Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on manifestations of Russophobia


We thank Kirill Vyshinsky and Dmitry Vasilets for their briefings. Each of them has a bitter personal story of exposure to Russophobia in Ukraine. They saw it from within and with their own eyes how this state was turning in a Russophobic “anti-Russia”.

Speaking of Mr.Snyder, we would very much appreciate it if he could provide examples of what he was so unabashedly lying about. Where did he hear hateful calls regarding Ukraine and Ukrainians on Russian television, both official and unofficial, that he referred to while apparently hoping that no one would bother to check? He will not be able to find such calls simply because there have not been any.

Mr.Snyder has long been known for his historical mystifications, whereby he strives to prove it that Russians allegedly had never lived in Ukraine and that this state has an independent history that dates hundreds if not thousands of years back. One can only feel sorry for him because all such tall tales and attempts at “historical engineering” break up against the facts of history. At the end of 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the notion “Ukrainians” was not used to call a people, but rather adherers of an ideology that opposed itself to Russia and tsarism. For lack of anyone else, in charge of them were ethnic Russians residing outside of the Russian Empire. For example, Mikhail Grushevsky, whose pseudo historical writings have become canonical in Ukraine and are being actively promoted in the West, in particular by Mr.Snyder himself. Or Mykola Mikhnovsky and Dmytro Dontsov who articulated principles of integral Ukrainian nationalism.  

By the way, those principles are quite uncouth and based (as in the German Nazi doctrine) on the idea of superiority of the Ukrainian nation over others. Their cornerstone principle goes as follows. “Moscals, Hungarians, Poles, and Jews are the enemies of the Ukrainian people”. This is why Russophobia so easily became the centerpiece of the ideology of independent Ukraine. This process expedited after the Orange Revolution of 2004 and especially after the unconstitutional coup of 2014.

We spoke about it already. I will repeat briefly, without going deep into historical details. According to the 2001 census, 17,3 % of Ukrainian population (mostly in eastern and southern areas) identified as ethnic Russians. Almost 30 % said Russian was their mother tongue. But indeed, as pointed out today by the briefers, way more people spoke Russian in their households and elsewhere. The fact that in 2004, 95 % of all books published in Ukraine were in Russian is evidence of how widespread the Russian language was in Ukraine by the time of the above-mentioned events.

The new nationalist authorities started off with a crackdown on the Russian language and everything that was Russian. They used education, movies, television to spread the idea that Russian meant alien. As a result, Ukraine brought up a new generation of people who believed (in the spirit of Mikhnovsky’s and Dontsov’s doctrines) that Russians were enemies and Ukrainians were a supernation, whom the Moscals “had robbed of everything”, including religion, language, literature, culture. They rewrote history, where those who collaborated with Nazis and committed heinous atrocities but promulgated “independent Ukraine” were praised as heroes. 

After the anti-constitutional coup of 2014 Ukraine completely turned into an “anti-Russia”, and Russophobia was elevated to the rank of state policy. The activists of Maidan never concealed their hateful Russophobic views, and foreign sponsors were perfectly aware of that. A few days after the deadly takeover, leader of extremist movement “Right Sector” D.Yarosh said that derussification was totally justified and required. Russophobic MP from Verkhovna Rada I.Farion called all Russian speakers mentally retarded. Mayor of Dnepropetrovsk B.Filatov called to “give whatever promises and guarantees to Russian-speaking rascals”. “We will hang them later”, he added.

I give these quotes so you understand what blatant Russophobia on the part of the new authorities Russian-speaking Ukrainians became exposed to after the 2014 coup. The authorities were ready to kill them, burn them down, which they demonstrated in May 2014 in Odessa, when they burnt alive 40 Russian-speaking activists in the Trade Union House.

Among the first things that the new regime did was an attempt to revoke the law “On the principles of state language policy”, according to which Russian had a status of regional language in 13 out of 24 Ukrainian oblasts. This was the step that provoked the secession of Crimea, where the majority of the population identify as Russians.

Threats of abolition of their native language and attempts to impose Nazi collaborators and criminals as heroes were the key reason for justified protests of the people of Donbas, where more than 80 % spoke Russian in everyday life. It must be noted that even the Maidan authorities realized that the language issue was very acute and could trigger a collapse of the country, that is why they put off cancelation of the mentioned law for a while. When signing the Minsk Agreements, Kiev even agreed for this law to stipulate a possibility for linguistic self-determination of the Donbas. As we know now, the Kiev regime never intended to deliver on those agreements.

For nine years, Ukrainian authorities were systematically eliminating everything they could relate to Russia. By doing so, they undermined the basis of the society that had shared a cultural and civilizational unity with Russia for centuries.

Six legislative initiatives that were adopted during P.Poroshenko's tenure ousted the Russian language completely out of all areas of public life. Tough language quotas were introduced in mass media. Attempts to discriminate the use of Russian in households became more frequent.  The measures taken were at odds not only with international treaties, but also with principles of the Constitution of Ukraine that were supposed to promote language, educational, and other rights of citizens and national minorities.  

I will skip the details of discriminatory processes that are underway in Ukraine with regard to the Russian language and those who speak it. The two briefers whom we invited today provided very meaningful insights into this matter. Instead, I will dwell on the role of President Zelensky. When campaigning before the elections, he promised to revise the language legislation that divided the already polarized Ukrainian society.

Now I will quote what he said on one of major Ukrainian TV channels before elected president. “In the East of Ukraine and in the Crimea, people want to speak Russian. Let them be! On legal grounds, give them this opportunity to speak Russian! Language will never divide our country. I am of Jewish blood, I speak Russian, but I am a Ukrainian national… Russia and Ukraine are the two brotherly nations indeed… We understand one another perfectly well”.  

Largely due to this position and also his promises to stop the civil war in Donbas, he collected three quarters of all votes at the 2019 presidential elections. However, he took a U-turn rather quickly and showed that all those things that were of essence to Ukrainians were but empty words to him. He ably adapted to the playbook of Kiev’s Western sponsors, who never really wanted for Ukraine to have inter-ethnic peace and good neighborly relations with Russia. While arming his country with Western assistance and preparing for a war with Russia under the guise of the Minsk Agreements (no doubts left thanks to the revelations by former leaders of France, Germany, and the UK), he made a number of steps to drive the Russian language and everything that was Russian out of Ukraine.

In 2020-2021 i.a. discriminatory laws “On secondary education”, “On indigenous peoples of Ukraine”, and “On national patriotic education” were adopted.

In September 2021, Zelensky called on all Ukrainians who thought themselves to be Russian to leave the country. He called it “an internal choice”: want to live in Ukraine and have a future for your kids and grandkids here? Then be Ukrainian, give up on your Russian identity. Those who were not willing to do this were offered an “incentive” – bombardments and artillery shellings or physical annihilation.

I emphasize that all those measures were not a retaliation to Russia’s actions. Those were own initiatives and targeted attempts to wipe out the Russian language and culture in Ukraine. It constituted a blatant violation of the rights of Russian-speaking population.

After February 2022, fight against the Russian language in Ukraine assumed grotesque forms that sometimes evoke terrifying associations with Nazism. Ukrainian officials without any reservations spoke of their hatred to everything Russian and an intention to get rid of the Russian people and language. Ukraine’s Ombudsperson for the matters of language T.Kremin said openly, “Ukraine for Ukrainians”. According to the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine O.Danilov, “the Russian language must disappear” from the territory of Ukraine. He called Russians “rats” who must be “removed” and “exterminated by all means possible”.    

Taking place in Ukraine is an all-out ban on the Russian language. Starting fall 2022, previous laws were supplemented by a complete ban on studying Russian at schools even as a foreign language. Our former Western partners give no reaction to this. They pioneer diversity and protection of national and cultural identity only at home. International mechanisms that are pro-Western or composed of Western representatives also fail to react. Refusal of Ms.Brands Kehris to brief us today is a telling example of this. Clearly, it would come unhandy to her and her colleagues to criticize Ukraine now, against the backdrop of this anti-Russian  mayhem.


There are lots of manifestations of Russophobia that is raging in Ukraine. Save what I mentioned, there is a campaign against Russian books that are being obliterated, as was the case in Nazi Germany. There is a shameful war on monuments and geographical names that have to do with Russia. Our briefers covered this extensively. In Ukraine today, one may become oppressed for speaking a Russian word or singing a Russian song, reading Russian news, typing a message in Russian on smartphone. This is a real language inquisition, which causes suffering and even deaths of innocent people.

All this happens today, in plain sight of our Western colleagues, who went just as far and started to prohibit everything Russian too. We see all these steps, which are motivated by your hatred to our country, language, religion, and culture that you take pains to conceal. There is no way how condemnation of our special military operation can explain the Russophobic outrage that has engulfed your countries.

Colleagues, there is one more aspect that I wanted to draw your attention to. It is the ongoing fight of the Kiev regime against the Canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine that does not formally relate to Russia. Kirill Vyshinsky spoke about it earlier today. We convened a Security Council meeting on this issue recently. I think many of you remember it.  Since then, the situation has but worsened.
The raider seizures of Orthodox churches and parishes throughout Ukraine were supplemented by plans to take away from the UOC its main shrine - the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Zelensky regime is going to do this on 28 March. This step threatens with an unprecedented surge of fratricidal intra-Ukrainian confrontation, and I want our Western colleagues to hear about this from us today. It is still not too late to check the Kiev regime, and it is in your power to do so.

In conclusion, we would like to underscore that we did not call this meeting to discuss Ukraine’s internal problems. Off-scale Russophobic campaign in that country that was started by Zelensky’s clique poses a direct threat to international peace and security, because in such circumstances, no peace and good neighborly relations with Ukraine are possible at all. We did and do want our Ukrainian colleagues to simply observe basic rights and freedoms, which our Western colleagues monitor so scrupulously at home. But somehow, when it comes to Ukraine they apply different standards. Let me ask this question to our Swiss neighbors. To be a Swiss, does one need to reject their Italian, French or German identity? Does this threaten integrity of your nation? If not, why don’t you criticize what the authorities in Kiev are doing to ethnic Russians? I hope you will give a frank assessment to their actions today. Russophobia cannot serve as a basis for a lasting and reliable peace in Europe. You need to realize this clearly.

I also do hope that you will spare us the need to listen to your arguments in the spirit “you had it coming”. As you could see today, Russophobia first emerged in Ukraine long before 24 February 2022. When justifying the appalling actions of your Kievan protégés and passing them off as a reaction to our actions, you not only humiliate yourselves, but also depreciate your notorious high standards and values and create risks that your societies may degrade to the low standards of Kiev. We would very much want to believe that you will be able to preclude this scenario after all.

Thank you.


Right of reply:


I would like to briefly comment on what we heard today.

Some of our colleagues made an energetic yet unconvincing attempt to find examples of hate speech against Ukraine and Ukrainians in Russian media space. Emotional words of some political scientists are firstly, their personal position. Secondly, this position does not cover all Ukrainians, but only nationalists and neo-Nazis and is a response to their Russophobic views. Quotes and references that you provided do not work, because they are not about Ukrainians. They are about the Kiev authorities. Let me ask you this, did you hear at least one call by Russia, all the more so by Russian officials, to deukrainize Ukraine or erase it from the world map? You did not hear any today either. We are not defending ourselves or diverting the attention as you put it. We are not bothered for ourselves, but for Ukrainians, and we try to explain where the current criminal regime in Kiev has led them. It all was happening long before February 2022.

I hope you will not put in one row opinions by political experts and statements by Ukraine’s highest leadership, its official representatives – President, Secretary of the Security and Defense Council, heads of foreign policy bodies, diplomats, governors. If we start digging in statements by Ukrainian political scientists and experts, quotes that we come across would hardly be possible to recite in this chamber due to their criminal and hateful essence.  

Thank you.

Video of the statement