The Novoselytska AH of the Chernivtsi Oblast, where the Ukrainian population is a minority, does not distinguish between nationalities, and in communication freely move from one language to another. And there have never been any ethnic problems and manifestations of separatism.
By Dmytro Synyak
Maria Nikorych, head of the Novoselytska AH
It turned out that Maria Nikorych, head of the hromada, is a 100% Moldovan. Her last name is Moldovan, and her mother tongue is Romanian. She speaks it at home, and often at work.
“I myself do not admit moving in speech from Romanian to Russian, from Russian to Ukrainian, and then again to Romanian,” Mrs. Nikorych confesses. “For me, there is no difference between these languages. And never in life was here any separatism, Romanian inclinations, or preferences for Russia. We are not Romanians, although we have close ties with Romania, visit this country, for example, with concerts. We also have economic cooperation within the framework of pan-European and cross-border cooperation programmes.
According to Mrs. Nikorych, the Novoselytska AH appeared because its residents decided at a certain moment that such a configuration of the hromada would be most economically effective.
Hromadas’ polyethnicity is sometimes used as a barrier to forming capable AHs on their basis.
Therefore, in order to understand if the nationality of the AH head affects any national minorities, and whether these minorities can develop separatist movements in “their” amalgamated hromadas, I went to Bukovyna, exactly to the place, where the borders of three states – Ukraine, Romania and Moldova – converge.
Monument to Taras Shevchenko at the central square of the Novoselytska AH
Novoselytsia borders the famous Moldovan village of Marshyntsi. It is famous due to the fact that three renowned people's artists originate from here: singers Sofia Rotaru, Liliya Sandulesa and a famous cymbalist Georgy Agratina – all the national artists of Ukraine. People here recall famous Ivo Bobul, married to Liliya Sandulesa, and the native of Novoselytsia Mykola Mozgovyi.
Sofia Rotaru is a renown person from the neighbouring village
Materials about all this are collected in the village museum, headed by Aurelia Bordiyan on a voluntary basis.
National Amateur Folk-Ethnographic Team "Tserenkutsa”
Director of the museum Aurelia Bordiyan
“There are no Ukrainians in our village, but we all understand Ukrainian, and many speak it freely,” adds Georgiy Nikitovych, Marshyntsi village head, with a smile.
Georgiy Nikitovych, Marshyntsi village head
There is a feast in Novoselytsia today – a great school concert, and most children wear Ukrainian embroidered costumes.
Most children at the school concert wear Ukrainian embroidered shirts
Every second resident of the Novoselytska AH either dances or sings
“Ukrainian-language classes appeared at school at the request of our parents – ethnic Moldovans,” says Inna Kalistruk, director of the Novoselytsia Rayon Lyceum, whose father is Moldovan, and whose mother is Ukrainian. “They believe the Ukrainian language is more promising. Romania itself does not in any way support the study of the Romanian language in Ukraine; instead, we have been participating in the bilingual education project of the OSCE and the Ukrainian Ministry of Education for the second year in a row. It’s aim is that Ukrainians living in the hromada would know Romanian, while Moldovans – know Ukrainian language...
Inna Kalistruk, director of the Novoselytsia Rayon Lyceum
That day I was lucky to meet one of the few representatives of once numerous Jewish diaspora. Semen Weinberg knows not only Ukrainian, Russian and Romanian, but Yiddish as well.
Semen Weinberg, representative of Jewish diaspora
Irrespective of how much I asked the Moldovans and Ukrainians about any national problems, I did not hear any complaints: residents of the Novoselytska hromada do not distinguish between nationalities. So I take the courage to say that amalgamation of Hungarian and Bulgarian villages in hromadas would bring no harm, but only benefits. At least, Novoselytsia in Bukovyna has already checked this.
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