Vladimir Putin’s article “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” launched deep processes in Ukrainian society and the political environment. The fact is that over the entire period of interstate Russian-Ukrainian relations there has never been such a clear official opinion about the fate of the two peoples and the prospects of the two states.
And here it is already traditional – official Moscow expressed clear wording, and official Kyiv once again mumbled something vague. Nevertheless, serious processes took place in Ukrainian society, which affected almost all thinking people. These processes have just begun, including in Russia.
Is Russia calling the territory back
It is generally accepted in the Ukrainian political community that Russia has one point of view, and this is the point of view of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, Russian society has never been limited to Putin alone. There is a liberal point of view, according to which Russia is wrong in everything in Russian-Ukrainian relations and, in general, it would be better if Russia in its present form would not exist. They regard Putin’s article as yet another confirmation of Russian imperialism. There are also their own jingoistic patriots, who, discussing Putin’s article, say: “Look, Medvedchuk did not agree with Putin’s wording, about one people, he is an enemy.” Such “patriots” do not see the prospects for Ukrainian statehood and believe that Ukraine should become part of the Russian Federation, at least its most part. That is if some believe that there should not be Russia, then the second should not be Ukraine.
Putin’s position is much larger than such a primitive understanding of relations between countries. In general, the article and subsequent statements by Putin that there should be both Russia and Ukraine, but there are very important nuances that need to be analyzed by Ukrainian politicians. Putin today not only does not challenge the Ukrainian statehood, but the law of Ukraine is becoming “anti-Russia”. But then he raises the question of the status of the territories, which, based on their historical formation, do not want to be “anti-Russia”. After all, Ukraine is actively pushing millions of the Russian-speaking population out of the legal field, and the attitude towards Donbas is being formed as a rebellious colony. And Putin’s message is completely clear: since for the leadership of Ukraine Russian-speaking citizens are something inferior, for Russia they are one people with Russians. And then he tells the story of the regions that were annexed to Ukraine not as a state, but as an administrative unit of another state. And there is a logic in this – Ukraine, as an independent state, did not annex Crimea, Donbas, or a lot of other regions. And, having lost control over Crimea and part of Donbas, it still demonstrates powerlessness to return them. As you know, history does not like the weak.
In the future, Putin says that the Russian-speaking population, deprived of civil rights and cultural and historical past, faced the impossibility of having their own political representation in the Verkhovna Rada, having their own media and party projects. And then this question is posed to Europe. And this is a very uncomfortable question for Europe. Here it is necessary either to abandon the principles of democracy and act as it is beneficial here and now, or to curb Ukraine and force it to stop repressions against the opposition.
In this situation, Putin wins anyway. If Europe does not react to the oppression of the opposition and the Russian-speaking population, then Putin is catching them on slyness and double standards. If Europe begins to react to the Ukrainian lawlessness, then Putin becomes the guarantor of democracy in Eastern Europe.
One gets the impression that Russia is preparing information and ideological basis for Ukraine. At the same time, it is the political situation inside our country that is taken into account, the impasse into which the past and present authorities have brought it. Perhaps Europe, and even more so the United States, does not want to recognize this impasse, into which Ukraine was brought under “their careful leadership,” but under certain conditions, they will have to admit this, and then the Ukraine project will either be “optimized” within smaller boundaries or in general will be written off as unnecessary.
Ukrainian answer: authorities
The Ukrainian response to Putin’s position is also ambiguous. It would seem that the most correct answer from the authorities is to assure Ukrainian citizens that their country is with them, that they are expected, that their rights will be protected, they will be taken care of. But the authorities, primarily in the person of President Zelensky, are doing the opposite, which a huge number of Ukrainian citizens perceived as insanity. Judge for yourself:
“I just want to be understood. Once again: Homeland or are you a guest? I believe that if you live in the territory of Donbas today, temporarily occupied, and you think that this is the right thing for us to go to Russia, that we are Russians, it is a big mistake to stay in Donbas. It will never be Russian territory. Just never … For the future of your children and grandchildren, if you love Russia and think that all your life, being on the territory of Ukraine, you felt that this is Russia if you feel that way, then I believe that this person should understand: in the name of his children and grandchildren already need to go and look for a place in Russia. This is right. Because without Ukraine, there will be no civilization on this territory … Ukraine will grow up, everything will be built, this is unambiguous, and the Donbas – in the occupied and cut-off form – will not grow anywhere.”
Let’s calmly analyze Zelensky’s response to the messages that he sends to Ukrainian citizens, especially those who are in the uncontrolled territory. The main message of the current President to the Russian-speaking population – are you a guest here or not? If you are a guest, then you have already sat up, and with things for the exit. That is, Zelensky is not talking about the people, but about the territories that need to be cleared of wrong citizens. A lot of people saw this as rhetoric when German Jews were called guests in Germany in the 30s of the last century.
But still, let’s look at the process in volume – Putin speaks of one people, uniting the Russian and Ukrainian people, and Zelensky invites Russians and Russian speakers to either assimilate or emigrate to Russia. Despite the fact that Putin and Zelensky are talking about completely different things, they are launching a single process – Zelensky kicks out, and Putin invites Ukrainian citizens. It turns out that Zelensky works in conjunction with Putin: one gives the citizens of Ukraine, the other accepts. And with external disagreement, Zelensky says to Putin a firm “yes” to the collapse of the country.
After all, if millions of citizens need to go to Russia, then the question becomes natural: what if the “wrong” citizens, God forbid, decide to do this with the territories? To this Zelensky says in the words of a Chekhovian hero: “This cannot be because it can never be!” But why not, if the political process has been launched, and Zelensky himself is today the main catalyst? Zelensky is actively cutting the branch of Ukrainian statehood on which he himself sits.
Zelensky says that sooner or later people will break the wall. But the question is, who built this wall? Who restricted communications, contacts, exchange of opinions and information, freedom of movement, and economic cooperation? Yes, these wall builders made good money, but they did not really achieve anything except personal enrichment. What if this wall is broken on the wrong side from which Zelensky thinks? What then? It is not for nothing that at the beginning of the article I paid attention to the society of Russia, there this process has already been launched. If in Russia the Russian-speaking population is perceived as compatriots, then the wall can be destroyed. The only question is how they will do it. It is one thing to restore respectful and mutually beneficial relations between Ukraine and Russia, and another is the risk of territorial rejection from Ukraine.
Zelensky arrogantly declares that the Donbas will not develop without Ukraine. But will it develop with Ukraine? Ukraine is the only post-Soviet country that has not reached the economic level of the late 1980s and early 1990s during 30 years of independence. Today it is the poorest country in Europe, but Zelenskiy is not at all embarrassed by this. Today Ukraine loses to Russia primarily economically. And this loss is Zelensky’s direct responsibility as the President of Ukraine. Therefore, Zelensky’s talk about the development of the country is worth nothing. It is easy to destroy a poor country and sell it for debts to creditors. And no patriotic rhetoric will help.
Answer of false patriots
It was not in vain that I mentioned Russian “patriots” who believe that there should be no Ukraine. In Ukraine, there are enough such “patriots”, only with the opposite sign. They consider Russia to be unfinished, which will soon be gone, and Ukraine as a model of democracy and prosperity. The leader of such opinions, no doubt, is the ex-President of Ukraine Poroshenko.
“We, Ukrainians, have no problems with our own identity. And we don’t give a damn what exactly Putin thinks about it. We are a Ukrainian political nation, whose equal members are citizens of different ethnic origins, different confessions and linguistic communities. And we are distinguished from Russians not only by our own historical experience, language (highlighted by the author), songs and dances or cuisine but also by political culture, attitude to human rights and freedoms (highlighted by the author), geopolitical orientations, a conscious and deeply rooted sense of belonging to the European civilization (emphasis by the author). These differences have only intensified over the past seven years, and, by the way, Putin, so repulsive for Ukraine, played an important role in accelerating this process … Ukraine has chosen its own path of development – membership in the EU and NATO. Opinion polls show that three-quarters of those who plan to take part in the referendum are ready to vote for accession to the EU. For NATO – respectively, two-thirds of Ukrainians are ready to participate in the referendum. Russian aggression, by the way, has significantly increased support for the Euro-Atlantic course among Ukrainians.”
Here, too, it is necessary to disassemble all the passages that reveal all the ins and outs of such an ideology. In Ukraine, it turns out, there are no problems with their own identity: Ukrainians speak the same language, have the same cuisine, and even dance the same dances. But let’s read further – according to the same Poroshenko, whose figures (according to the results of numerous sociological studies of recent times) are clearly overestimated, since, according to opinion polls, 53-65% vote for the EU, and 42-53% for NATO. Thus, there are millions of citizens who do not support this course and whom Mr. Poroshenko does not want to take into account.
But if Mr. Poroshenko doesn’t care about the opinion of millions of citizens, then what kind of political culture and attitude to human rights can we talk about? Yes, and Poroshenko himself previously officially admitted that he is a Russian-speaking person, and this casts doubt on the fact that he personally has no problems with identity. According to Poroshenko, Ukraine is involved in European civilization, while Russia is not. But here’s the catch. After all, according to this logic, the Russian-speaking regions should be given back to Asia. It turns out that Poroshenko agrees with Putin.
In such an ideological paradigm, there is no future at all. Why does Ukraine need some kind of Donbas and Crimea, if a powerful European state has already been built on the rest of the territory? According to Poroshenko, the development of Ukraine is over – it has chosen its own path (army, language, and faith), there is no alternative to this, the foundations of the state, society, a happy country have already been built. It remains to follow the precepts of Poroshenko, in particular, to put his statue on the vacant pedestal of the monument to Lenin.
But such a perfect, democratic, free and happy Ukraine exists only in the minds of individual citizens. In fact, this is not the case. Ukrainian statehood is in danger, and the main danger comes from the narrow-mindedness, unprofessionalism, and greed of those who run the country. Poroshenko broadcasts a sweet fairy tale that does not correspond to reality, paralyzes the will to solve pressing problems and build the country. Our country is in a grave crisis, and we need to save it.
So it turns out that Zelensky and Poroshenko in general agree with Putin and bless the loss of citizens, and as a result, the possibility of losing the territorial integrity of Ukraine. And Putin is opposed by one Medvedchuk, who stubbornly wants to return Donbas to Ukraine, and Ukraine to Donbas.
Why did the Russian-speaking Zelensky and Poroshenko suddenly become ardent nationalists and are racing to take away the rights and freedoms of the Russian-speaking population and quarrel with all neighbors (not excluding members of the adored EU)? The point is not at all in the Russian language (Hungarians, Romanians, and Poles are also oppressed), but in the management system.
In Ukraine, the state administration system is being primitivized. The ideology of “anti-Russia” destroys the Ukrainian state, lowers us not even to the level of the Middle Ages, but to the level of a tribe with one language, one cuisine, one dance and one idols. The tribe is easier to manage: whoever does not comply with its traditions and the laws of the leader is expelled, as President Zelensky is showing today. At the same time, it is easy to drive the tribe into the reservation and take away its land and the future in general. A less civilized person always loses to a more civilized one. That is why the curse and destruction of the remnants of a sufficiently developed Soviet civilization is an indispensable point of our would-be reformers.
Ukrainians are taught that they were civilized Europeans, they just forgot it, the Russians made them forget it. In fact, mainly in alliance with Russia, Ukraine entered European and world culture. Ukrainians are forced to remember what did not exist, but to forget the really glorious past, to devalue it. From a management point of view – forget the history of previous success.
You need to understand that at the primitive level of government, we are losing the country. We have already lost a huge industrial and scientific potential, we are losing population and territories. And this process continues. The rights and freedoms are taken away from the population, and the authorities bear less responsibility for what they have done.
Therefore, Ukraine has the only way to revival, and it consists in the reverse conquest of the rights and freedoms of citizens. It would seem that these functions were performed by the Maidan, but this is also sweet, but a false fairy tale. The post-Maidan authorities did nothing but take away the freedom and rights of citizens, crawl into their pockets, push the earth out from under their feet.
Maidan is an actively created discontent that legitimized lawlessness, replacing justice with revolutionary expediency. And when lawlessness became law, the Ukrainian citizen was squeezed out of the legal field. And it does not matter whether he is a Russian-speaking citizen or a Ukrainian-speaking, whether he is rich or poor – he still cannot avoid repression, no matter whether he wants to join NATO or not, he will be ripped off by unfair tariffs and extortions. This primitive power can only take; it is unable to give anything.
Save the country
It is clear that the ideology and management methods of Poroshenko/Zelensky are leading Ukraine to the loss of sovereignty and imprisonment on a political reservation. And this must be resisted immediately. Behind the praises and sweet tales of these politicians lies the catastrophe of our country, economic, political, and cultural death.
The first thing to do in transforming the country is to understand what kind of country we got, what kind of people live here, and how the government, the state can make their life better. Ukraine has historically formed from many parts that were previously part of other states, and therefore the contraction from a multinational state to one ethnic group or tribe is degradation. Moreover, for a country located in the center of Europe, where they speak different languages, go to different churches, honor different heroes, building an identity that is close to only a part of the population is a strategic mistake leading to the destruction of the country. Blinding a country according to someone else’s patterns is even more stupid because then we make the country not to our citizens, but to external forces. As M. Hrushevsky used to say:
“… There is no need to adjust our life to some Western European model, even if it is German. Liberation from compulsory dependence on Moscow life should not be a substitution of one dependence for another, even if it is voluntary”.
Let’s see what Vyacheslav Chornovil was talking about:
“I imagine future Ukraine as a federal state – a union of lands that have developed historically and bear natural-climatic, cultural-ethnographic, linguistic-dialectal, household and other differences that create a unique diverse face united people. I see in the Ukrainian People’s Republic such lands as Kyiv region, Podolia, Volyn, Halychyna, Bukovyna, Transcarpathia, Hetmanate, Slobozhanshchina, Zaporizhya, Donetsk region, Tavria (Black Sea region), and Crimea – as an independent neighbor, or an autonomous republic in union with Ukraine”.
They will object to me that the federation will make it possible to separate the Ukrainian lands, not necessarily to Russia, but also to Hungary, Romania and Poland. That is, a federal structure will push the country towards collapse. But the same Hrushevsky asserted:
“So we can say: before the federal structure, parts of the state show a desire to move from the center, and after the creation of a federation, they go to the center. This must be borne in mind against the talk of opponents of the federal system as if the federal order leads to the collapse and division of the state. Germany more than thirty years ago became a federal state, and to this time its state unanimity has not weakened, but has become stronger and has revealed in recent years such strength of internal unity, which has not been shown by any unitary state”.
But if the same political team remains in power, it will finish off Ukraine without any federalism. My argument is that the federal state is more difficult to govern, and therefore the federal state will not tolerate greedy and unprofessional rulers at the head. We must call to power not populists, but serious specialists in state-building and real patriots of our country.
And you need to answer the main question: what will unite Ukraine, what will prevent the country from being destroyed? What should Ukraine be like? I have an answer: firstly, law, legality, protection of citizens, protection of their rights and freedoms. Secondly, we will be saved by economic pragmatism, the ability to benefit from the world markets, and we should not lose the Russian market. Third, social justice. Without the work of social programs, we can neither pull the country out of poverty, nor save it from epidemics, nor restore it after hostilities.
Thus, a legal social state builds pragmatic economic relations, both within itself and outside. Now ask: can the modern Ukrainian government work according to such principles? This is an insoluble task for them. Here they are in a primitive tribe and play because they cannot do anything else. And external curators take advantage of this and pump the latest juices from the country.
Therefore, we need to build a country no matter what. No one will build it for us, the recent history of Ukraine has shown this. How to build? Agree among themselves, seek mutual benefits, and not push their interests, no matter what, as the current government does. We do not need charismatic leaders, but negotiable managers. We do not need those who portray the authorities, but those who will defend the interests of the Ukrainian state. And not those who shout “Glory to Ukraine!” At the rallies, but those who selflessly work for the good of their country and create its true Glory!
Change principles, move away from primitive judgments about your country, remove political narcissists from the stands, give decent and talented people an opportunity to work, and you will see the result. We have devalued the word “patriot”. As for me, he is not the one who makes others love his country or drives out those who, in his opinion, do not like the country. A patriot is the one who will now save his country from collapse, “sew” it, build and make it stronger in all respects, that is, create a successful country for himself and for his citizens.