- Ethnic group. At nearly 3 million or more than 2 percent of the total population, Ukrainians represent the thirdlargest nationality within the Russian Federation (in neighboring Ukraine, there are 37.5 million Ukrainians). Closely related to both Russians and Belarusians, Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnicity and are predominantly Eastern Orthodox, though a minority profess Greek Catholicism. The majority of Ukrainians residing in Russia use the Russian language in their daily lives, though many maintain some level of fluency in Ukrainian or Surzhyk, a Russian-Ukrainian patois.While the federal subjects adjacent to Ukraine (particularly Krasnodar Krai) and traditional Cossack areas (such as Orenburg) include significant numbers of ethnic Ukrainians, the diaspora is resident in every part of the Russian Federation, a legacy of both tsarist and Soviet settlement policies that favored Slavic settlement of peripheral areas of the Russian Empire/Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In the provinces of Chukotka, Magadan, and Khantiya-Mansiya, Ukrainians make up nearly one-tenth of the population. The political identity of Ukrainians within the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and contemporary Russia remains a hotly debated issue. Some estimates suggest that upward of 10 million citizens of the Russian Federation are of Ukrainian origin; however, policies of Russification and social pressure against the use of the Ukrainian language led to high levels of assimilation during the second half of the 20th century. Since 1991, a number of cultural organizations for the so-called Eastern Diaspora have been established in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other large cities, the most prominent of which is the Slavutych Society.See also National identity.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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