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Ukrainian national football hero Dovbyk dubbed 'Muscovite' by nationalist author after answering interview question in Russian

Ukrainian national football hero Dovbyk dubbed 'Muscovite' by nationalist author after answering interview question in Russian
A well-known Ukrainian author has slammed the country’s new footballing hero Artem Dovbyk as a “Muscovite” after he answered a journalist in Russian during an interview following the national team’s victory over Sweden on Tuesday.

Writing on Facebook, Larisa Nitsoi, who is famous for anti-Russian views, said that “Ukrainian heroes speak Ukrainian.”

“Dovbyk. What, again? A Muscovite, again? Where in God’s name do these Martians come from?” she wrote

The controversy came after Dovbyk scored an extra-time winner against Sweden in the 2020 European Football Championships, advancing the Ukrainian national team to the quarter-finals for the first time ever as an independent nation. Following the game, he was asked a question by a journalist in Ukrainian and replied in Russian, apparently uncomfortable in his country’s official language.

Dovbyk comes from the Cherkasy Region in central Ukraine, an area famous for the short-lived Kholodny Yar Republic – the last stand of Ukrainian nationalism in the 1920s before the country’s incorporation into the Soviet Union.

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Nitsoi’s latest outburst isn’t the first time she has criticized Ukraine’s national football team for speaking too much Russian. Last month, she slammed the squad for publishing an official playlist without a single song in Ukrainian.

On June 8, the team put together a Spotify tracklist including three Russian songs and just one from Ukraine. After a backlash, they released a new collection of 50 tunes – all of which were in English.

“It’s just trash,” she wrote. “First, the Ukrainian national football team publishes a playlist with Russian songs. Then he says that this is not their playlist – and publishes a new one, which is theirs, which does not include any Ukrainian songs.”

“Ukrainian football players publicly demonstrate their ‘Muscovitism,’” she said.

This controversy came after the Ukrainian Football Association upset Jewish groups and sparked outrage in Russia when it released a new design for the country’s kit. The yellow and blue shirt raised caused controversy by including a fascist rallying cry.

It was branded with the words “Slava Ukraini, Geroiam slava,” which translates into English as “Glory to Ukraine, glory to heroes.”

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UEFA later demanded “glory to heroes” be removed from the shirt for being “clearly political in nature, having historic and militaristic significance.”

The phrases have a long history in Ukraine, dating back to the 1800s. But in the two centuries since then, they have gained nationalistic connotations. Both terms were used by members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), groups that fought alongside the Nazis in World War II and played not-insignificant roles in the Holocaust.

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