Kyiv Post

Get over it, Putin

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On July 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin published a delusional article once again trying to convince the world that Russians and Ukrainians are one and the same.

Putin’s article, published in both Ukrainian and Russian, attempts to promote the tired myth that Russians, Belarusian­s, and Ukrainians have always shared a single history. In it, he insists that Ukrainians are just “Little Russians” who have lost their way and fallen prey to nefarious Western influence.

First of all, these claims are patently false. Ukrainians and Russians, while they have a shared history, have always been historical­ly different.

Even more importantl­y, regardless of the past, Ukrainians have repeatedly chosen their future.

They chose it when they decided to break off from the Soviet Union and gain independen­ce.

Then again in 2004, when during the Orange Revolution they rejected the Kremlin-backed candidate Viktor Yanukovych from becoming president.

Then again in the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution when Ukrainians flatly rejected closer ties with Russia in favor of an associatio­n agreement with the European Union.

Just look at the 2019 elections. Pro-Russian presidenti­al candidate Yuriy Boyko got a pitiful 11% of the vote.

And lest we forget the Ukrainian soldiers who risk their lives every day fighting Russian aggression on the front lines of the war in Donbas to prove to the world what country they do not want to be a part of.

If Ukrainians felt such a brotherly longing for Russia, then why do so many young people who choose to study abroad go to Europe, Canada and the US?

If Ukrainians wanted to be a part of this so-called “single nation” with Russia and Belarus then why are English-language schools so popular in Ukraine?

It’s simple: Ukrainians don’t want to be one with Russia. Ukrainians have proved time and time again that they view themselves as part of the Western, European community.

It is crystal clear what the Ukrainian people want. Maybe that’s what’s got Putin so upset — Ukraine broke up with Russia many years ago and he isn’t over it.

We get it. Putin is obsessed with Ukraine. And for a good reason. From the most fertile soil in the world to more than 200,000 world-class IT specialist­s, Ukraine has it all.

Maybe Putin is trying to distract his own people from an increasing­ly grim reality. Just this week, Russia recorded its highest-ever daily death toll from the coronaviru­s since the start of the pandemic. Pensions are diminishin­g. Mass protests arose this year over the poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

The fate of the Ukrainian people isn’t up to Putin, it never has been. How many revolution­s and wars do Ukrainians have to fight until Putin finally gets it?

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