Russia–Ukraine relations

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Russia–Ukraine relations
Map indicating locations of Russia and Ukraine

Russia

Ukraine

Russia–Ukraine relations (Russian: Российско-украинские отношения, Ukrainian: Українсько-російські відносини) were established in 1991 immediately upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union of which both were founding constituent republics.

Russia has an embassy in Kiev and consulates in Kharkiv, Lviv, and Odessa. Ukraine has an embassy in Moscow and consulates in Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen and Vladivostok.

Governmental relations between the two countries are complex. President Vladimir Putin allegedly declared at a NATO-Russia summit in 2008 that, if Ukraine were to join NATO, his country could contend to annex the Ukrainian East and Crimea.[1] Some analysts believe that the current Russian leadership is determined to prevent an equivalent of the Ukrainian Orange Revolution in Russia. This perspective is supposed to explain not only Russian domestic policy but its sensitivity to events abroad.[2] Many in Ukraine and beyond believe that Russia has periodically used its vast energy resources to bully its smaller, dependent neighbour, but the Russian government argues instead that it was the internal squabbling amongst Ukraine's political elite that is to blame for the deadlock.[3] Since the election of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych as Ukrainian President in early 2010 the relations between the two nations had improved,[4][5][6] then deteriorated in 2014 with the Crimean crisis and the Russian military intervention in the peninsula. Later, Ukraine suspended majority of ties with Russia including military cooperation and export of Defense equipments.[7]

History of relations[edit]

Kievan Rus'[edit]

Ukraine and Russia share much of their history. Kiev, the modern capital of Ukraine, is often referred to as a mother of Russian Cities or a cradle of the Rus' civilisation owing to the once powerful Kievan Rus' state, a predecessor of both Russian and Ukrainian nations.[8]

Muscovy and Russian Empire[edit]

After the Mongol invasion of Rus the histories of the Russian and Ukrainian people's started to diverge.[9] The former, having successfully united all the remnants of the Rus' northern provinces, swelled into a powerful Russian state. The latter came under the domination of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Within the Commonwealth, the militant Zaporozhian Cossacks refused polonization, and often clashed with the Commonwealth government, controlled by the Polish nobility. Unrest among the Cossacks caused them to rebel against the Commonwealth and seek union with Russia, with which they shared much of the culture, language and religion. which was eventually formalized through the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654 .[10] From the mid-17th century Ukraine was gradually absorbed into the Russian Empire, which was completed in the late 18th century with the Partitions of Poland. Soon afterward in the late 18th century the Cossack host was forcibly disbanded by the Empire, with most of the population relocated to the Kuban region in the South edge of the Russian Empire, where the Cossacks served a valuable role of defending the Empire against the fierce Caucasian tribes

Soviet Union[edit]

Leonid Perfetsky picture representing a conflict between the soldiers of Ukrainian Galician Army and Volunteer Army in the streets of Kiev during their joint operation against the Bolsheviks, under the command of General Denikin, Aug 1919.[11]
Usually associated with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, the transfer of Crimea was adopted by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet chaired by Kliment Voroshilov

The February Revolution saw establishment of official relations between the Russian Provisional Government and the Ukrainian Central Rada that was represented at the Russian government by its commissar Petro Stebnytsky. At the same time Dmitriy Odinets was appointed the representative of Russian Affairs in the Ukrainian government. After the Soviet military aggression by the Soviet government at the beginning of 1918, Ukraine declared its full independence from the Russian Republic. The two treaties of Brest-Litovsk that Ukraine and Russia signed separately with the Central Powers calmed the military conflict between them and peace negotiations were initiated the same year.

After the end of the World War I, Ukraine became a battleground in the Russian Civil War and both Russians and Ukrainians fought in nearly all armies based on their political belief.[12]

In 1922, Ukraine and Russia were two of the founding members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and were the signatories of the treaty that terminated the union in December 1991.[13]

In 1932-1933 the Ukraine experienced the Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор, "Extermination by hunger" or "Hunger-extermination"; derived from 'Морити голодом', "Killing by Starvation") which was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic that killed up to 7.5 million Ukrainians. During the famine, which is also known as the "Terror-Famine in Ukraine" and "Famine-Genocide in Ukraine", millions of citizens of Ukrainian SSR, the majority of whom were Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the independent Ukraine and several other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. Scholars disagree on the relative importance of natural factors and bad economic policies as causes of the famine and the degree to which the destruction of the Ukrainian peasantry was premeditated on the part of Joseph Stalin. Using Holodomor in reference to the famine emphasizes its man-made aspects, arguing that actions such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs, and restriction of population movement confer intent, defining the famine as genocide; the loss of life has been compared to the Holocaust. If Soviet policies and actions were conclusively documented as intending to eradicate the rise of Ukrainian nationalism, they would fall under the legal definition of genocide. In the absence of absolute documentary proof of intent, scholars have also made the argument that the Holodomor was ultimately a consequence of the economic problems associated with radical economic changes implemented during the period of liquidation of private property and Soviet industrialization.[14]

On 13 January 2010, Kiev Appellate Court posthumously found Stalin, Kaganovich, Molotov, Kosior, Chubar and other Soviet Communist Party functionaries guilty of genocide against Ukrainians during the Holodomor famine.[15]

Independent Ukraine[edit]

1990s[edit]

Embassy of Russia in Kiev
Embassy of Ukraine in Moscow

After both Ukraine and Russia terminated the union several acute disputes formed. The former one was the question of the Crimea which the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic had administered since 1954. This however was largely resolved in an agreement that allowed for Crimea to remain part of Ukraine, provided its Autonomous Republic status is preserved.

The second major dispute of the 1990s was the city of Sevastopol, with its base of the Black Sea Fleet. Unlike the rest of the Crimea peninsula, the city of Sevastopol carried a special status within the Soviet Union. During the fall of the Soviet state the city along with the rest of Ukraine participated in the national referendum for independence of Ukraine where 58% of its population voted for the succession of the city in favour of the Ukrainian state, yet the Supreme Soviet of Russia voted to reclaim the city as its territory in 1993 (a vote unrecognised by Boris Yeltsin, at the time the Russian parliament and president were at a political stand-off). After several years of intense negotiations, in 1997 the whole issue was resolved by partitioning the Black Sea Fleet and leasing some of the naval bases in Sevastopol to the Russian Navy until 2017.

Another major dispute became the energy supply problems as several Soviet-Western Europe oil and gas pipelines ran through Ukraine. Later after new treaties came into effect, the enormous debts of Ukraine to Russia were paid off by transfer of several Soviet weaponry and nuclear arsenals that Ukraine inherited, to Russia such as the Tu-160 bombers.[16] During the 1990s both countries along with other ex-Soviet states founded the Commonwealth of Independent States and large business partnerships came into effect.

While Russian share in Ukraine’s exports declined from 26.2 percent in 1997 to around 23 percent in 1998-2000, the share of imports held steady at 45-50 percent of the total. Overall, between one third and one half of Ukraine’s trade was with the Russian Federation. Dependence was particularly strong in energy. Up to 70-75 percent of annually consumed gas and close to 80 percent of oil came from Russia. On the export side, too, dependence was significant. Russia remained Ukraine’s primary market for ferrous metals, steel plate and pipes, electric machinery, machine tools and equipment, food, and products of chemical industry. It has been a market of hope for Ukraine’s high value-added goods, more than nine tenths of which were historically tied to the Russian consumer. Old buyers gone by 1997, Ukraine had experienced a 97-99 percent drop in production of industrial machines with digital control systems, television sets, tape recorders, excavators, cars and trucks. At the same time, and in spite of the postcommunist slowdown, Russia came out as the fourth-largest investor in the Ukrainian economy after the USA, Netherlands, and Germany, having contributed $150.6 million out of $2.047 billion in foreign direct investment that Ukraine had received from all sources by 1998.[17]

2000s[edit]

Vladimir Putin and Leonid Kuchma in December 2003.

Although disputes prior to the Ukrainian presidential election, 2004 were present including the speculations regarding accidental shooting down of a Russian airliner by the Ukrainian military and the controversy with the Tuzla Island, relations with Russia under the latter years of Leonid Kuchma improved. In 2002 the Russian Government participated in financing the construction of the Khmelnytsky and the Rivne nuclear power plants.[18] However, after the Orange Revolution several problems resurfaced including a gas dispute, and Ukraine's potential NATO membership.

The overall perception of relations with Russia in Ukraine differs largely on regional factors. Many Russophone eastern and southern regions, which are also home to the majority of the Russian diaspora in Ukraine welcome closer relations with Russia.[19] However further central and particularly western regions (who were never a part of Imperial Russia) of Ukraine show a less friendly attitude to the idea of a historic link to Russia[20][21][22][23] and the Soviet Union in particular.[24]

Russia has no intention of annexing any country.

Russian President Putin (December 24, 2004)[25]

In Russia, there is no regional breakdown in the opinion of Ukraine,[26] but on the whole, Ukraine's recent attempts to join the EU and NATO were seen as change of course to only a pro-Western, anti-Russian orientation of Ukraine and thus a sign of hostility and this resulted in a drop of Ukraine's perception in Russia[27] (although Ukrainian President Yushchenko reassured Russia that joining NATO it is not meant as an anti-Russian act[28]). This was further fuelled by the public discussion in Ukraine of whether the Russian language should be given official status[29] and be made the second state language.[30][31] During the 2009 gas conflict the Russian media almost uniformly portrayed Ukraine as an aggressive and greedy state that wanted to ally with Russia’s enemies and exploit cheap Russian gas.[32]

Further worsening relations were provoking statements by both Russian (a.o. the Russian Foreign Ministry,[33] the Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov[34] and then President Vladimir Putin[28][35]) and Ukrainian politicians, for example, the former Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk,[36] deputy Justice Minister of Ukraine Evhen Kornichuk[37] and then leader of parliamentary opposition Yulia Tymoshenko.[38]

The status of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol remains a matter of disagreement and tensions.[26][39]

Second Tymoshenko Government[edit]
Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yushchenko in February 2008

In February 2008 Russia unilaterally withdrew from the Ukrainian-Russian intergovernmental agreement on SPRN signed in 1997.[40]

During the Russo-Georgian war, relations between Ukraine and Russia soured, due to Ukraine's support and selling of arms to Georgia. According to a Russian Investigative Committee 200 members of the Ukrainian UNA-UNSO and "full-time servicemen of the Ukrainian army" aided Georgian forces during the fighting. Ukraine denied the accusation.[41] Further disagreements over the position on Georgia and relations with Russia were among the issues that brought down the Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defence + Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko coalition in the Ukrainian parliament during September 2008[42] (on December 16, 2008 the coalition did remerge with a new coalition partner, the Lytvyn Bloc[43]).

During the 2008 South Ossetia war relations with Russia also deteriorated over the new rules for the Russian Black Sea Fleet to obtain permission when crossing the Ukrainian border, which Russia refused to comply with.[44][45]

On October 2, 2008 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of supplying arms to Georgia in the recent South Ossetia War. Putin also claimed that Moscow had evidence proving that Ukrainian military experts were present in the conflict zone during the war. Ukraine has denied the allegations. The head of its state arms export company, Ukrspetsexport, said no arms were sold during the war, and Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov denied that Ukraine's military personnel fought on the side of Georgia.[46] General Prosecutor of Ukraine confirmed on September 25, 2009 that there was no personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces participated in the 2008 South Ossetia War, no weapons or military equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were present at the conflict, and no help was given to the Georgian side. Also in the declaration the Ukrainian officials informed that the international transfers of the military specialization equipment between Ukraine and Georgia during the 2006-2008 were conducted in accordance with the earlier established contracts, the laws of Ukraine, and the international treaties.[47]

In Denikin's diaries he has a discussion about Big Russia and Little Russia - Ukraine. He says that nobody should be permitted to interfere in relations between us, they have always been the business of Russia itself.

Russian PM Putin after laying a wreath at the grave of Anton Denikin (May 24, 2009)[48]

Russia's heavily opposed to Ukraine and Georgia becoming members of NATO.[nb 1][49] [50][51] According to a document uncovered during the United States diplomatic cables leak Putin “implicitly challenged" the territorial integrity of Ukraine at the April 4, 2008, NATO-Russia Council Summit in Bucharest, Romania.[52]

Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, November 2009

During a January 2009 dispute about natural gas prices supplies of Russian natural gas through Ukraine were shut.[53] Relations further deteriorated when Russian Prime Minister Putin during this dispute said that "Ukrainian political leadership is demonstrating its inability to solve economic problems, and [...] situation highlights the high criminalization of [Ukrainian] authorities"[54][55] and when in February 2009 (after the conflict) Ukrainian President Yushchenko[56][57] and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry considered Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's statement that Ukraine must compensate for gas crisis losses to the European countries an "emotional statement which is unfriendly and hostile towards Ukraine and the EU member-states".[58][59] During the conflict the Russian media almost uniformly portrayed Ukraine as an aggressive and greedy state that wanted to ally with Russia’s enemies and exploit cheap Russian gas.[32]

After a "master plan" to modernize the natural gas infrastructure of Ukraine between the EU and Ukraine was announced (on March 23, 2009) Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told an investment conference at which the plan was unveiled that it appeared to draw Ukraine legally closer to the European Union and might harm Moscow's interests.[60] According to Putin "to discuss such issues without the basic supplier is simply not serious".[60]

In a January 2009 US diplomatic cable (as revealed by WikiLeaks as a part of its United States diplomatic cables leak) (then) Ambassador of Ukraine to Russia Kostyantyn Hryshchenko stated that Kremlin leaders wanted to see a totally subservient to Moscow regency in Ukraine and that Putin “hated” then-President Yushchenko and had a low personal regard for Viktor Yanukovych but saw then-Prime Minister Tymoshenko as someone perhaps not that he can trust, but with whom he can deal.[61]

On 11 August 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev posted a videoblog on the Kremlin.ru website, and the official Kremlin LiveJournal blog, in which he attacked Viktor Yushchenko, for what Medvedev claims is the Ukrainian President's responsibility in the souring of Russia–Ukraine relations and "the anti-Russian position of the current Ukrainian authorities".[62] As a result of this alleged anti-Russian sentiment, Medvedev announced that he would not appoint a new Russian ambassador to Ukraine until such time as there was an improvement in the relationship.[63][64][65][66] In response to this letter by his Russian counterpart Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko wrote a letter back in which noted he could not agree that the Ukrainian-Russian relations had run into problems and wondered why the Russian President completely rules out the Russian responsibility thereupon.[67][68][nb 2] Analysts said Medvedev's message was timed to influence the campaign for the Ukrainian presidential election, 2010.[63][70] The U.S. Department of State (in response to the videoblog) said it was "not sure that these comments are necessarily" and also stated "Ukraine has a right to make its own choices, and we feel that it has a right to join NATO if it chooses"[71] (the United States has supported Ukraine’s bid to join NATO despite Russia’s objections since the Ukrainian governments proposal to join the NATO Membership Action Plan in January 2008[72][73][74]).

On October 7, 2009 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented that the Russian Government wants to see economy prevail in Russian-Ukrainian relations and that relations between the two countries would improve if the two countries would set up joint ventures, especially in small and medium-sized businesses.[75] At the same meeting in Kharkiv Lavrov stated that the Russian Government will not response to a Ukrainian proposal to organize a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents,[76] but that "Contacts between the two countries' foreign ministries are being maintained permanently."[77]

On December 2, 2009 Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov agreed on gradually abandoning the compilation of lists of individuals banned from entering their countries.[78]

2010s[edit]

Viktor Yanukovych Presidency[edit]
Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 17 May 2010 near Memorial to the Holodomor Victims in Kiev.
Vladimir Putin arrived at the 14th International Biker Rally in Sevastopol, Crimea, July 24, 2010

According to Taras Kuzio, Viktor Yanukovych is the most pro-Russian and neo-Soviet president to have been elected in Ukraine.[4] Since his election he fulfilled all of the demands laid out by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in his letter written to former President Viktor Yushchenko in August 2009.[4]

On April 22, 2010 Presidents Viktor Yanukovych and Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement concerning renting of the Russian Naval Forces base in Sevastopol in the next 25 years for the natural gas discounts in deliveries which accounted for $100 per each 1,000 cubic meters.[79][80][81] The lease extension agreement was highly controversial in and outside of Ukraine.[4]

On May 17, 2010, the President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Kiev on a two-day visit.[82] During the visit Medvedev hoped to sign cooperation agreements in inter-regional and international problems, according to RIA Novosti. That also was mentioned on the official inquiry at the Verkhovna Rada by the First Deputy prime-minister Andriy Kliuyev. According to some news agencies the main purpose of the visit was to solve the disagreements in the Russian-Ukrainian energy relations after Viktor Yanukovych agreed on the partial merger of Gazprom and Naftogaz.[83] Apart from the merger of the state gas companies there are also talks of the merger of the nuclear energy sector as well.[84]

Both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (April 2010[5]) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (June 2010[6]) have stated they noticed a big improvement in relations since Viktor Yanukovych Presidency.

On May 14, 2013 an unknown veteran of unknown intelligence service Sergei Razumovsky, leader of the All-Ukrainian Association of Homeless Officers, who resides in Ukraine under the Ukrainian flag calls on creation of Ukrainian-Russian international volunteer brigades in support of the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria to fight rebels.[85][86][87] One of the reasons why Rozumovsky wants to create such brigades is the fact that government of Ukraine does not support its officer corps.[88] Because of that Rozumovsky has intentions to apply for citizenship of Syria.[89][90] Some sources claim that he is a Kremlin's provocateur.[91]

On July 17, 2013 near the Russian coast of Azov Sea which is considered as internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine (no boundary delimitation), the Russian coast guard patrol boat collided with a Ukrainian fishing vessel.[92] Four fishermen died[93] while one was detained by Russian authorities on the charges of poaching.[94] According to the survived fisherman, their boat was rammed by Russians[95] and the fishermen were get fired as well, while the Russian law enforcement agency claimed that it was the poachers who tried to ran into the patrol vessel.[96] The Minister of Justice of Ukraine acknowledged that Russia has no jurisdiction to prosecute the detained citizen of Ukraine.[97] According to the wife of the survived fisherman, the Ukrainian Consul in Russia was very passive in providing any support on the matter.[98] The survived fisherman was expected to get released to Ukraine before August 12, 2013, however, the Prosecutor Office of Russia chose to keep the Ukrainian detained in Russia.[99]

On August 14, 2013 the Russian Custom Service stopped all goods coming from Ukraine.[100] Some politicians saw that as start of a trade war against Ukraine to prevent Ukraine from signing a trade agreement with the European Union.[101]

Another incident took place on the border between Belgorod and Luhansk oblasts when an apparently inebriated Russian tractor driver decided to cross the border to Ukraine along with his two friends on August 28, 2013.[102][103] Unlike the Azov incident that took place a month ago on July 17, 2013, the State Border Service of Ukraine handed over the citizens of Russia right back to the Russian authorities. Tractor "Belarus" was taken away and handed over to the Ministry Revenue and Collections.

In August 2013 Ukraine become an observer of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.[104]

Euromaidan and Crimean Crisis[edit]
March 15 protests, named the March of Peace, took place in Moscow a day before the Crimean referendum
Pro-Russian protesters in Odessa, March 30, 2014

On 17 December 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to lend Ukraine 15 billion dollars in financial aid and a 33% discount on natural gas prices.[105][106] The treaty was signed amid massive, ongoing protests in Ukraine for closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union.[107] Critics pointed out that in the months before the 17 December 2013 deal a change in Russian customs regulations on imports from Ukraine was a Russian attempt to prevent Ukraine to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union.[108][109][105]

The 2014 Crimean crisis is unfolding in the autonomous region of Crimea, Ukraine, in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, in which the government of President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted. Protests were staged by groups of mainly ethnic Russians who opposed the events in Kiev and wanted close ties or integration with Russia, in addition to expanded autonomy or possible independence for Crimea. Other groups, including Crimean Tatars, protested in support of the revolution.

On 27 February, armed men wearing masks seized a number of important buildings in Crimea, including the parliament building and two airports. They destroyed almost all phone and internet service between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine. Under siege, the Supreme Council of Crimea dismissed the autonomous republic's government and replaced chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea, Anatolii Mohyliov with Sergey Aksyonov. Kiev accused Russia of intervening in Ukraine's internal affairs, while the Russian side officially denied such claims. On 1 March, the Russian parliament granted President Vladimir Putin the authority to use military force in Ukraine, following a plea for help from unofficial pro-Moscow leader, Sergey Aksyonov. On the same day, the acting president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov decreed the appointment of the Prime Minister of Crimea as unconstitutional. He said, "We consider the behavior of the Russian Federation to be direct aggression against the sovereignty of Ukraine!"

On 11 March, the Crimean parliament voted and approved a declaration on the independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol from Ukraine, as the Republic of Crimea, with 78 votes out of 100 in favor.[110] Crimeans voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia on 16 March.[111][112] The Republic of Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine the next day, started seeking UN recognition, and requested to join the Russian Federation.[113] On the same day, Russia recognized Crimea as a sovereign state.[114][115]

On March 27, the U.N. General Assembly passed a non-binding Resolution 68/262 that declared the Crimean referendum invalid and the incorporation of Crimea into Russia illegal.[116][117]

At the 26 June 2014 session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that bilateral relations with Russia cannot be normalized unless Russia undoes its unilateral annexation of Crimea and returns its control of Crimea to Ukraine.[118]

Popular opinion[edit]

Generally in opinion polls Russians say they have a more negative attitude towards Ukraine than vice versa.

Polls in Russia have shown that after top Russia’s officials made radical statements or took drastic actions against Ukraine the attitude of those polled towards Ukraine worsened (every time). The issues that have "hurt" Russians’ view of Ukraine are:

According to experts the Russian Government likes to cultivate the image "Ukraine is an enemy" to cover up its own internal mistakes.[citation needed] Analysts like Philip P. Pan (writing for the Washington Post) have argued that Russian media portray the Government of Ukraine as anti-Russian.[119]

Parallel polls released on November 5, 2009 showed that about 67% of Ukrainians think the relationship should be a friendship between “two independent states”, while 55% of those polled in Russia share that concept.[120]

Russian attitudes towards Ukraine
Opinion October 2008[121] April 2009[122] June 2009[122] September 2009[123] November 2009[120] September 2011[124] February 2012[124]
Good 38% 41% 34% 46% 46% 68% 64%
Negative 53% 49% 56% 44% 44% 25% 25%

Note: 80% had a “good or very good” attitude towards Belarus during 2009.[123]

Ukrainian attitudes towards Russia
Opinion October 2008[121] June 2009[125] September 2009[123] November 2009[120] September 2011[124] January 2012[124] April 2013[126]
Good 88% 91% 93% 96% 80% 86% 70%
Negative 9% - - - 13% 9% 12%

Polls in Russia in the 1990s showed that a majority of Russians could not accept the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the independence of Ukraine.[127] According to a 2006 poll by VCIOM 66% of all Russians regretted the collapse of the Soviet Union.[128] 50% of respondents in Ukraine in a similar poll held in February 2005 stated they regret the disintegration of the Soviet Union.[129] In 2005 (71%) and 2007 (48%) polls Russians expressed a wish to unify with Ukraine; although a unification solely with Belarus was more popular.[130][131] According to a 2012 poll by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and Levada Center 72% of Ukrainian and 60% of Russian respondents said that they wanted to see their countries independent but friendly states with open borders without visas or customs; the number of unification supporters shrunk by 2% to 14% in Ukraine and increased by 4% to 20% in Russia.[132]

Visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens
  Visa free
  Visa issued upon arrival
  Visa required prior to arrival

Late 20th century there were still members of the Russian political elite that claimed that Ukrainian is a Russian dialect and that Ukraine (and Belarus) should become part of the Russian Federation.[133] In a June 2010 interview Mikhail Zurabov, then Russian ambassador to Ukraine, stated "Russians and Ukrainians are a single nation with some nuances and peculiarities".[134] A late 2011 poll by Levada Center showed 53% of polled Russians preferred friendship with an independent Ukraine and 33% did prefer Ukraine to be under Russia's economic and political control (15% was undecided).[135]

Although a large majority of Ukrainians voted for independence in December 1991 the following years the Russian press portrayed the independence Ukraine as the work of "nationalists" who “twisted” the "correct" instincts of the masses according to a 1996 study.[136] The study argues that as a result of this the presumption in the Russian popular opinion became that the Ukrainian political elite is the only thing standing in between the "heartfelt wish of the Ukrainians" to reunite with Russia.[136]

Ukrainian history is not treated as a separate subject in leading Russian Universities but rather incorporated in the History of Russia.[137]

Treaties[edit]

Territorial claims[edit]

Claims by the Russian Federation (former and current)[edit]

  • Crimea. Russia lays claims onto territory of Crimea by the resolution #1809-1 of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation "On legal evaluation of decisions of the supreme bodies of state power of the RSFSR about changing the status of Crimea that was adopted in 1954" (May 21, 1992) Russia again claims Crimea in 2014.
    • Tuzla Island and Strait of Kerch (Kerch)
    • Sevastopol city. Russia lays claims onto territory of Sevastopol by the resolution #5359-1 of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation "About the status of Sevastopol City". Russia also accuses Ukrainian side of non-cooperation in talks about the status of Sevastopol by the resolution #404-SF of the Council of Federation of the Russian Federation "About commission of the Council of Federation in preparation the issue about legal status of Sevastopol city".
  • Sea of Azov

Claims by Ukraine[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ After the two countries were denied membership of the NATO Membership Action Plan (at the NATO summit 2008 in April 2008) Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin stated in December 2008: "They will not invite these bankrupt scandalous regimes to join NATO...more so as important partnerships with Russia are at stake", after an earlier statement that "In the broad sense of the word, there is a real threat of the collapse of the Ukrainian state.” Ukraine’s envoy to NATO Ihor Sahach replied: "In my opinion, he is merely used as one of cogs in the informational war waged against Ukraine. Sooner or later, I think, it should be stopped". The envoy also expressed a surprise with Rogozin's slang words. "It was for the first time that I heard such a higher official as an envoy using this, I even don’t know how to describe it, whether it was slang or language of criminal circles... I can understand the Russian language, but, I’m sorry, I don't know what his words meant".[49][50]
  2. ^ In the letter Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko called Ukraine's position on the 2008 events in Georgia coincident with "the known positions of virtually all other countries" with "an exceptional respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of Georgia or any other sovereign states", called arms trade with Georgia legal since Georgia has not been and now is not a subject of any international sanctions or embargo, objected to Russian criticism about Ukraine joining NATO (emphasizing that the desire of Ukraine to membership in NATO was in no way directed against Russia and the final decision on accession to NATO will be held only after a national referendum), accused the Black Sea Fleet of "gross violations of bilateral agreements and the legislation of Ukraine", accused Russia of trying "to deprive Ukraine of its view of its own history" and accused Russia that not Ukraine but Russia itself is "virtually unable to realize the right to meet their national and cultural needs" of the Ukrainian minority in Russia.[69]
  3. ^ The status of the Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is currently under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider the Crimea to be an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol to be one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers the Crimea to be a federal subject of Russia and Sevastopol to be one of Russia's three federal cities.[149][150][151]

References & footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "After Russian Invasion of Georgia, Putin's Words Stir Fears about Ukraine", Kyiv Post (30 November 2010)
  2. ^ Reynolds, Paul (2008-03-03). "Russia: World watching for any change". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  3. ^ The rifts behind Europe's gas row, BBC News (January 8, 2009)
  4. ^ a b c d The Crimea: Europe’s Next Flashpoint?, By Taras Kuzio, November 2010
  5. ^ a b Russia and Ukraine improve soured relations - Russian President, RIA Novosti (May 16, 2010)
  6. ^ a b Putin satisfied with state of Ukrainian-Russian relations, Kyiv Post (June 28, 2010)
  7. ^ "Ukraine suspends military cooperation with Russia". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Kievan Rus, in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition (2007)
  9. ^ Gumilev, Lev (2005). Ot Rusi k Rossii. AST. ISBN 5-17-012201-2. 
  10. ^ Shambarov, Valery (2007). Kazachestvo Istoriya Volnoy Rusi. Algorithm Expo, Moscow. ISBN 978-5-699-20121-1. 
  11. ^ 31 серпня 1919 року. Як галичани з денікінцями Київ звільняли(August 31, 1919. How Galicians and Denikians liberated Kiev (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. .
  12. ^ see Ukrainian Civil War combatants include Anarchists, White Russians, Bolsheviks, Central Powers, Ententes and those of short-lived Ukrainian governments.
  13. ^ See Belavezha Accords
  14. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor(April 16, 2013)
  15. ^ Yushchenko Praises Guilty Verdict Against Soviet Leaders For Famine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (14 January 2010)
  16. ^ "Кабінет Міністрів України, Російська Федерація; Угода, Міжнародний документ вiд". Zakon.rada.gov.ua. 1999-10-08. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  17. ^ Molchanov, Mikhail A. (2002). Political culture and national identity in Russian-Ukrainian relations. Texas A&M University Press. pp. 235–6. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  18. ^ 2001 Political sketches: too early for summing up, Central European University (January 4, 2002)
  19. ^ Charles, Jonathan (2004-12-25). "Angry mood in eastern Ukraine - Voters in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine will go to the polls on Sunday in an angry mood". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
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External links[edit]

Media related to Relations of Russia and Ukraine at Wikimedia Commons