Yesterday, August 24, was the twenty-first anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union. Ukraine is one of my absolute favorite countries – I was there for two or three days in 2009 and I have spent three years now wishing I could go back – so I decided to prepare a nice little post as a tribute to this country.
Before it became independent in 1991, Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union and before that, the Russian Empire. For much of its history, it has been ruled over by various people, such as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Even though it was not an independent state for much of modern history, Ukraine has a distinct language and culture.
Despite the fact that the Ukrainian language was often repressed (both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union practiced policies of Russification), it is a rich and vibrant language today. Though it is closely related to Russian and is part of the East Slavic subgroup along with Russian, it has had a heavy Polish influence and is distinct from the Russian language. I have never properly studied it, but I can understand quite a bit of it when it’s spoken. To compare it to Russian, consider the title of this post: З днем незалежності. In Russian, that is С днём независимости. Close, but not exactly the same.