Not Polarized

I only found out that there was supposed to be some deep-seated conflict between the East and the West of Ukraine after emigrating to Canada. It’s all a myth. There is no “civil war” and no language conflict. Everybody is bilingual, nobody cares what language anybody speaks, ethnicity is not a concept anybody understands, and there are no “ethnic Russians.” This was all completely invented by propagandists and eagerly embraced by some Westerners who are projecting their own obsessions on regions they don’t understand.

“Ethnic Russians” is a weird calque from English that I never heard anybody in Ukraine use. We now use it as a joke that’s funny without any additional explanations. Somebody goes, “ethnic Russians,” and everybody collapses with laughter.

Also, since I’m on the subject, somebody asked me recently if Ukrainians are woke. I replied that it’s impossible because we have a sense of humor. We live to take the piss. “Earnest” is a word I use exclusively for mockery. We are not naive, wide-eyed people. We are cynical and jaded. This was true before the war. Imagine what it will be after.

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