Calling Russians non-indigenous in Ukraine ‘funny, stupid’ — Putin

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MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Calling Russians a non-indigenous people of Ukraine is not only incorrect but funny and stupid, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview aired Wednesday.

“It is an obvious fact that the people who joined the Russian state with these territories were calling themselves Russians. Therefore, to speak about Russians as a non-indigenous people is not simply incorrect, but funny and stupid,” Putin said. “This does not correspond to history at all.”

Speaking about his own attitude to the Ukrainian bill “on indigenous peoples,” Putin recalled the history of Ukraine. He noted that people who lived in modern Ukraine in the 17th century “considered themselves and called themselves Russians and Orthodox Christians.”

Putin regretted that he could not talk about it in detail within the TV interview format.

“By the way, you’ve suggested a good idea: to speak about it in more substance and detail. Maybe, I should prepare a dedicated article, as I did in regards to the beginning of the World War I. I will think about it,” he added.

About the bill

On May 18, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced the introduction of the bill on indigenous peoples of Ukraine protection of their rights/. According to the bill, the indigenous people of Ukraine is the autochthonous ethnic community, formed on the Ukrainian territory, which carries the language and culture, has traditional, social, cultural or representative bodies, considers itself an indigenous people of Ukraine, constitutes an ethnic minority in the Ukrainian population and does not have a state entity outside of Ukraine.

This definition means that Russian cannot be considered indigenous people in Ukraine. The bill also defines indigenous peoples of Crimea, which include Crimean Tatars, Karaims, and Krymchaks.