Why do Russian-Ukrainian relations concern every Russian and Ukrainian? To some extent, what is happening is a delayed civil war, which could have happened in the early 1990s with the collapse of the USSR, when the first generation of Russian and Ukrainian leaders boasted that they had avoided a bloody divorce like the one in Yugoslavia.
In Russia, every other person has relatives in the neighboring country, and what is happening there is more a matter of domestic politics. For example, if the Ukrainian government closes Russian Orthodox churches or bans a pro-Russian opposition political party, the story gets immediate coverage on state TV and Russian politicians issue statements.
All post-Soviet countries gained independence on the same day, and each of these states is in some way an experiment in state-building; in establishing foreign and domestic political strategies.
The peculiarity of the Ukrainian state experiment is underscored by the following dilemma: How is it possible to reconcile the two pillars of Ukrainian statehood – Galician Ukraine and the eastern Russian community? At some point, people representing the western regions had a stick in their hands, and they began to use it in their dialogue with representatives of the east — that is why the last Maidan won. The path along which the Ukrainian experiment has developed reflects a gradual curtailment of the presence and interests of Russian identity.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, when trying to enlist support in the east of the country during the elections, promised that he would never ban the teaching of Russian in schools, that he would ensure the status of Russian as a language when communicating with government agencies, and that he would protect the memory of the Great Patriotic War. As soon as he came to power, it became clear that his intentions were to do the exact opposite.