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Rescooped by Al Picozzi from Regional Geography!

A House United

A House United | Als Return to Education |

"Why analysts touting Ukraine's East-West division are just plain wrong."


This neat picture [of East/West divisions] becomes muddled in the environs of Luhansk and Donetsk. For example, the official website of the Bilokurakyn district of Luhansk province (which borders Russia) is in Ukrainian, and the website's sentiments are distinctly anti-Yanukovych. The countryside and smaller towns of both provinces tend to speak Ukrainian and practice Ukrainian culture. And even in the cities themselves, the vast majority of the population -- minus the pro-Russian chauvinists -- will happily engage Ukrainian speakers in conversation. One Ukrainian history professor at Donetsk State University has been conducting all his lectures in Ukrainian for over a decade. At first some students grumbled -- and he responded by pointing out that if they lack the intellectual ability to understand Ukrainian, they shouldn't be university students. Since then, there have been no complaints and no problems.

Go to Lviv in the West, and you encounter similar subtleties.  The vast majority of Lviv residents are at least proficient in Russian, gladly speak the language, read Russian newspapers and books, and watch Russian television. If a radio is playing in a restaurant or café, chances are as high that it'll be tuned to a Russian station rather than a Ukrainian one. Lviv is especially popular with Russian tourists, who like it for its Middle European feel, old architecture, and Ukrainian distinctiveness. A favorite Russian watering hole is the Kryyivka (Bunker) restaurant, modeled after the underground hideouts used by anti-Soviet Ukrainian nationalists after World War II.

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Still a hot spot in Eastern Europe even after the split of the Soviet Union.  The people are split as who to go with the EU, NATO, the West on one side vs. Russia on the other.  As a former Soviet republic there are still strong ties to Russia but many feel they are being sold out by their leaders to the Russians.  Some also feel the West is just interested in the gas and oil that is flowing through their country from Russia....they feel they are being played by both sides...hmmm seems like the cold war again...what do you think?

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Rescooped by Al Picozzi from Geography Portfolio!

Ukraine: West or east?

Ukraine: West or east? | Als Return to Education |
ITS very name means “borderland”. Ukraine has long been on the edge between east and west. Now this country of 46m people is poised to tilt westward by signing...

Via Paige McClatchy
Al Picozzi's insight:

Going to be an intersting situation.  Aside from the issues with Russia, will the Ukraine be willing to lose some autonomy and follow the rules, especailly the human rights rules, of the EU.  How much are they willing to give up to be free from Russian influence?  Will they be willing to what some might say is trading one master, Russia, for another, the EU?  What will be the Russian reaction to this, especailly with all the gas they receive from Russia?  Goingt o be an intersting situation soon in this area of the world.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 10:00 PM

The Ukraine is currently stuck in a tug-of-war between the EU and a Russian contrived Central Asian trade agreement. The Economist believes that, thanks to Putin's bullying, the Ukraine will land in the EU's lap. This softpower fight between East and West is a remnant of the Cold War. 

Al Picozzi's comment, October 9, 2013 4:31 PM
Going to be an interesting situation. Russian with its long control of this area historically, from about the mid 17th century until its independence in 1991. Is it Russian fears of the "West" being so close to its border, remeber it was invaded many times from the west, Napoleon, Germany twice, from other western countries during the Russian civil war, including the US? or is it pure ecomonic to compete with the EU or just to deny the EU another member? Another Cold War coming, this one not involving the US?