Do Ukrainians speak Russian? | Serhii Plokhy and Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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March 5, 2024
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Do Ukrainians speak Russian? | Serhii Plokhy and Lex Fridman

TL;DR

The future of language in Ukraine is uncertain, with a shift towards Ukrainian as a marker of identity among the younger generation.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the current language situation in Ukraine?

Ukraine is a truly bilingual country, where both Russian and Ukrainian can be spoken and understood throughout the country. The dominance of Russian is stronger in the east, while Ukrainian is more prevalent in the west.

Q: Has there been a change in language preference since the start of the war in 2014?

Yes, there has been a shift towards Ukrainian as a marker of identity, particularly among the younger generation. They see Ukrainian as a way to distance themselves from the aggression and loss experienced during the war.

Q: Will this shift towards Ukrainian be a lasting change?

The future of language in Ukraine is uncertain. While there was a spike in self-reported usage of Ukrainian during the start of the war, it returned to previous levels in later years. However, given the prolonged war, the younger generation's switch to Ukrainian may indicate a more lasting change.

Q: How does language affect the unity of Ukraine?

Language plays a role in the unity of Ukraine, as it can be a source of division. The dominance of Russian in certain regions and the push towards Ukrainian as an identity marker may create tensions among different linguistic communities in the country.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Ukraine is a bilingual country, where both Russian and Ukrainian are widely spoken and understood throughout the country.

  • The war in 2014 and the loss of Crimea and parts of Donbas have led to a shift towards Ukrainian-speaking regions, especially among the younger generation.

  • There is a debate about whether this shift towards Ukrainian will be a lasting change or if the linguistic practices will revert to their previous state.

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