If Western Ukraine and Eastern Ukraine can’t get along, can they split and live happily every after? Theoretically yes, but practically it is very difficult to do, if not altogether impossible. Here are the reasons:
- Western Ukraine has a very strong influence politically but most of the industrial centers are located in Eastern Ukraine. Western Ukraine does not want to let them go. There are simply not enough jobs in Western Ukraine. Many Western Ukrainian women get hired in Russia as maids and house help. I have seen many Western Ukrainians in Odessa (a very large Black sea port with more than a million population), where I visit with my parents. They are hired to pave roads and dig ditches for water pipes. The fact is: Western Ukraine is more rural and has less economic opportunities.
- Eastern Ukraine does not even want to be an independent country but would rejoin Russia as Crimea already did. In fact, Eastern Ukraine was termed “Little Russia” or “Russia Minor” (while Russia was “Russia proper”).
- Eastern Ukraine is not totally united either. The divide is not geographical but chronological. Many younger people lean towards westernization of Ukraine and older people consider such leanings betrayal of the “Motherland”. So there are rifts inside many families. My family is not an exception.