchev’s Thaw. Perhaps, only during Perestroika and right after independence many could finally “go Ukrainian” all they wanted – speak the language, revive traditions, get involved in national politics, etc. However, I was too young to remember that period well. I think I’ve personally “gone Ukrainian” when I first left Ukraine. There I was, a 16-year-old, explaining to foreigners that it was a country located in Eastern Europe, and that it was quite distinct from Russia, too. And, of course, I was going to go back and help change things for the better.

I have also seen many people “go Ukrainian” quite boldly on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in 2004 – some switched to Ukrainian language, many sang national songs, waived yellow-blue flags, and so on. It was even possible to “go Ukrainian” if you were a foreigner (and still is, I’m sure :). What I mean is that people were suddenly proud of who they were, cared about the future of their country, and knew that it's fate depended on them and nobody else.

Unfortunately, the recent events in my homeland are quite disturbing, and I really wish we could’ve all gone a little more Ukrainian now. And it doesn’t matter whether you currently live there or have moved abroad. It doesn’t even matter if you’re not at all from Ukraine. What matters is that you pay a little more attention, give it a little more thought, and just try to care a little more about what’s going on. Go Ukrainian.


  1. Oh, it's definitely possible for foreigners to 'go Ukrainian.' :)

  2. Yes, RaeJean. Actually, you're one of people I had in mind when writing this :)