WorldWar in Ukraine: Why Russians are not welcomed as liberators by Russian...

War in Ukraine: Why Russians are not welcomed as liberators by Russian speakers

BIG MAINTENANCE – While the Russian army expected to be welcomed as a liberator, the Russian-speaking population is hostile. The specialist in post-Soviet societies Anna Colin Lebedev explains the origin of this repulsion.

Lecturer in political science at the University of Paris Nanterre, Anna Colin Lebedev is a specialist in post-Soviet societies.

LE FIGARO.- To justify his invasion of Ukraine in 2014 as in 2022, Vladimir Putin invokes the defense of Russian speakers. However, in Kherson or Melitopol, several demonstrations take place against the occupation. Why ?

ANNA COLIN LEBEDEV.- Almost all of Ukraine is bilingual. This specificity characterizes the functioning of the country. On television, at school or in a conversation, one interlocutor can speak in Russian, and the other responds to him in Ukrainian. If certain regions have a preference for Russian in the public space, the division between Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers is ineffective, since it ignores this characteristic. Next, the language question is uncorrelated from that of patriotism and national feeling. Ukrainian citizenship is not linked to a language or an ethnicity, but to membership in the project…

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