It's language. 

Language goes with culture. In the past, it has been used with devastating effects on many people's lives. The infamous Sykes-Picot agreement led to instability and so many bloody conflicts between different languages and cultures in the Middle East and surrounding regions.

The same is going on in Ukraine right now. No matter how strong a military power is, it can't conquest a land where no one is supporting it. The reason Putin was so confident when he declared war on Ukraine is that there actually are people advocating for Russia right there.

According to Wikipedia, 29.6% of Ukrainians list Russian as their native tongue. It's part of their identity and culture. What Ukraine has been doing for a while now is to force the use of Ukrainian as the first language down the throats of these people. Crimean and Donbass & Luhansk folks have a right to be angry. Russia took advantage of the situation and what follows is we have quite some developments in the last two decades. According to a Reuters language map (near the end of that article) alone, I'm going to predict that Putin's true target is to occupy a swathe of land running from full Luhansk to Odessa region, along with a bit in the north to boost. He may want to capture Kyiv, but it's just for propaganda and optics purpose. In any case, even the original goal is still a bit too big of a meal, but we can only watch what will happen this winter.

So what is the solution? Right now, there are few things the Ukranian government can do, and they can't go back in time to address the problem anymore. But this is a valuable lesson for all of us if we want to avoid similar future conflicts and loss of life. In an alternative world, Ukraine would adopt a great International Auxiliary Language, and respect its own citizens' preference to speak what they want. Those in the western part can talk in Ukrainian, those in the east are free to converse in Russian. When those people meet each other and there's no one knowing both tongues in the group, they'd take the IAL out to use. When people feel that their rights are recognized, dissent can't find the seeds to grow. Putin would have nothing to go for.

And that's why I think the world needs a great IAL, pronto.

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4 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:47 PM

People with Russian as their native language would likely complain about their children not being allowed to speak Russian in school the same if they are forced to speak Ukranian than if they are forced to speak an IAL instead. 

What are you talking about? Something "the same" something "than" something? I don't understand. At all. And no one should be 'forced' to speak IAL as 1st tongue, let alone children at school. The very nature of IAL is secondary - if something is forced, it's not a true IAL.

if something is forced, it's not a true IAL.

Why would that be the case? In what is the word true doing here?

In Ukraine, the Ukrainian government wanted Ukrainian to be the main language at places like schools while the Russian-speaking majority didn't want that to happen in Russian majority areas of the country. 

An IAL that's not spoken at school does nothing about that conflict.

The IAL can always be used at schools if Ukrainian & Russian kids want to talk.

With it around, there would be no decree to force Ukrainian tongue on Russian kids, and people in general. The Russians get what they want - to freely speak Russian in their areas. The Ukrainian government gets what it wants - stability, and the ability of smooth economic exchanges & other activities between regions of the country.

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