The situation in Crimea is stirring up passions in Sacramento’s Russian and Ukrainian communities.
On Afisha Radio’s morning and evening broadcasts, local Russian speakers Are calling in and speaking their minds.
But the radio is far from the only place the debate is taking place.
“(The) conversation’s going everywhere. Churches, stores, in family, in body shops. You know, people discuss and argue even, arguing. So it’s natural,” host Yuriy Korotkov said.
Immigrants from Russia and Ukraine have lived peacefully in the Sacramento area for decades – shopping at the same stores.. Going to the same churches.
But now, some are finding it very difficult to maintain that peaceful coexistence. Ukrainian American Nina Parke finds herself struggling with her own ethics.
“Oh my gosh. I’m trying to love everybody,” she said. “But if somebody is supporting Putin, I just don’t like those people. I would say even strongly hate.”
Parke now refuses even to buy Russian-made products.
Other Ukrainian-Americans here are genuinely afraid for their families who haven’t made it to America.
“My wife’s sister lives in Crimea and her brother lives in like mainland Ukraine, and you never know if they’re going to see each other again,” Nicolai Morozovsky said.
And yet, Morozovskiy says his political passions do not get in the way of his personal relationships here.
“I go to church with people from Russia, so we’re okay. We’re not fighting over this kind of stuff,” he said.
And Russian-Americans, like bakery owner Gina Tarasova, tell FOX40 the same thing.
“We have Russian customers, we have Ukrainian, we have American,” she said. “We love all of them people, yeah. God loves us. He loves every people.”
The most consistent theme we’ve heard from both Russian and Ukrainian-Americans is that they are Americans first.
Korotkov says even his most passionate radio listeners respect one another and agree to disagree.
You can listen to rebroadcasts Afisha radio’s local talk programs online at www.rusac.com.