Moscow, May 12, 2015
Journalist Alexei Zhuravko from Kherson wrote about his talks at the Ukrainian-Russian border with Ukrainians travelling to Russia:
“I would like to share my impressions of my recent trip to the Russian-Ukrainian border with you. What strikes your eyes there at once – hundreds of automobiles from the Western Ukraine, Vinnytsia, Carpatho-Ukraine, Volhynia, Ternopil, Uzhhorod, Kiev. Buses are packed with people. Obviously they are going for a long time, having taken children and domestic things with them. And they are all moving towards Russia, and not the other way. For some reason those people were not jumping and crying: ‘Whoever doesn’t jump is a Moskal’ (literally “a Muscovite” – a contemptuous nickname of Russian people used mostly by Galician Uniates in the Ukraine. This is what people shouted during the unrest on in Kiev, at the overthrow of the government). They were concentrated on crossing the border.
“It happened that as I was going through customs I wanted to ask people a number of questions. So I asked them directly: ‘Why are you going to Russia?’ Their answer: ‘And where else should we work and how should we live?’
“With one voice nearly all of them said they had relatives there. Then I asked them the second question: ‘And what about Europe? Doesn’t it accept you?’ Their answer was that they were wanted by nobody there. ‘But you hopped in the Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square (“Independence Square” in central Kiev)’. But they did not respond. Then I was asked: ‘And where are you from?’ I replied I was from Kherson.
“But I saw on each passing automobile with Ukrainian numbers the Ukrainian national flags and emblems, which were not removed by anybody. Because everybody knows that there is no such absurdity in Russia as there is in the Ukraine. No one smashes up cars because of yellow and blue flags, while in every corner of the Ukraine car windows are smashed as soon as the Russian tricolor or St. George’s ribbons are noticed.
“When we were smoking outside, I asked another question: ‘You struggled for independence, jumped in Maidan. What do you think of the fact that now all the ministerial posts are occupied by foreigners?’ And guess what was the answer? ‘We were deceived’.
“When their tongues were loosened, you cannot even imagine what they are now saying about Europe and how angry they are at it. There were eight of us standing there, and none of them said a single positive word about the present Ukrainian government.
“When I returned to the question of their ‘dancing in Maidan’, one of them, Ivan from Volhynia, said: ‘Had we known about the consequences beforehand – rivers of blood and mass unemployment – we would have brought a golden loaf of bread to Yanukovich (reference to a Yanukovich’s “loaf of bread” made of pure gold and weighing 2 kilos (c. 4.5 lbs), found at his residence)”. The rest of the people standing nearby, kept silent and said nothing.
"So, how can it be described? The Ukraine is slowly getting rid of its own population. Adults are in search of employment, and the youth is running away from war and havoc. It really distressed me to see and realize this – surely many of them will never return to their native land. They may come back only to see their relatives. Two or three years will pass and the Ukraine will have lost all its able-bodied population. Perhaps this is precisely what the new authorities are trying to achieve?”