Vladimir Putin's article "On assessing the unity of Russians and Ukrainians"

Recently, answering a question about Russian-Ukrainian relations during the Direct Line, he said that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, a single whole. These words are not a tribute to some conjuncture, current political circumstances. I spoke about this more than once, this is my conviction. Therefore, I consider it necessary to state in detail my position, to share assessments of the current situation.


Let me emphasize right away that I perceive the wall that has arisen in recent years between Russia and Ukraine, between parts of, in fact, one historical and spiritual space, as a great common misfortune, as a tragedy. First of all, these are the consequences of our own mistakes made in different periods. But also the result of the purposeful work of those forces that have always sought to undermine our unity. The formula that is applied is known from time immemorial: divide and conquer. Nothing new. Hence the attempts to play on the national question, to sow discord among people. And as the most important task - to divide, and then pit parts of a single people against each other.


To better understand the present and look into the future, we must turn to history. Of course, within the framework of the article it is impossible to cover all the events that have taken place over more than a thousand years. But I will focus on those key, turning points that it is important for us, both in Russia and in Ukraine, to remember.


Both Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are the heirs of Ancient Russia, which was the largest state in Europe. Slavic and other tribes in a vast area - from Ladoga, Novgorod, Pskov to Kiev and Chernigov - were united by one language (now we call it Old Russian), economic ties, the power of the princes of the Rurik dynasty. And after the baptism of Russia - and one Orthodox faith. The spiritual choice of St. Vladimir, who was both Novgorod and the great Kiev prince, and today largely determines our relationship.


The Kiev princely table occupied a dominant position in the Old Russian state. This has been the case since the end of the ninth century. The words of Prophetic Oleg about Kiev: "May this be the mother of Russian cities" - preserved for posterity "The Tale of Bygone Years".


Later, like other European states of that time, Ancient Russia faced a weakening of the central government, fragmentation. At the same time, both the nobility and ordinary people perceived Russia as a common space, as their Fatherland.


After the devastating invasion of Batu, when many cities, including Kiev, were devastated, fragmentation intensified. North-Eastern Russia fell into the dependence of the Horde, but retained limited sovereignty. The southern and western Russian lands basically became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which, I want to draw attention to this, was called the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Russia in historical documents.


Representatives of princely and boyar families passed to the service from one prince to another, were at enmity with each other, but also made friends, made alliances. On the Kulikovo field, next to the Grand Duke of Moscow, Dmitry Ivanovich, the voivode Bobrok from Volhynia, the sons of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Olgerd, Andrey Polotsky and Dmitry Bryansky, fought. At the same time, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Jagiello, the son of the Tver princess, led his troops to join Mamai. All these are pages of our common history, a reflection of its complexity and multidimensionality.


It is important to note that both in the western and eastern Russian lands they spoke the same language. Faith was Orthodox. Until the middle of the 15th century, a single church administration was maintained.


On a new round of historical development, both Lithuanian Rus and the strengthening Muscovite Rus could become points of attraction, consolidation of the territories of Ancient Russia. History decreed that Moscow became the center of reunification, which continued the tradition of ancient Russian statehood. Moscow princes - the descendants of Prince Alexander Nevsky - threw off the external yoke, began to collect historical Russian lands.


Other processes were going on in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the 14th century, the ruling elite of Lithuania converted to Catholicism. In the 16th century, the Union of Lublin with the Kingdom of Poland was concluded - the “Rzeczpospolita of Both Nations” was formed (in fact, Polish and Lithuanian). The Polish Catholic nobility received significant land holdings and privileges in the territory of Russia. According to the Union of Brest in 1596, part of the Western Russian Orthodox clergy submitted to the authority of the Pope. Polishization and Latinization were carried out, Orthodoxy was forced out.


As a response, in the 16th-17th centuries, the liberation movement of the Orthodox population of the Dnieper region was growing. The events of the time of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky became a turning point. His supporters tried to achieve autonomy from the Commonwealth.


In the petition of the Zaporizhian Army to the king of the Commonwealth in 1649, it was said about the observance of the rights of the Russian Orthodox population, that "the governor of Kiev was the Russian people and the Greek law, so that he would not step on the churches of God ...". But the Cossacks were not heard.


B. Khmelnitsky's appeals to Moscow followed, which were considered by Zemsky Sobors. On October 1, 1653, this highest representative body of the Russian State


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