Patrushev’s Remark Suggests Kremlin Worried About Ukrainian ‘Green Wedge’ In Far East – OpEd


The remarks of Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, that Western governments are only the tool of major capitalist groups, that Russia is the only reliable defense against them, and that because this is so the West wants to destroy Russia and reduce it to the size of 15th century Muscovy have attracted the most attention.

But another comment he made in his Argumenty i fakty interview may be more important than these ideological pronouncements. For the first time in decades, a senior Moscow official has referred to the Ukrainian community in the Russian Far East, a sign Moscow is worried (

Specifically, Patrushev noted that “in the southern parts of the Far East, given the large share of those who resettled there already during the times of [tsarist prime minister Pyotr] Stolypin, a significant number of residents consider the culture of the Ukrainian people to be their native one.” 

Ukrainians refer to regions in the Russian Federation as “wedges.” The one in the Far East, between Vladivostok, Vostok and Khabarovsk, is known as the green wedge. Others like the one along the border with Kazakhstan or in the Kuban are known by different colors, in those two cases as the blue and the almond.

Moscow has worked long and hard to suppress Ukrainian language and culture in these places and in the last several years has been alarmed that Kyiv has taken up the cause of these communities ( and

Senior Russian officials have contributed to this effort at ethnic effacement by not mentioning these groups at all. Patrushev’s violation of this tradition suggests that the Kremlin is increasingly worried about the attitudes of these groups and may take new steps to repress still more vigorously any manifestation of Ukrainian culture there.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *