Putin's article 'On Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians' published on Kremlin website in Russian, Ukrainian
An article written by Russian President Vladimir Putin called "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians" has been published on the Kremlin's website.
The president's article was published in both Russian and Ukrainian.
"I said at the recent Q&A session, responding to a question about Russian-Ukrainian relations, that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, one whole. These words are not some kind of tribute to the current situation, the current political circumstances. I have said this more than once; it's my conviction. Therefore, I believe I need to state my position in detail, share my view of the current situation," Putin said at the beginning of his article.
The president said he used public documents that contain well-known facts, not some secret archives, when he worked on the article.
"The leaders of today's Ukraine and their external patrons prefer not to mention these facts. But it is now accepted to condemn 'the crimes of the Soviet regime,' including in them even those events to which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the USSR, let alone today's Russia, have no relation, on various occasions, with reason or without, including abroad," the article says.
Meanwhile, the actions of the Bolsheviks to separate from Russia its historical territories are not considered a criminal act, Putin said.
"It is clear why. If it weakened Russia, it suits our ill-wishers," he said.
The borders between the republics were conditional in the USSR, but all these territories, and most importantly, the people who lived in them, found themselves abroad overnight in 1991, Putin said.
"Everything changes. Including countries, societies. And of course, a part of a people can realize itself as a separate nation at a certain moment, in the course of its development, for a number of reasons, [due to] historical circumstances. How should one treat that? There can only be one answer: with respect!" Putin said.
Speaking on the desire of the republics to create their own states, Putin recalled the words of Anatoly Sobchak. "I will mention here the evaluation given by Anatoly Sobchak, one of the most prominent political figures of the new Russia, first mayor of St. Petersburg. As a highly professional lawyer, he believed that any decision should be legitimate, and therefore, he said the following in 1992: the republics that founded the Union had to go back to the borders in which they joined the Union after they annulled the 1922 Treaty. All other territorial acquisitions are a subject for discussion, negotiation, because the foundation was annulled," he said.
In other words, "leave with what you came in with," Putin said. "It's hard to argue with such logic. I will only add that, like I said, the Bolsheviks began arbitrary changes of the borders even before the creation of the Union, and all manipulations with the territories were conducted according to their own will, ignoring the opinion of the people," he said.