Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora
Many Russians refuse to acknowledge that through language, history, politics and culture, Ukraine is a sovereign state independent of Russia. What is a nation-state and who gets to determine its right to exist?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
A nation-state is a sovereign state (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_state) with an independent government. It differs from a non-state nation, for example, in the case of Wales, which is a nation with a clear-cut national sense of identity and even a national anthem, a very beautiful one. Have a listen to the above-linked video.
Oh, did I forget to mention, it is in Welsh. One of the reasons it is so downright beautiful. Recall that the word “bard” is Welsh. However, very sadly, Wales is not a nation-state. Its government is in London and it is therefore ruled by aliens who have a history of persecuting Welsh national leaders like Owain Glyndŵr. Ironically, though, this beautiful country (did you see those radiant faces in the video?), has arguably the strongest sense of national identity of any nation in Europe. The point I am trying to make is that this notion of a nation-state can be blurred and that the definition promoted by the Establishment can seem considerably less appealing and appropriate than any number of definitions accepted by this or that grassroots group.
Now, please do not take the following to be my personal opinion of this Russia vs Ukraine controversy. It is only intended to add to your knowledge so that you can form your own opinion in this extremely complex issue. The last thing I want is to be called a pro-Ukraine troll or a Kiev stooge (it happens all the time).
Any state with its own independent government is technically called a nation-state. But despite the name “nation-state,” most of the so-called “nations” in Europe, both national and EU, are beholden to two overweening autocratic powers, ie, the EU, which has deceived many countries into believing they could be both sovereign and yet bound by laws and trade rules made in Brussels by aliens, and also to the US via NATO, which has deceived its member states into believing that Russia is still a dangerous enemy when in fact it is the most orderly nation in the world and has the world’s best economy, as shown here (I had given an address at Quora in the original article):
My contention is that there are virtually no states in Europe that are actually nation-states. Most are ruled by aliens, ie, the EU and/or the US/NATO, and have lost their sovereignty without even realizing it.
So what has the US done to Ukraine? And is it a true nation-state or is is a vassal state of the US and, in part, the EU (which participated in the Maidan illegal and violent coup and falsely promised to make Ukraine an associate member of the EU)?
For those who care to know, you will need to dig deep into the history of the coup. Here are some articles to help you understand:
Ukraine’s Post-Maidan "Democratic Deficit" - Global Research
The US/NATO Orchestration of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine - Global Research
Worth pointing out is this quote from Consortium News (The Mess that Nuland Made):
“Carl Gershman, the neocon president of the U.S.-taxpayer-funded National Endowment for Democracy, explained the [US coup] plan in a Post op-ed on Sept. 26, 2013. Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward toppling Putin, who “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
For her part, Nuland passed out cookies to anti-Yanukovych demonstrators at the Maidan square, reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the U.S. had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations,” declared “fuck the EU” for its less aggressive approach, and discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who the new leaders of Ukraine should be. “Yats is the guy,” she said, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk.” [Indeed, Yats was elected, thanks to the US State Department’s meddling, though he quickly failed and was thrown out. So if we define nation-state as a self-governed state, then the notion of self-government becomes blurred in the case of Ukraine. Again, you decide].
Ok, it is worth noting that this Victoria Nuland was then the Assistant Secretary of State to Obama. This was interference in the affairs of another country by the US, a violation of the UN’s principle of non-interference.
Here is a paper by the UN on the princile of non-interference to help you assess what the US did in the Maidan:
While the Security Council clearly spells out that this principle militates in particular against interference “by force” I would point out that over 100 people, including Ukraine police officers, were shot by the coup participants, who were encouraged by the US. However, it is up to the reader whether you think this is interference by force.
Now as for the part of the question relating to history and culture, let us consider Vladimir I, grand prince of Kiev (Kyiv) and first Christian ruler in Kievan Rus, whose military conquests consolidated the provinces of Kiev and Novgorod into a single state, around the year 1000. Now there is no question that Novgorod was Russian, and the expression “Kievan Rus” above indicates that Kiev was then Russia.
So you need to ask yourself: is 1000 years long enough to establish that Kiev has historically been intimately associated with Russia? Yes? No?
As for the so-called “annexation” of Crimea, a more apt word would be “accession,” because a referendum showed that over 90% of Crimeans wanted to be Russian. But is this just Russian propaganda? The Ukrainian press reported that this referendum forced them at gunpoint to vote for the accession to the RF.
Again, there is no arguing about this because of the high emotions on both sides. So let’s take a look at a video of Putin’s first visit to Sevastopol, Crimea, in 2014 after the referendum.
Did you see any guns pointed at those cheering folks?
As for the use of language in Ukraine, in the upper left corner of this page is a map of Ukraine showing that the East speaks mostly Russian, while the centre has 25.6% speakers of mostly Russian.
The problem with all of these surveys is that they focused on which language the respondents considered their native language. What they all missed is the percentages that were able to communicate readily in Russian even though it was not their native language. Here is what I found out in the early 70s when I visited Kiev. Every single shop keeper and person on the street with whom I spoke was able to communicate perfectly in Russian. Based on the surveys, many of them would probably list Ukrainian as their “native” language in a poll. But that would not reflect the reality.
I think we can safely conclude from all this that the issue is extremely complex, and anyone who insists that all Ukrainians must be forced to speak only Ukrainian or anyone who insists that all Ukrainians must speak only Russian, is hopelessly biased and not worth listening to.
And that is exactly the position of the Russian government.
In the question and answer segment of a press conference filmed on video, Putin was once asked a question that revealed an anti-Ukrainian bias on the part of the Russian querier. He immediately shot back that he would not tolerate any expression of prejudice toward the Ukrainian people.
“They are our Slavic brothers,” he said.
Until now, outgoing President Pososhenko had shown extreme hostility to Russia and Russians.
So what will the new Ukrainiain President Volodymyr Zelensky say?