Relations between Ukraine and Russia are consistently complicated. One problem disappears, and the next immediately takes its place. Now, after the cheese war the Diaspora showdown is taking place: on May 18 the Supreme Court of Russia decided to liquidate the Union of Ukrainians of Russia.

As a reminder, the Supreme Court of Russia has sustained the lawsuit of the Russian Justice Ministry on liquidation of the Union of Ukrainians of Russia.

"Having listened to the explanations of the Justice Ministry and the Union, having studied the materials of the case and having listened to the debates, the Supreme Court decides to sustain the appeal of the Justice Ministry and to liquidate the public organization the Union of Ukrainians of Russia, excluding it from the list of legal entities," Judge Romenenko said.

According to Russian Justice Ministry, the leadership of the "Union of Ukrainians of Russia" was repeatedly warned and asked to stop violating the regulations of the Russian legislation and to make some adjustments to the activity of this public structure. The warnings were ignored.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry immediately slammed the decision, saying it was politically biased.

"Unfortunately, the Court ignored the work of new leadership of the Union aimed at improvement of flaws, revealed during inspections. Such decision has proved biased attitude to the activity of Ukrainian Diaspora. We believe such approach conflicts with the traditionally friendly relations between our people," the FM said in a statement.

The FM also called upon the Russian side to take principal position regarding the real support of legal self-organization of Ukrainian community in Russia as a part of friendly Ukrainian-Russian relationship.

Trying to clear up the situation ForUm has asked experts and politicians to explain what exactly is happening with Ukrainians in Russia.

Borys Nemtsov, oppositional Russian politician:

- Putin sees enemies everywhere, be it Ukrainians, Estonians, Georgians or anybody else. The only thing left to do is to cancel Yalta summit, he is not capable to do more.

Taras Chornovil, non-factional MP of Ukraine, deputy head of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs:

- This is an ostentatious spit in Ukraine's face. Russia is known for its attitude towards national minorities, but what is happening now is an explicit abuse. The state must react to such things and to defend citizens' rights in court. Otherwise they will continue treading down the country.

Bogdan Beniuk, national artist of Ukraine:

- I think in this situation there is a fault of the very union. The strength and spirit of an organization must be represented by the number of its representatives. But for several years there has been pressure on a Ukrainian migrant without any resistance from the latter. So they've come to a conclusion that they can do as they pleased.

I do not think the situation will have a development. The state structures are not interested in supporting public organziations. they do not have civil position and sense of responsibility for the events.

Volodymyr Ohryzko, former foreign minister of Ukraine:

- I see this situation as a continuation of a long-term strategy of the Russian government, which simply does not want to have partner relations with Ukraine, and the episode with the Union of Ukrainians of Russia is a clear example.

I really hope that the Ukrainian authorities will take necessary measures demanding respect to Ukrainian public organizations in Russia.

Volodymyr Kornilov, director of the Ukrainian branch of CIS Institute:

- The liquidation of the Union of Ukrainians of Russia is not the latest news. The union was liquidated last year by the decision of one of the district courts. The Supreme Court simply sustained the decision.

True, this fact has affected our relations, and the case has been actively discussed in both Foreign Ministries. But I am surprised with the fact that Ukrainian mass media discuss the liquidation of two out of many Ukrainian organizations in Russia making stress on Russian-Ukrainian relations, but at the same time forget about numerous liquidations of Russian organizations in Ukraine. Looks like a policy of double standards...

Andrey Okara, associate professor of Russian Academy under Russian President:

- How to react to the liquidation of the Union of Ukrainians of Russia? Earlier one could refer to a bureaucratic process or to interests of certain individuals... Now there is a belief that Ukrainian identity is pure evil, which poses threat to Russia's prosperity and which must be minimized.

Most probably the issue will be discussed at the highest level and a new union of Ukrainians will be formed. But it looks like this union will have no real authority and will avoid any pressing issues.


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