President Vladimir Putin believes that Russia and Ukraine are “essentially the same nation,” and a rapprochement is inevitable, he told director Oliver Stone in an interview for his latest documentary.
Putin juxtaposed the common roots and Orthodox Christian religion of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples with the values of the Western world.
I, for one, believe that Russians and Ukrainians are one people. We are essentially the same nation.
Stone recorded an interview with Putin for the new documentary Revealing Ukraine he co-directed with Ukrainian-American filmmaker Igor Lopatenok. In it, the Russian leader referred to the history and the common religious beliefs of the two peoples.
“Everyone was Orthodox and everyone called themselves Russian. They didnt want to be a part of the Catholic world where Poland was trying to pull them,” he said.
He acknowledged the modern Ukrainians right to a national identity, however. “A lot of people in Ukraine believe they need to reinforce their identity, to fight for it. Here in Russia, nobody minds that. Including me.”