Timothy Snyder writes: Last weekend Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the most famous of Russia’s political prisoners, spoke to tens of thousands of Ukrainians on the main square in Kiev, the Maidan. Khodorkovsky told them what they already knew: that Ukrainian citiznes from all walks of life, of all ethnicities, had suffered for and won their freedom in a revolution for dignity and decency.
What language did Khodorkovsky speak in Kiev? Russian, of course, his native language, and a language most Ukrainians speak. Most Ukrainians are bilingual and many Ukrainians in Kiev speak Russian rather than Ukrainian at home. Ukrainians are cosmopolitan in a way that most of us are not. Unfortunately, we reward them for it by not noticing that they are bilingual, dividing them into groups of Russian- and Ukrainian-speakers, drawing the conclusion that there are two nations instead of one — and thereby preparing ourselves for Putin’s war propaganda. [Continue reading…]