A large majority of Ukrainians are taking a keen interest in their country’s history compared to a decade ago, according to a nationwide survey of adults conducted in the second half of January 2023 which was published last week.
Approximately 80 percent of respondents rated their interest in Ukrainian history as “quite” or “rather high,” the survey by the Kyiv International Institute for Sociology (KIIS) found.
Looking back on an assessment from a decade ago, just before Russia forcibly seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and covertly invaded the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Institute found that 69 percent of respondents said their interest in Ukrainian history had increased.
The survey, titled “Historical Memory,” said YouTube was their main source of information (53 percent), followed by social media (37 percent), television shows (35 percent), and books (29 percent).
Previous surveys after Russia’s initial invasion in 2014 had also shown surges in national pride and more favorable attitudes toward joining the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).
Regarding the human-engineered famine of 1932-1933 on the orders of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and his henchmen, the current survey found that an overwhelming majority, or 91 percent, deemed it a genocidal act.
Various historical accounts say that between 3 million and 10 million Ukrainians were starved by hunger in what is known as the Holodomor during that period.
Russia maintains that adverse weather conditions due during those years caused grain shortages not only in Ukraine but in parts of Russia and Kazakhstan.
Historians, however, have concluded that Soviet policies targeted Ukrainians while implementing a transitionary period of eliminating private farms and creating collectivized enterprises that included targeting farmers who resisted by depriving them of food and other necessities.
A further 64 percent said that Ukraine was a colony of Russia. And a full 85 percent of respondents believe the Soviet Union was jointly responsible, along with Germany, for starting World War II – a war that killed many millions of people from 1939 to 1945.
Regarding the freedom fighters during WWII - known as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) - 69 percent said that the partisan group fought every side that opposed its goal of creating an independent Ukraine, including both Nazi and Soviet forces.
The current Russo-Ukrainian war is the bloodiest on the European continent since WWII and has claimed at least 200,000 lives, in addition to alleged war crimes being committed by Kremlin autocrat Vladimir Putin.
On Feb. 24, 2022, he ordered a massive full-scale invasion of Ukraine in what current observers say is a war of genocide. Putin has more than once denied Ukraine’s right to statehood and asserts that Russians and Ukrainians are one people.
Eighty-one percent of Ukrainians harbor a negative view of the unprovoked Russian invasion, the KIIS survey found.
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