Video | Why does Putin claim that Russia and Ukraine are the same state? | Videos
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Days before the start of the war, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, launched an institutional message in which he included several references to the common history between Ukraine and Russia. “Ukraine has never had a true tradition as a state” or “modern Ukraine was created entirely by Russia” he assured during this speech. The Russian leader was thus trying to justify an invasion that would begin on February 24 and that is still going on almost two months later. But it was not the first time that the Kremlin had referred to this joint past. Putin himself launched last summer an article on the official website of the Russian government titled On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians, in which he extensively discusses this topic. But do these ideas hold up historically? What is the common origin to which Putin refers? To what time would we have to go back to remember this idea of unity?
In the video that accompanies this news, José María Faraldo, a historian specializing in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, explains the common past between both nations. In addition, Faraldo details how Putin has gone in recent years from attending the parades celebrating Ukraine’s independence to trying to manipulate this history to justify the war. A speech that he has made him call the year 1991 – the moment in which the Soviet Union dissolves and Ukraine ceases to be linked to Russia – a “historical error”.
This video offers a visual tour through various maps explaining how the borders of Eastern Europe have fluctuated since the 9th century, and how the relationship between Ukraine and Russia has been throughout this period of time.