Project ‘Ukraine’. Documentary by Andrei Medvedev (with English subtitles)

This is a dispassionate chronological look at the history of Galicia and Malorossia, and how those Russian lands were being gradually turned into Ukraine. The film presents a trove of documents, citations, documentary footage and lives it to the viewer to draw conclusions. The documentary also takes an introspective look at where Russia went wrong with its handling of the budding extreme nationalism in those lands at the turn of the 19th-20th century, and introspection is a good sign – a nation, which does not view itself as exceptional, which has the capacity to understand its mistakes, has a hope for the future…

1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2Please note that translating a documentary film or an article takes a lot of time and emotional effort. I am doing it on a voluntary basis, but if someone feels like supporting my work, a Bitcoin donation to the following address is appreciated: 1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2

The original untranslated video is published here: Проект ‘Украина’. Фильм Андрея Медведева.

After watching the documentary, I can recommend reading the following articles:

I could not include formatting for the subtitles, published on YouTube. The formatted subtitle file in ASS format can be downloaded separately. Full text of the script is below the video frame.

I initially uploaded the video to YouTube, but it was immediately censored, claiming copyright violation by some BigMovieNetwork, even though the video is produced by Rossia24. Allegedly, the violation happened in the “Audio-visual content 39:50 – 1:25:40”, a span which incidentally starts in the middle of a voice only interview. I filed a dispute, which was rejected within minutes: Your dispute wasn’t approved. The claimant has reviewed their claim and has confirmed it was valid. You may be able to appeal this decision, but if the claimant disagrees with your appeal, you could end up with a strike on your account. The video is therefore being moved to another hosting channel…

Meanwhile, here is the original untranslated video without subtitles, which YouTube accepted under the standard license:

Until I find a venue to publish the subtitled version, here are 5 easy steps that will allow you to watch it with subtitles on your desktop machine:

  1. Download the video above, using KeepVid
  2. Download the subtitles
  3. Download and install VLC for your operating system
  4. Make sure that the video and the subtitle files have the same name
  5. Play the video in VLC – subtitles will load automatically

In July 1991, during his visit to Moscow, the President of the USA George Bush
was telling Gorbachev that a dismemberment of USSR is not in the American interests,
and that he will go to Kiev, the capital of the Soviet Ukraine, so as to convince the Ukrainians to not leave USSR.
Ukraine was still a republic in the Soviet Union, was still accountable to Moscow, and Gorbachev could have forbidden
the American president to go to Kiev, but he didn’t so that.
On the First of August Bush spoke before the Supreme Rada.
“Many centuries ago your ancestors called this country for Ukraine, or Borderland,
because your steppes lie between Europe and Asia.
But Ukrainians have now become border-guards of another kind.
Today you explore the borders and outlines of freedom.
We shall support those, who intend to abide by the democracy and the economic freedoms.”
That was, of course, a challenge to Moscow, which it failed to respond to.
Three months later, right after a sovereignty referendum, USA recognised the independence of Ukraine.
[Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński. National Security Advisor for US President (1977–81)]
The West was interested in closer ties with Ukraine,
so the West made it clear for Ukraine, that if it wants to become a part of NATO at one point, then it is welcome in.
“Ukraine without Moscow!”
PROJECT “UKRAINE”
“Death to the enemies”
“Glory to Ukraine. Heroes be glorified.”
“Revolution”
Ukraine. Kiev. Winter of 2014.
A prolonged staying at Maidan.
Tents. Tea of the self-defence legion. Cookies from Victoria Nuland.
Collisions with the police.
Unidentified snipers shoot at the demonstrators.
This is how the world remembers Kievan winter of 2014.
Coincidence or not, but Kievan Maidan happened exactly 100 years after
the very first in Russian history mass march of the Ukrainian nationalists.
On the 26th of February 1914, a mob of several thousand people was moving down Kreschatik in Kiev.
Slogans of “Away with Russia” and “Hail to the independent Ukraine” were shouted.
Mikhail Menshikov, eyewitness to those events and a renowned publicist wrote:
“And so, this disgrace came to pass.
Kiev unfurls a banner of separation of Malorossia from Russia.”
Crashing shops and vendor stalls, the mob was moving towards the Austrian consulate.
Cossack divisions were brought into the town.
The police reported that they arrested several dozen of the rioters.
The liberal public in St. Petersburg and Moscow was indignant:
“What folly is this? What nationalists can there be on Kreschatik? State papers are lying!
In reality it was the progressive youth celebrating the birthday of poet Taras Shevchnko!”
But the Police Department knew: the demonstration was organised by Mazepanists.
Thus, after Hetman Mazepa, who betrayed Peter I, the police called the Ukrainian nationalists,
who were financed by the foreign intelligence services and embassies.
From the report of the Police Department to the Cabinet of Minister of the Russian Empire
about the situation in Malorossia – in Kiev, Volyn, Poltava and Chernigovo counties:
“A forceful propaganda of the ideas of Ukrainian separatism is being conducted on the territory of the whole of the Southern Russia.
Numerous propagandists – both foreign and local – by all means and with great persistence
are arguing that Malorossians are a completely different people, which must have a separate existence,
both culturally-nationally and politically.
Mazepanists plans consist of tearing away from Russia the whole of Malorossia, up to Volga and Caucasus.”
We will never be brothers.
Neither by birthplace nor by mother.
You don’t have willpower to be free.
We won’t even be stepbrothers.
You are calling yourselves elder brothers.
We can be younger brothers, but no yours.
It’s a pity there are so many of you, faceless.
You are huge, we are great.”
(Translator note: Such a manifestation of an inferiority complex, yet written in Russian!)
(We want into EU)
These verses were written in February 2014.
Young Kivan, Anastasija Dmitruh, could not, of course, have known that in her verses,
she almost verbatim recites the Polish publicists from the end of the 18th century.
It is they, 200 years ago, formulated the theory about two “unbrotherly” peoples – Russian and Ukrainian.
I was then that the geopolitical project “Ukraine” was launched.
[Szczepan Siekierka. President of the Polish Society for the Remembrance of the Victims of Crimes Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists, UOZUN]
Where did such terms as “Ukrainian lands” really come from?
No one knows.
Today this notion is so abused,
the world’s attention is so strongly directed towards the idea of the “Ukrainian people”,
of the “great Ukrainian state”, which in reality never existed.
What existed, was the Russian state.
And it started from Kievan Rus.
It was there that the Russian people were Christened, and Kiev became a centre, that united
the Russian principalities – from the Carpathian mountains to the Vladimir-Suzdal forests.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
There lived the one and the same Russian nation, and that’s a historic fact.
It does not matter where they lived – in Galicia, Vladimir-on-Kljazma, Novgorod,
in Perejaslavl or Smolensk, in Minsk or Vitebsk – they were still the Russian people.
They had the same material and spiritual culture, faith, common self-consciousness.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
We have “The Tale of the Times” – the most ancient Russian chronicles.
This is the authentic history of Rus, which starts from the calling of Rurik
and continues until about the 13th century.
The two eldest editions of this chronicles are called Laurentius Chronicles and Ipatiev Chronicles.
The most striking thing is that these two versions are from two different corners of the Russian world.
One is from Suzdal lands, and the other is from the Western Rus,
what we now call for Western Ukraine.
And they both carry one and the same text.
Kiev is that spiritual centre around which was created not just the Russian state, but the whole of the Russian civilisation.
[Andrei Medvedev. Program author]
By the end of the 12th century Kiev loses its importance and influence.
It is no longer a political centre of Rus.
Galician-Volyn and Vladimir-Suzdal principalities become the two new centres of Rus.
One in the West, the other – in the North-East.
The ultimate division comes after the Mongol invasion.
North-Easten Rus falls under the Horde’s domination,
while the Western Rus becomes part of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
They retained the understanding that they are Russians,
and that the Moscowy State is also inhabited by Russians, though by slightly different ones.
In Moscow they also regarded those lands as our lands, the lands of the line of Rurik –
conquered illegally by Lithuania and Poles – but inhabited by the same Russians.
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was not only a Russian state, but also an Orthodox Christian one.
Russian was the official legal language of the Duchy.
Russian kjazes – counts (commonly mis-translated to English as “princes”) comprised the majority of the elite.
[Krzysztof Zanussi. Polish film and theatre director]
Everything that the Duchy’s offices in Vilnius wrote, was written in Cyrillic and in a Slavic language.
Lithuanian was very seldom used at that time.
However, by the middle of the 15th century the life of the Western branch of the Russian world changes.
Lithuanian count dynasty actively seeks to become closer to Poland,
and in 1569 a federative state, known to us as Rzecz Pospolita, is founded.
Several counties (voevodstvo or “war regions”) populated by the Russians became part of Poland, or Rzecz Pospolita:

Kievan, Bratslavsk, Belzsk, Podolsk, Volyn, and one more, called plainly Russian (Russkoe voevodstvo).
The capital of the latter became the Orthodox city of Lvov.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
The Great Count of Lithuania became also the King of Poland, while only a Catholic could become a Polish king.
So Catholicism became the dominant religion not only in Poland, but also in Lithuania.
The Orthodox Christians start being repressed in Rzecz Pospolita.
At that time, the self-consciousness of any people was based on religion.
Back then, “Orthodox” was synonymous to “Russian”.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
That was really a very harsh and at times cruel repression.
Russian people were not considered as equal in the two-part Polish-Lithuanian state.
Under pain of death, Russians were forbidden to travel abroad
and to have any contact with the Orthodox Patriarch in Constantinople.
They were forbidden to hold any official posts.
While Orthodox Christians were altogether forbidden to live in some of the cities.
At that time, it was extremely important for for the Polish government to weaken the Orthodox Church’s influence in the Western-Russian lands.
And so, in 1596, a number of bishops of the Kievan Metropolia,
headed by the Metropolitan Mikhail Rogoza himself, declared
about accepting the Catholic teachings and subjugation to the Roman Pope.
On the 9th of October 1596, at the Brest Gathering, a decree (union) was ratified,
proclaiming creation of a Greek-Catholic Church, or – as it is more commonly called – Uniate Church.
Meanwhile, in the newly-created church the services were conducted according to the Byzantine tradition,
and using the Church-Slavic language.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
The Unia was strengthened on the future Ukrainian lands using quite brutal methods.
Not only did the churches were handed over by force from one confession to the other.
[Translator note: Exactly the same is done to the Orthodox Christians living in Ukraine after the coup of 2014.]
Orthodox Christian priests were killed,
while the Orthodox flock was given a choice: either death or conversion into Uniatism.
Those who risked remaining as Orthodox Christians, formed brotherhoods.
The largest of those was the Lvov Brotherhood.
In 1609 its members report to their brothers-in-faith in Kiev:
“We, the Russian people, live under the yoke of the Polish people.
What is customary for a man to live by, that is not allowed for a Rusin on his very own Russian land,
and that is in the very same Russian city of Lvov.”
But it was already impossible to stop the process. More and more Russians were converting to Uniatism.
Russian gentry were converting directly to Catholicism –
in Rzecz Pospolita it was the only way to become an equal member of the state elite and to make a carrier.
In 1609 died the last Orthodox Christian Russian baron – knjaz Konstantin Konstantinovich Ostrovskij.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
How is Eurointegration conducted? Not through some deep-going economic processes,
but through the unification of the elites.
The national elites are incorporated into the pan-European ones, usually at the expense of the main part of the population, which
becomes pushed away from the values, or let’s say, valuables of the European home, European civilisation.
That happened 500 years ago, and it’s happening now.
“Ukraine is Europe”
“Ukraine is Europe”
To be honest I want to go to America.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
To blossom, Europe needs periphery.
Today this project is of special interest, when you can include into this periphery a former Russia,
cheap labour force and space for economic expansion, a goods market.
You need, after all, a place to sell all that.
That’s also a price to be paid for Euro-integration.
One must remember that Ukraine during the 16th-17th centuries was the main breadbasket of Europe.
London, Paris, were fed with the South-Russian bread.
So as to keep the bread’s price down, you need to have a production cost, which is close to zero.
And that was ensured by the system of strict exploitation of the local population.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
So people started thinking: “Who are we. We seem to be living in Poland, want to be in Poland, but we don’t get accepted. Why?
Because we are Russians, we are Orthodox Christian. And where do other Orthodox Christian Russians live? Oh!
Over there, across the Eastern border, in the Moscovy kingdom, and they live in freedom,
they have their own Czar, set by God.”
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
They had two choices.
Either to flee to the state with the same faith, to the Russian Empire, the Russian Orthodox Christian Moskovy State,
or to muster a revolt, which Bogdan Khmelnitsky managed to turn into an all-out war against the Polish state,
which as the result lost a part of the territories – the left bank.
[Krzysztof Zanussi. Polish film and theatre director]
Simply speaking, we lost our historic chance already back then.
And it’s good to look at your own history with a critical eye, because you then understand that
not only our neighbours are to blame. Neighbours being the common scapegoats.
The question is how did we handle it.
And that’s what we must think about if we feel ourselves free.
Then we must simply see our own mistakes.
The revolt, headed by Bogdan Khmelnitsky started in 1648.
After 6 years of war, in 1654, Periaslav Rada was signed.
It’s a document about reunification of a part of Western Rus – including Kiev and the territories of Zaporozhje county – with the Moskovy State.
It was signed by Czar Aleksei Mikhailovich Romanov.
By the way, the phrase “reunification of Ukraine with Russia” appeared first in the Soviet history texts in the 1920s.
The historians knew perfectly well that in 1654 there was simply no such country as “Ukraine”.
Those territories were called Malorossia.
While the word Ukraina was used in Poland and Russia about borderlands.
For Poles it is the lands of the middle Dnepr – the central regions of the modern Ukraine.
[Anna Raźny. Polish historian, Professor of the Department for Russian and East-European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow]
In Polish it is called “pogranicze”.
It’s the border in the cultural, national, political, even historical meaning.
For Rzecz Pospolita, “Ukraina” meant a far away border,
a territory, where different ethnic groups could live.
In this context, Ukraina no longer exists in the present time.
For Moscow, on the other hand, Ukraina once meant Tula, Kashira, Serpuhov –
that was the “Oka-river Ukraina” – the border with the territories, from where nomads came.
The word “Ukrainian” in the Russian language of that time, is a profession – a border guard.
While a resident of Kiev or Poltava was called a Malorossian.
By the end of the 18th century, the weakened and torn apart by internal strife Poland
stopped playing any important role in the European politics.
In 1772, her neighbours – Prussia, Austrian-Hungary and the Russian Empire –
partially divided between themselves the lands of a once poweful state.
[Krzysztof Zanussi. Polish film and theatre director]
It is a separate question if our civilisation could have enough power
to raise such a large part of Europe.
Maybe it was our pride saying that we could do that.
It was a huge expanse.
Ultimately Poland ceased to exist in 1795,
when the large states performed the third division of the Polish lands.
Galicia, Zakarpatie (Transcarpathia) and Bukovina, populated by Russians, or as it was said then – Rusins (Ruthenians),
came under Austria-Hungary, while almost all of the Kievan Rus territories were taken by the Russian Empire.
So, here is a map of the Russian Empire.
Here is the territories of the Kievan Rus, which were a part of Poland.
Here is the part, which, after partitioning of Poland, went to Auatria.
And here are those lands, which Russia returned itself.
That is how a large portion of the Polish population ended up in the Russian Empire.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
The Poles are, of course, dreaming about resurrection of their beloved Poland – Rzecz Pospolita,
and in the wider borders, as they were before the partitioning.
All their ire and hatred is directed at Russia.
The idea is like this: sow separatism on those lands, tear them away from Russia,
announce that the people there are not Russians, but close to Poles.
In 1795 the Polish writer and historian Jan Potocki published
“Historically-geographical fragments about Scythia, Sarmatia and Slavs”.
In that work, for the first time, Russians of Malorossia were called “Ukrainians”,
a separate people, descendants of the Scythian tribe of Sarmatians.
Potocki’s idea was very simple in its design:
If Malorossian “Ukrainians” have nothing in common with Russians;
if Malorossian “Ukrainians” is a separate people with its separate culture and history,
then it follows that also Russia has no historical rights on the lands West for Dnepr, including Kiev.
Then it follows that there is not gathering of Russian lands.
It follows then that Russia annexed and occupied Malorossia/Ukraine.
Potocki’s propaganda was first and foremost directed at the Western reader,
who traditionally had a very vague idea what is Malorossia, Russia, Kiev, and where all this is found.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
We see very clearly how neighbours were calling these “Ukrainians”.
Up until 20th century they were called Rus.
Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians, all who surrounded this territory,
they were never in doubt that what starts from across Carpathian mountains is Rus.
But it was the Polish publicists, who by the beginnig of the 19th century turn a topographic term “Ukraina” into a name of a country.
In 1801 the Polish bibliophile and publicist Tadeusz Czadzki published his work, titled
“About the name of Ukraine and the birth of Cossacs”.
It was a new phase in forming of Ukrainianism as an ideology.
Tadeusz Czadzki further distinguished that Ukrainian Malorossians are not Russians, but rather a separate people.
Czadzki started the history of Ukrainians from the horde of the “Ancient Ukros”,
who according to him moved in the 7th century from somewhere in Urals, across Volga, to the Drepr river.
The fact that neither the Polish nor the Russian chronicles ever mentioned any “Ukros”, didn’t in the least bother Czadzki.
These theories could have probably remained as mind games of the intellectuals, if not for one “but”.
Czar Alexander I, a liberal pro-Westerner, favoured the Polish nobility.
He considered it to be more educated and well-mannered, than Russian.
During Alexander’s reign, Poles played an important role at the court, at the Academy of Science.
The Imperial Foreign Ministry was headed by an ardent russophobe Adam Czartoryski,
and with his support the Poles got full control of the education system in Malorossia.
Czartoryski’s close ally, a priest and historian Valerian Kalinka, thus wrote about Malorossia:
“This land is lost for Poland, but we must do it so, that it becomes lost for Russia too.”
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
If we take look at the Right Bank that was added at the very end of the 18th century,
the leading educational institutions there – Kremenetski Lyceum, Umansk Basilian School –
were controlled by the Poles.
In these educational institutions Polish teachers were planting in the heads of the Russian pupils the idea
that Rus Minor (translation of Malorossia) is a part of the Western worlds, that Malorossians is a separate ethnos,
while Russian Moskovians are savages and Asians, occupants.
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
If a school pupil is told that Ukraine and Russia had 5-6 wars, at a period when there in fact was no Ukraine at all,
when he is told that hunger was organised by the damned Moskovians so as to kill Ukrainians
for their pursuit of independence, what can grow up out of such pupil?
In the best case he will be a person, who will approve of the punisher battalion actions in Donbass;
in the worst case, he will be doing the killing as he will view those people as enemies of his nation.
“Who’s not jumping, he’s Moskal.” (‘Moskal’ is a Polish(!) derogative for ‘Russian’)
“Glory to Ukraine.”
“Moskals to the gallows.”
“Glory to heroes.”
“Communist to the gallows.”
“Glory to Ukraine.”
“Who’s not jumping, he’s Moskal.”
(A table for school kids of how the same names are written “correctly” and “incorrectly”. E.g if you are called Anja, then if you don’t respond to Gannusja, then you are an enemy.)
In 1831, during the Polish uprising, all pupils of the Kremenetski Lyceum –
Russians, Malorossians, Poles – went to war, to fight for the dependence of Poland.
A few other of its graduates fought in the Crimean War on the side of Britain, storming Russian Sevastopol.
One of them, a publicist and historian Frantishek Duhinski, wrote:
“Moskals are neither Slavs nor Christians.
They still remain nomads and will always remain nomads.”
However it was Nikolai Kostomarov, one of the biggest Russian historians of the 19th century,
who became the most famous pupil of the Polish professoriate.
He was a graduate of the Kharkov University.
Who is he?
He’s a someone, who dedicated all his life to destruction of the Russian Empire.
In 1845 Kostomarov founds in Kiev the Brotherhood of Cyril and Methodius,
a society for the young intellectuals, students and teachers.
They are the first in the Russian history to declare, that Ukraine is neither Malorossia nor Russia,
that it is a separate country, populated by a separate people – Ukrainians.
The Brotherhood of Cyril and Methodius was the first such society of intellectuals,
but it was the one to create the construct of the future “Ukrainian” identity.
One of the active members of the society was Panteleimon Kulish, also a pupil of the Polish teachers.
He was an ideological Ukrainian nationalist, who was the first to create an alphabet for the Malorossian dialect,
which he hastily proclaimed to be a full-fledged language of a new nation – a Ukrainian language.
[Alois Woldan. Professor of Slavic Literature at the Wien University, Austria]
For example, since the Romanticism era there was a striving towards the folk language.
That was, of course, a local language, a folk language of approximately the Dniestr river area,
which differed from the one, spoken in Poltava.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
You take a local dialect, codify it, formalise it, introduce a couple of letters,
and here you have a new language. And then, on this foundation, a new nation is grown.
This kind of operation could have been conducted on any territory –
not just in Malorossia, but in Arkhangelsk. Great, isn’t it?!
You publish a dictionary and seemingly do ethnography, but in reality – politics.
And many understood what this was leading to.
Even when the Malorossian intellectuals started publishing press using Ukrainian,
the so-called Kulishovka, no one read it.
Ukrainiaphilic journal “Osnova” (“Foundation”) closed in the beginning of 1860s as it lacked subscribers.
Books in Malorossian dialect were published also before Kulish, but they were printed using the regular Russian alphabet.
Intelligentsia and nobility from Kiev, Kharkov and Poltava spoke, wrote and read using the Russian language.
They could not understand why a new language needed to be invented.
In the middle of the 19th century every educated person in Russia knew
that the literary Russian language was created, among others, by Kievan learned men.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
The literary Russian language, which is spoken in Russia, was created by southern Rusins,
who at the time of Peter I and even before him – from the end of the 17th century –
played a significant role at the court of the Russian Czardom, and then the Russian Empire.
Before Peter I, Russian literary language, the official state language,
was very heavy, limited and very far away from the spoken language.
The young Czar invited the best experts from Malorossia to reform the language.
[Igor Barinov. Candidate of Science (History) at Moscow State University]
These were Simeon Polockij, and in the contemporary Ukraine – Berynda, Innokentij Gizel.
Simeon Polockij was one of the founders of the famous Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy in Moscow.
In 1755, using Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy as a foundation, the Moscow University was opened.
In other words, it was the Kievan-Russian scientists and teachers, who laid the foundations for the future common Russian academic science.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
So if someone is talking about “Moskal speech” – it’s nothing else, but a high-bread Kievan language of the 18th century,
which very organically blended into the greater Russian civilisation.
However, contrary to the common sense, the liberal societies of the intellectuals of Malorossia
continued with the propaganda of the ideas of Ukrainaism and spreading of the “Ukrainian language”.
Many went into the folk masses, carrying there the Ukrainian literature.
Those books were, however, printed not in Russia, but abroad – mostly in Lvov.
In Austrian Galicia, in Western Rus, the Ukrainian language was turning into
a formidable and dangerous political weapon, which was used to cut out a new map of Europe.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
The territories that stayed in Austria is Galicia, and first and foremost, Lvov
they turned into those areas, where a rather harsh confrontation begins.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
Before the beginning of the 20th century, and then up to the middle of the 20th century, Galicia was a part of various states.
For a long time it was a Polish territory, and that is why the domination of the Polish landlords formed there.
Then it became a part of Austro-Hungary.
Galicia, Bukovina and Trans-carpathia – the Western-most reaches of the Russian world –
ended up under the Austrian crown after the division of Poland.
Russians here were called in a Western style – Rusins or Ruthenians.
Over the years under Polish governance, Galician Russians forfeited Orthodox Christianity and became Uniats.
Polish landlords mercilessly exploited the Russian peasants.
[Igor Barinov. Candidate of Science (History) at Moscow State University]
As the result of the Polish domination, at one point the Russian intelligentsia in Galicia simply disappeared.
It wasn’t for nothing, that the Poles said that only peasants (“hlopy”) and priests (“popy”) are left of Rusins.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
The Austrian emperor was perceived by Rusins as an ally in their fight against their Polish landlords.
At some point the Austrians put a bet on supporting this Rusin movement.
The Viennese court conducted some strong reforms – cut down the size of the corvee taxes.
At the Uniat Church of St. Barbara in Vienna they opened the first college for education
of the Greek-Catholic priests and teachers from among the Galicia-Russians.
[Alois Woldan. Professor of Slavic Literature at the Wien University, Austria]
The upper class, the Ruthenian ruling class, was exceedingly loyal to Austria,
as there they could get certain freedoms, which were previously unavailable in Poland.
Loyalty to Austria was percieved as a counterweight to the Polish domination.
Ruthenians, Ruthenian leaders, put their hope on Austria so as
to achieve greater autonomy and independence from the Polish supervision.
Rusins became possibly the most loyal subjects of the Viennese court.
During the Polish revolt of 1809 and the Hungarian revolt of 1848,
armed Rusins fought on the side of the Austrian Emperor.
The Russian battalion showed an exemplary courage and perseverance in battles.
So the governor of Galicia, Count Schtadiun, on behalf of the Emperor, presented the Russians their new battle banner.
The banner was accompanied by a ribbon, on which the Empress herself embroidered the words “Loyalty Leads to Victory”.
The banner was a two-coloured, yellow and blue canvas.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
After the Polish uprising was suppressed, the Austrian court stumbled upon a contradiction in its own internal policy.
On one hand, it was good to use the Rusins against the Poles,
on the other hand, they were fully aware that this was a borderland province,
and that it is inhabited by people, who have a language, culture and mindset
akin to those living on the other aide of the border, in the Russian Empire.
Naturally the Austrians were afraid that under certain conditions
this province might feel a pull to transfer under the jurisdiction of the Russian Emperor.
In 1848, so as to control the Russians, central powers allowed to create the Supreme Russian Rada in Lvov,
which unified and coordinated the political demands of Galician Rus.
However, the governor of Galicia, Count Franz Stadion von Warthausen und Thannhausen, immediately gave Russians a condition:
“You can count on the government support only in that case if you’d want to be a separate people,
and would renounce the national unity with the people outside of the state, specifically – in Russia.
In other words, if you’d want to be Ruthenians, and not Russians.
It would not hurt if you take a new name, so as to differ from the Russians, who live outside of Austria.”
In 1849 happened the first in 500 years meeting of Galician Russians with the Russians of the Russian Empire.
The troops on General Paskevich, whom Nikolai I sent to suppress the Hungarian Revolution, were returning home through Galicia.
Rusins were communicating with the Russian soldiers using virtually one and the same language,
went to the church services, conducted by the Russian field clerics.
And with each day they were becoming more and more convinced – they are one and the same people,
wherever they live – in Lvov, Kiev or Moscow.
A Russian newspaper starts being published in Lvov – “Galician Dawn”.
Any one of us can easily read it now.
The texts have some dialect-specific words, but it is without any doubt Russian language.
Here is an edition from the 9th of March 1853.
A poem marking the death of a Trans-Carpathian and Uzhgorod priest and enlightener, Andrei Boludjanski.
A sad voice has come to us
From the dusky valleys of Carpathians
Father Andrei has passed away
Our kin, Rusin, brother.
One light has become extinguished,
A light that so majesticly and pleasantly
Was enlightening our sky.
By the beginning of the 1850s, Galician intelligentsia started to openly talk about reunification with Russia.
A schism was forming in the Russian Rada.
One part of the intelligencia – who was referred to as Moskvaphiles – thought that the folk education must be done using Russian literary language.
The other part was convinced that they must invent a separate, Galician-Russian, writing.
This part of the Russian Rada was referred to as Populists.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
The Austrian court made quite a logical under such circumstances choice.
They started supporting that group which promoted propaganda using a local dialect.
They accentuated that this group represents a completely different nationality.
That not Russians, but “Ukrainians” live on these territories.
That they have their own language, own culture.
That they have nothing in common with the Russian population of the Russian Empire. And so on…
In 1859, a work by a Czech philologist Josef Jireček was published in Vienna in German language.
It was called “On proposition to Rusians to write using Latin letters”.
(Note: Between 1919 and 1930 Bolsheviks almost pushed through the same Latinasation reform for Russian language!)
It was printed at the government printing house using government funds on the order from the Imperial Ministry of Education.
From Josef Jireček’s brochure:
“While Rusins are printing and writing in Cyrilllic, they will display a predisposition towards Churchslavinism and Russianism and thus the very existance of the Ukrainian literature will be jeopardised.
The Churchslavic and Russian influence are so great that they threaten to push out the local language and local literature.”
They didn’t manage to force Rusins to switch to Latin writing.
Then the Austrian government decided to form a new language and the new grammar,
based on the already existing alphabet of Panteleimon Kulish.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
So the local dialect, the Galician, which was spoken by the Galician peasants, started to be called “Ukrainian language”.
A Galician Rus politician Osip Monchalovski thus described the process of creation of a new language in the 1870s:
“Each of the professors of the Lvov University has his own private language.
It’s not even a language, but an artificial mish-mash of Russian, Polish and,
ever so often, arbitrarily invented ‘Ukrainian’ words and phrases.”
Panteleimon Kulish, who by the end of his life distanced himself from the idea of Malorossian nationalism and ukrainianism,
was terrified by what was happening in Galicia, how his alphabet became used.
But he had already laid the foundations for the forming of the identity, and he was powerless to correct anything.
From a letter sent by Kulish to a Galician scientist, teacher of the Ukrainian language, Emelian Portitski:
“I swear that if Ljahs will be printing using my alphabet, so as to underline a strife with the Great Rus,
if our phonetic writing will be positioned not as a help for the masses on the their way to enlightenment,
but as a banner for our Russian split, then I, who wrote in my way, in Ukrainian,
will from now on be printing in the old-school etymological orthography.”
An interesting detail: the Austrian subject, Emelian Portitskij, was developing and propagandising Ukrainian language and literature,
but he was still considering himself to be a Rusin – a Russian.
In Lvov he founded an organisation for the Ukrainian language teachers,
which he surprisingly called “Rusko Pedagogichno Tovarishestvo” – “Russian Pedagogic Union”.
However hard you try, there is no other way to translate this phrase from the Carpathian-Russian dialect.
Galician-Russian writer Vasilij Vavrik remembered:
“A peasant had difficulty in immediately switching from being a Rusin to being a Ukrainian.
It was difficult for him to trample over something that was sacred and dear to him.
Even more difficult is was for him to understand why the Ukrainian professors so foggily, cunningly
and misleadingly are substituting Rus with Ukraine and mix one name with the other.
With its very essence the people realised that a lie, falsehood, treachery is abound.”
The Austrian authorities, however, held the harsh course on the forming of a new identity among the Russians.
Those writers and journalists, who refused to use the new language were proclaimed to be “Moskal spies”;
school books were published in Ukrainian; the dissatisfied teachers were sacked.
Right before WWI, the Austrian War Ministry’s printing house published a phrase book,
with the intent that the soldiers conscripted from the various parts of the Empire could somehow understand each other.
The phrase book was printed in 6 languages: Hungarian, German, Polish, Czech, Croatian and Russian.
There was no place for the Ukrainian language in the phrase book.
[Anna Raźny. Polish historian, Professor of the Department for Russian and East-European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow]
They say it’s an artificial language.
As a culturologist I can say that you can use this language to speak and to write literature works.
But the following question arises: Why do Ukrainians – both from Western and Eastern Ukraine – speak Russian?
There are very many of them in Poland as of late, and they speak Russian.
I ask them, “Are you Russians?” “No, we are Ukrainians.” “Why do you speak Russian?” “We don’t know.”
In 1898, Osip Monchalovskij – a Lvov publicist and a Russian public figure –
wrote in his book “Ukrainophilism in Literature and Politics”:
“To be Ukrainian means to denounce your past; to be ashamed of belonging to the Russian people,
and event to the names Rus, Russian;
to denounce your tales and history;
to thoroughly erase from yourself all common Russian features;
and to try to blend into the provincial Ukrainian lifestyle.”
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
One must say that for a long time, up to the 1920s, the term “Ukrainian”
was used, also by the adepts of the Ukrainian nationalism,
not as an ethnic term to characterise all these Malorossian and Rusin masses,
but as a term for those, who belonged to the Ukrainian party.
Odessa. The 2nd of May 2014.
Kulikovo pole.
Last minutes before the tragedy.
“We shall save all the icons over there, our belongings, go into the building and will be holding fort.”
– “As I see it we shall stand till the end.”
– “Yes”
At the same time at the Cathedral Square, the newly-arrived to Odessa Right Sector,
starts to warm up the football fans and the youth, who joined the nationalists.
“Glory to Ukraine. Heroes be Glorified.” (The Nazi-Bandera chant)
“Death to the enemies.”
The angered mass attacks the anti-Maidan camp.
Sign text: “We are FOR federalisation referendum.”
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
Nowadays, a third of the Right Sector are ethnic Russians.
Now they’ve all naturally become Ukrainians.
And this is, by the way, a demonstration that Russian and Ukrainian identities
are like connected vessels – one flows out, the other in.
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
There was the question: “Where are your mythical Bandera followers?”
Here you have the, here the turn up. You can admire them in their full splendour.
“The punishers attacking Odessa reaidents…”
“Firefighters working inside…”
“Barrages are being literally thrown into the windows…”
In the deranged crowd, most cries are heard in Russian.
The murderers scream in Russian, and the victims plea for their lives in Russian.
“Guys, guys, we must drag…”
“To the knees!” – “Help!”
“Please, don’t!”
“They murdered four people!”
“He’s sitting here. He’ll not go anywhere.”
“He shot at the people.”
“What are you doing, devils?! What are you doing?!”
A Ukrainian artillery shooter in Donbass is commenting his actions using Russian language.
He is shelling a peaceful city.
“Fire!”
“At this rate, in the near future, we’ll already completely exterminate them.”
“Glory to Ukraine. Heroes be glorified.”
Chanting this motto, Russians are again killing Russians.
Just like 100 years ago, in the Austrian concentration camp Thalerhof,
where Western Rus was exterminated and Ukraine was born.
“To the victims of Thalerhof. 1914-1918. Galician Rus.”
“Moskals to the gallows. Moskals to the gallows.”
Where there is a telephone pole
A katsap (Polish derogative for Russian) hangs instead of a bell
His lips turned blue,
Black eyes turned white
Teeth got crusted with blood
Rope cut through his neck.
100 years in Galicia, in Lvov, “katsaps” – that is, Russians, were murdered to the chanting of such rhymes.
They were murdered by former friends, by neighbours, by acquaintances, even by relatives.
Russians were killing Russians.
And only because some of them considered themselves Ukrainians.
In 1914, during the first days of the World War,
over 2000 Russians – politicians, peasants, teachers, doctors – ended up in prisons in Galicia.
300 Uniat priests were killed only on the bases of suspicion that they were secret sympathisers of Orthodoxy and Russia.
[Alois Woldan. Professor of Slavic Literature at the Wien University, Austria]
Under the pretext “they are the Russian spies”, innocent people got arrested and executed.
This is a big black spot on the Austrian history, which is already far from being white.
The biggest mistake, committed by Austria during its 150 years of ruling in Galicia.
Thousands of Russians ended up being lockes up in the first in the European history concentration camps – Thalerhof and Teresin.
The camps were dotted with poles.
Inmates were hung by a foot and were left hanging for several hours.
Hundreds of people died from this torture.
From the Thalerhof Almanach – a compendium of documents and memoirs about the genocide of the Russians:
Memorial book of the Austrian cruelties, torture and violations of the Carpathian-Russian people during the world war 1914-1917.
First Edition.
Terror in Galicia during the first period of the war 1914-1915.
Lvov, 1924
“Austrian soldiers carry in their backpacks ready-made nooses, and everywhere –
on the trees, in the houses, in the barns – hang all peasants because they consider themselves Russians.
Galician Rus has turned into a huge, terrible Golgotha.”
They grabbed anyone indiscriminately – anyone who thought of himself as Russian or carried a Russian name,
anyone who was found possessing a Russian newspaper or book, icons or postcards from Russia.
Ukrainian activists participated in the punisher operations.
Not only did they write denunciations, but were also performing hangings and shootings of their neighbours and relatives.
From The Thalerhof Almanach:
“One part of the Carpathian-Russian people, in great suffering, carried to the altar of their common motherland Rus their lives,
while the other carried out the shameful and deceitful deed of the conscious brother-murderer Kain.
The role of these people’s traitors – of these so-called ‘Ukrainians’ – during this war is well known.”
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
This is the history of the genocide of those Galicians, who thought of themselves as Russians
by the hand of the Austrians and by the hand of those Galicians, who thought of themselves as Ukrainians.
60.000 people were collected at one place and exterminated,
in the same way as people were herded into the Trade Union house in Odessa and burnt alive.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
To this one must add about 300.000 refugees,
who went to the territory of Russia together with the Russian troops.
In that way the pro-Russian element in Galicia was completely wiped out.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
When we say “Ukrainian nationalism”, we think of Russophobia in the broadest sense of this word –
as in an ideology, as in a world-view. Not just as in “who’s not jumping is Moskal”,
but as in the practice on which the foundation of the Ukrainian nation, of the Ukrainian statehood is laid.
“God and Ukraine above all!”
(Note: resonating withe the Nazi German “Deutschland über alles” slogan)
The phenomenon of the Ukrainian nationalism is specific in that it appeared before the Ukrainian nation did.
In November 1914 the Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold Berchtold stated:
“Our main goal in this war lies in the long-term weakening of Russia.
And therefore, in case of our victory, we will start with creating an independent from Russia Ukrainian state.”
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
A Bysantian thinker Simeon Salunski, has once pondered over a question of what is a nation.
And he gave a very precise answer: A nation is a people, who have common history.
That that in essence is the answer to how to create Ukrainians out of Russians.
One must write for them a history of Ukraine.
Mikhail Grushevskij was tasked by the Austrian authorities with inventing the history of Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Mikhail Grushevskij, assistant professor of the Kiev University, emigrated to Galicia in 1890.
In the Russian scientific circles he was already known for his quite eccentric views on the history of Kievan Rus,
and for his exceptionally questionable theory of history.
But this very theory turned out to be very timely and very suitable for the Austrian authorities.
Grushevskij wrote his 10-volume work “History of Ukraine and Rus” in Lvov, explaining that,
yes, there was Kievan Rus, but then there also appeared Moscow Rus and Lithuanian Rus.
And so as not to mix them up, the ancient Kievan Rus, where Russians-Ukrainians lived, must be called Ukraine.
In effect it was a substitution of terms.
However, students were taught by Grushevskij’s books.
He read lectures, and the excited youth started thinking of themselves as an exceptional people –
not just any old Russian, but Western, European, progressive.
Mikhail Grushevskij headed a department at the Lvov University when he was 28 years old.
In Lvov Grushevskij lived in a big mansion – there is his museum now.
When he returned to Kiev, he immediately bought a house for renting out.
It was know by almost all townsfolk, and was often called as “Grushevskij’s House”.
In effect that was the payment that Grushevskij got for his participation in the Austrian political project.
[Alexandr Kolpakidi. Historian, writer]
I don’t now a single historian who would have earned such a fortune on his historic writing, so as to buy a whole house in the centre of a capital.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
How much were the Austrians paying, and how much was coming in from still unknown sources – everything was done anonymously.
Huge amounts. In the order of hundreds of thousands guldens.
[Alexandr Kolpakidi. Historian, writer]
In 1991, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education officially issued an order that
Grushevskij’s concept is the metric for the Ukrainian history.
In Ukraine it is forbidden by law to challenge Grushevskij’s concepts. No other country has this.
The basic ideas of the Ukrainian nationalism were created by two Russian men,
both born in Malorossia – Nikolaj Mihnovskij and Dmitrij Dontsov.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
While being ethnic Russians, they were the founders of the fascist
part of the ideology of the Ukrainian nationalism.
The lawyer from Kharkov, Mihnivskij, became the author of the slogan “Ukraine for Ukrainians”.
He also formulated the 10 commandments of the Ukrainian People’s Party, which he himself founded:
“Don’t take a wife from among foreigners because your children will then become your enemies.
Don’t be friends with enemies of our people because you then give them power and courage.
Don’t make alliances with our oppressors, as you’ll become a traitor of Ukraine.
All people are your brothers. But Moskals (Russians), Ljahs (Poles), Hungerians, Romanians and Jews
are the enemies of our people.”
Dmitrij Dontsov was doing politics in the Russian Empire.
In 1908, after two arrests, he moved to Galicia.
Using the money from the Austrian Interior Ministry, he founded and headed “The Union for Liberation of Ukraine”,
which had a goal of uniting the Ukrainian nationalists of Malorossia to create an independent Ukraine under the Austrian protectorate.
Dontsov was paid his salary in the Austrian Interior Ministry.
The son of the Miletopol landlord remained an fierce Russophobe until the end of his life.
[Michał Siekierka. Polish historian. Wroclaw University]
Dontsov’s very ideology was… para-fascist.
For a people to be mighty, it must be racially pure.
For a people to be eternal, it must have a support at a specific territory.
From Dmitrij Dontsov’s book “Nationalism”, published in Lvov in 1926:
“Until we start carrying within us a passionate desire to create for ourselves a world from the outward chaos,
until the theorems become axioms and dogmas,
until shamefacedness turns into rudeness,
and the spineless love of peoples into an aggressive nationalism,
until that time will Ukraine not turn into a nation.”
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
Ukrainian nationalists, who now strive to create that nation, which was founded in Dontsov’s works,
they by and large strive to conduct an ethnic cleansing.
For them, the people of Donbass are sub-humans, sub-Ukrainians. So they have no use for them.
This ideology is very simple for most people – they have everything, including “nation” in their heads.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
Ukrainism found an exceptionally warm response in the face of the Russian intelligentsia.
And it felt along the way some interest in supporting everything that went against the Empire, including these seeds of Ukainaism.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
Who supported them? Cadets, other liberal parties, Left parties.
Everything connected to being Russian was beginning to get associated with something that is monarchistic, something oppressingly-tyrannic.
Ukraine started to be viewed as a focal point of freedom.
From the middle of the 19th century and until today, the very idea of Ukrainaism has remained virtually unchanged:
“Ukraine is not Russia.” “Malorossians are not Russians.” “Moscow is Asia.” “Ukraine is Europe.” “We’ll never be brothers.”
The authorities of the Russian Empire looked upon the nationalism in Malorossia benignly.
Thinking, no problem, they’ll get over it.
And the government was not frightened by the support from the intelligentsia.
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
The main fault of the officials of the Russian Empire lies in them not paying any attention to this phenomenon.
Mihail Sergeevich Grushevskij printed his “History of Ukrainorus” not just anywhere, but in St. Petersburg.
There was a mistaken belief that the economic might of Russia is able to solve absolutely all problems,
including cultural and political.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
Benignly and through the bushy whiskers they were booming,
that Russia is mighty, look, we have regiments stationed at Hindu Kush and on the Pacific shore.
Those intelligentsia with running noses are nothing to worry about.
We all know what it led to.
The situation of Russians in Galicia was becoming worse and worse by the year.
Russian activists got arrested. Court cases were constructed against them,
at which the Russians were accused of spying for the Russian Empire and of separatism.
Quite often the activists of the Ukrainian political parties acted as witnesses for the prosecution during these courts.
However, the absurdity of the situation was in the fact that by that time, those parties were at the same time Russian.
For example, in 1890 the “Russian-Ukrainian Radical Party” was founded in Galicia,
and it remained like that – Russian-Ukrainian – up until 1926.
Starting already from the end of the 19th century, the Austrian authorities started actively financing Ukrainian organisations.
Loans were given only to those peasants and businessmen, who called themselves for Ukrainians.
The association “Prosvit” – “Education” – covered the whole of Galicia with a network of libraries, reading rooms,
courses for the illiterate, theatrical clubs, in which the educational activities were conducted strictly on the Ukrainian language.
In 1912, the president of the Russian Club in the Galician parliament,
Kost Levitskij – basically a Russian man, who called himself a Ukrainian –
proclaimed the following to the Austrian Minister of War:
“Is it known to your highness that in Galicia that are a lot of Russophilic societies
of the young students, the participants of which get the right for a 1-year conscription service and get the Officer rank?
What are the prospects of a war, if there are so many enemies-Russophiles in the Army?”
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
Racial theories were easily injected into various geo-political projects,
into different ideologies, and neither the Ukrainian nationalism could avoid this influence.
From the memoirs of the Russian activist if the Trans-Carpathia, Osip Monchalovskij:
“During one gathering in Lvov, some Ivan Rudnitskij, a notarial assistant, publicly stated:
‘From now on there will be no need for Secret Policemen, as we ourselves will be tracking them and exterminating them.
This role was put into practice by some volunteers so thoroughly,
that denouncements were written on even single and childless people, accusing them of bringing up their children in Moskalphilic spirit’.”
In 1908, the member of the State Duma, Vladinir Bobrinskij
returned from a Slavic symposium in Prague, where there also were delegates from Galicia.
Later, speaking before the State Duma, Bobrinskij said:
“I didn’t know that abroad there exists an authentic Rus,
which lives under an indescribable oppression, right here, near its sister – the Greater Russia.
We all must learn from the Galicians how to love Rus and how to fight for her.”
Count Vladimir Bobrinskij founded at his own initiative a Galicina-Russian charity.
At his own expense he financed the publication of Russian newspapers in Galicia, for example “Russian Pravda”,
financed the work of Russian political organisations and schools.
The Russian state continued to not notice the Galician Russians, refusing them both in financing and in political support.
[Igor Barinov. Candidate of Science (History) at Moscow State University]
Russian diplomats pointed out that financing of the Russophilic parties in Galicia
would lead to very serious international complications.
From the report of the the Russian Interior Minister Petr Durnovo:
“It is obviously not in our interest to add to our Fatherland a region, which lost with it any live connection.
After all, for a small handful of Galicians, who are Russian in spirit, how many Poles, Jews and Ukrainised Uniats would we get?”
From an article in the German newspaper Die Welt from February 2014:
“Europeans followed with admiration the unfolding of the Ukrainian drama,
and they are flattered to know that there are people, who for a dream about Europe
are prepared to sacrifice their health and even to risk their lives.
The European idea has not shone so brightly, as it did in the eyes of the demonstrators in Kiev and other places.
However, now is Europe is presented with the bill.
And a question arises: is it really worth to pay so much money for it?
Does Europe need yet another problematic country?
If €25 billion is the the price for spoiling a new imperial project of Russia, then paying such price is justifiable.”
What for does Europe and the West need Ukraine at all?
At the very peak of WWI, one of the founders of the German geopolitics, Paul Rohrbach, wrote about it.
In his work “Our military goal in the East and the Russian Revolution”,
the chief expert on the Russian question from the German Foreign Ministry reported:
“Only while having Ukraine, Russia attained the might, which allows it to strive for taking control
over the straits of the Black Sea and over the Balcans,
and if Ukraine remains a part of Russia, then the strategic goals of Germany will never be reached.”
Germany had the following goals in WWI:
to split off from Russia its eastern and southern lands;
to push it away from the Black Sea; entice wars with Caucasus;
to create a buffer Russophobic state West for Dnepr.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
This is, in fact, “Divide et Impera” – the policy of divide and conquer.
Let’s say the Austro-Hungarian part of project Ukraine was an internal product,
and when WWI started, its geopolitical potential was set into motion.
From the call from the “Union for Liberation of Ukraine”, created by Dmitri Dontsov:
“Ukraine has always been an open enemy of Russia, and in its aspirations for liberation, it always sought help from the West.
Europe will never have peace, it will never be free of the threat of the invasion of tsarism,
it will never have security for its culture,
until on the vast territories of Ukraine there is created a solid foundation against Russia.”
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
Whole divisions fought as part of the Austro-Hungarian army and were angled as Ukrainian.
One of the Austro-Hungarian princes was even staking a claim on the future Ukrainian throne.
From the memoirs of the priest Iosif Egorskij:
“The army got its instructions and maps, where certain villages were underlined with red pencil.
And the red line on those maps left blooded victims in those villages.”
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
“How is the slogan of th Ukrainian nationalists worded? “Glory to the nation, death to the enemies”.
Now those people got a chance to turn that slogan into reality.
They think that they are glorifying the nation by killing their own fellow citizens.
When in September 1914 the Russian army entered Lvov, it was met by communal prayers, cross processions, flowers and tears as a liberating army.
Even the Galician diaspora in USA –
which, seeking refuge from the prosecution in their homeland, ended up on the other continent – was exulted.
From “Svit” (“Light”) the newspaper of the American Galicians:
“Our Lvov is Russian, our Galicia is Russian! God be praised!
Our common prayer is sent to you from the millions of the Russian hearts.
Great God, the Almighty Savior, unite us as You are united in trinity.
So will our fragmented Rus will be as one forever.”
But the genocide of the Galician Russians of 1914 had forever changed the ethnic picture of Trans-Carpathia,
and those who thought of themselves as Ukrainians became more numerous than Russians.
[Anna Raźny. Polish historian, Professor of the Department for Russian and East-European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow]
There is no single Ukrainian people. There is not single Ukraine.
And there is no single Ukrainian ethnic national identity.
On the territory of Ukraine there live various ethnic minorities,
and the largest one is the Russian minority.
During the whole of WWI, Austrian and German concentration camps conducted an active propaganda work
with the imprisoned Russian soldiers from Malorossia.
It was attempted to convince them that they are Ukrainians, and that they have nothing in common with Russians.
From the book of Paul Miljukov – the Foreign Minister of the Temporary Government – “The History of the Russian Revolution” (Note: the February colour revolution), 1917:
“When it comes to the propaganda among the Ukrainian prisoners of war, it started already in the spring of 1915,
when all imprisoned Malorossians, who agreed to recognise themselves as Ukrainians, were concentrated in the camp Rastatt.
Systematic lectures were conducted in this camp.
One of the lecturers was the Austrian professor Bezpalko,
(Note: Cossacks were in reality the trusted backbone of Russian land).
who painted before the prisoners a picture of free Cossack movement, and calling to overturn the hated yoke of Moskovia.”
Hoverer, despite the colossal effort and money, which the authorities invested into the propaganda among the imprisoned Malorossians,
even in the camps they were in no hurry to recognise themselves as some new separate people.
On the 30th of January 1917 Vladimir Lenin, in his letter to a party friend Alicia Armant,
was telling a story of one such captive soldier, whom it was attempted to convince, that he is not a Maloross, but a Ukrainian:
“He spent a year in German captivity, in a camp with 27000 imprisoned Ukrainians.
Germans create camps, based on national affinity, and chip them off from Russia by all means possible.
Crafty lecturers from Galicia were sent to the Ukrainians.
The result: only 2000 agreed to “independence”.
The rest became enraged at the very thought of being separated from Russia and switching sides to the Germans or the Austrians.
It’s a remarkable fact. We can’t not believe it. 27000 is a large number.
A year is a long timespan. The conditions for the Galician propaganda were exceptionally favourable.
Yet still, closeness to the Velikorossia (Greater Russia) overruled everything.”
(Note: This quote must be read in the context that Lenin was a Russophobe and conteptious of all that is Russian.)
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
Ukrainian nationalism got a certain push into the history only due to two historic events:
WWI and the October Revolution, as well as the preceding February Revolution.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
The main idea of the political class of Ukraine was to simply separate themselves
by a border from the Bolsheviks, who won in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
There appeared a national excuse: “We live in Ukraine, we have a Ukrainian nation. You had a revolution, while everything is fine here.”
Those processes were nurtured from outside, as Germany and Austro-Hungary were interested
in creating a buffer between themselves and the Bolsheviks.
And it was precisely the Revolution, which gave Austria and Germany such an opportunity.
Moreover, the warring empires needed the sizeable resources of Malorossia.
In an interview to the British “Daily Mail” of 1918, the German Chief of Staff of the Eastern Front, General Hoffmann stated:
“Ukraine is, in reality, my handiwork.
I created Ukraine so as to have an opportunity to sign a peace treaty with at least a part of Russia.”
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
If we take a look at the maps that were drawn at that time,
Ukraine occupied the lands of Malorossia proper and part if the Galician lands.
While for the future they already drew maps, which covered Cuban, Northern Caucasus, Crimea, the whole of Donetsk oblast (region) –
in other words a much bigger span than the Ukraine of today.
Brjansk oblast, Orlovsk oblast, and even Southern Belorussia.
In February 1917 Mihail Grushevskij returned to Kiev from his exile. That very same “professor”.
In 1914 he came from Galicia to the Russian Empire,
and in the beginning of WWI he was arrested on suspicion of his connection with the Austrian intelligence services, and was sent into exile.
Right after the February revolution of 1917 in Petrograd, the Ukrainian separatists in Kiev gathered central Rada,
and declared about the creation of the creation of the Ukrainian state.
Grushevskij became the first Speaker of the Rada – the Austrian agent and the one who invented the story of “Ukraine is not Russia”.
Austrian and German troops supported the Central Rada, but Malorossians could not understand why they had to fight for some Ukraine
against the same Russian people, even though Grushevskij tried with all of his might to explain what Ukraine is.
[Andrei Marchukov. Head Researcher at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Science]
In the spring he writes one such little brochure: “Who are Ukrainians and what do they want”.
The name actually strikes the matter at its core.
By November 1918 both the German and the Austrian empires fell apart, while the Ukrainian statehood went on.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
Because when in Moscow Bolsheviks run things and declare that everything will become nationalised and will belong to the people,
it’s clear that if I have here property and assets, then I’m definitely staying in a different state.
The local elite supported the pseudo-statehood, while little by little warring among themselves and plundering Malorossia.
(Note: Like Poroshenko and the other oligarchs in today’s Ukraine!)
The Ukrainian state finally dissolved in 1920, when
from one side the victorious Red Army moved over the territory of Ukraine,
and from the other side Petljura signed a treaty in Warsaw,
which ultimately transferred the Western Ukraine under the Polish rule.
Western Rus, Malorossia, was again divided.
Poland got Volyn and Galicia, and Bolsheviks got the rest.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
Bolsheviks were the first to create a Ukrainian State,
with such attributes as Ukrainian language, with Ukrainian science, with Ukrainian economy.
That was an ingenious move. By doing that, they disarmed everyone.
Only the genius of Lenin could think of it.
In 1921, while speaking at the 10th summit of the Party in Moscow, Iosif Stalin – the People’s Commisar on the Affairs of Nationalities, proclaimed:
“Even if in some cities of Ukraine Russian elements are still dominating,
with the course of time those cities will inevitably become Ukrainised.”
[Victor Shchedrin. Historian at the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
It was Lenin’s thesis: self-determination of nations up to and including separation.
And if Ukrainian people decided to become a part of the Soviet Union, then the Ukrainian nation has a right to exist.
[Alois Woldan. Professor of Slavic Literature at the Wien University, Austria]
Initially the strengthening of Ukrainian identity started not in Galicia, but in Kharkov, in the Soviet Ukraine.
The policy of indigenisation and suchlike.
Assistance in light of Lenin’s national policy. Support of the Ukrainian language.
In April 1923, during the 7th Conference of the Ukrainian Communist Party,
it was announced about the start of the Ukrainisation policy.
Everything got Ukrainised: state offices, legal procesures, schools, higher education, newspapers, theatres.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
The Ukrainian language was studied in schools.
Ukrainisation was conducted even somewhat cockily, also including on the Russian territories, which were added to Ukraine by Lenin.
By the way, why did he do it? Precisely so as to close the subject of Ukrainian separatism once and for all.
If the Ukrainian nationalists of today studied history,
they would have gathered not under the portraits of Stepan Bandera, but ubder that of the Stalin’s People’s Commisar – Lasar Moiseevich Kaganovich.
It was he, who with an iron fist mercilessly formed the Ukrainian nation from the Malorossian peasants.
Beat a Ukrainian identity into the youth.
It was thanks to Lasar Moiseevich, that by 1929 over 80% of schools,
55% of factory-professional schools, and 30% of universities conducted their education in Ukrainian language.
While by 1931, 90% of newspapers and 85% of journals of the Ukrainian SSR were published in Ukrainian language.
And that on the lands, where just 15 years before, most didn’t even understand what is this “Ukraine” and who are these “Ukrainians”.
From the book of the second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma “Ukraine is not Russia”:
“Regardless of the attitude one has to what was happening in 1920s,
one must admit that if not for the the Ukrainisation of school conducted at that time,
our today’s independence would probably not exist.
As time shows, the mass Ukrainian school, that graduated tens of millions of people,
turned out to be the most important and the most indestructible element of the Ukrainian foundation in Ukraine.”
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
Those Ukrainians, who remained in Poland, looked at the Soviet Ukraine with envy.
Many moved over. Many openly expressed their sympaties.
Mikhail Grushevskij, who returned to Soviet Ukraine from his emigration, excitedly wrote to one of his comrades:
“Despite all the limitations, I feel myself here as in the Ukrainian Republic, that we began building in 1917.”
The former activists of the nationalistic movements also start returning from the emigration.
Galician Ukrainians are coming.
The forced Ukrainisation caused open hostility among the Malorossians.
Vladimir Zatonskij, the People’s Commisar for education of UkSSR wrote:
“The broad Ukrainian masses treated Ukraine with derision.
Not just workers, but also the peasants.
Back then, Ukrainian peasants hated Ukrainians.
In Kiev we received protocols of the peasants’ meetings.
In those protocols the peasants wrote to us:
‘We all feel ourselves Russian and hate Germans and Ukrainians,
and ask RSFSR (Note: Soviet abbreviation for Russia) to take us in.'”
In the beginning of 1930s the authorities of USSR stopped Ukainisation, fearing the possible growth of the Ukrainian nationalism.
The events in the Western Ukraine, which ended up in Poland, played a certain role in the decision.
In 1918, in Lvov the local Ukrainians attempted to create their own state – The People’s Republic of Ukraine.
However, Poland – which became independent earlier, after the dissolvement of the Russian Empire –
pretty quickly took Galicia under its control, after a short and brutal war.
While the Polish authorities started to suppress the Ukrainian national movement.
That’s is quite ironic. Poles, who played a special role in the forming of Ukrainian identity,
started to actively prohibit Ukrainian language and close down Ukrainian schools.
As the result of this, in 1929, the first summit of OUN – Organisation of the Ukrainian Nationalists – took place.
OUN set the goal of building a state, based on the principal of “one party and one nation” – Ukrainian.
OUN started an outright terror campaign against the Polish authorities –
murders of Polish colonists, Polish officials, arsens and bombings.
From the brochure of an OUN activist, Mikhail Kolodzinskij, “Ukrainian Military Doctrine”, 1938:
“Not only do we want to posses the Ukrainian cities, but also to trample over the enemy lands,
conquer the capitals of the enemies, and on their ruins salute to the Ukrainian Empire.
We want to win a war. A great, cruel war, which will turn us into the master of the Eastern Europe.”
From the end of 1930s the Ukrainian nationalists started to actively cooperate with Abwehr – the German secret service.
They were given training in the spy schools, studying diversion tactics.
These contacts especially intensified after the Soviet Army entered Western Ukraine in 1939.
The members if OUN viewed Germany as a temporary ally, which would help building an independent Ukraine.
The Germans, however, had no such plans.
For them the Ukrainian nationalists were a tool of their foreign policy, and nothing else.
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
The creation of the Council of Ukraine as part of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich was quite logical.
Yes, he quite openly wrote that he will have colonies in the East.
[Igor Barinov. Candidate of Science (History) at Moscow State University]
The Ukrainian nationalists were seriously expecting that after the occupation of Ukraine, once it’s over,
the Germans would give them the possibility to create their own independent state.
From the first days of the War, OUN started to openly collaborate with the German occupational administration.
Nationalists organised in Lvov terrible Jewish massacres, murders of Poles, Russians, Armenians.
OUN members participated in the polizei punisher battalions, into the Ukrainian division of SS.
From the speech of Stepan Bandera at OUN summit:
“During the time of chaos and trouble, one can allow oneself to eliminate the unwanted Polish, Moscovian and Jewish activists,
especially the supporters of the Bolshevik-Moskovian Imperialism.”
[Michał Siekierka. Polish historian. Wroclaw University]
It is very difficult to say what motives had those people, who enrolled into the ranks of SS as volunteers.
However, a part of those people undoubtedly enrolled on ideological grounds.
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
The Ukrainian nationalism in itself is a pseudo-religion, which by and large pushes out Christianity from the minds and consciousness of the people.
And a good example to this are the brutalities, that the Ukrainian nationalists did back then and are doing now,
because a Christian simply can’t do something like this.
(Note: Not really. Remember the brutality of the Witch hunts and the Crusades of the Western Christianity?)
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
Here we must also understand that there happened a degradation of the traditional religious structures.
Christianity started losing its ground.
Andrei Sheptitskij, the head of the Greek-Uniat Church, which at one time headed all those movements for creation of Ukraine,
he later in horror tried to stop this terrible process.
When “Glory to Jesus Christ. Glory for all time.” got turned into “Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.”
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
What is happening now in Donbass and in Ukraine – abductions, tortures, murders,
outright nazism, appeal to the Nazi aesthetics and symbolism.
For example the symbol of the Azov battalion is simply the symbol the SS division “Das Reich”.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
Ukrainian democrats marched down Kreschatik with the portrait of Hitler,
but nobody really wants to accentuate that at the core of the Ukrainian nationalism is the Nazi ideology.
In the Soviet Union it was customary not to speak about the crimes committed by the Ukrainian nationalists during WWII.
For example, about the fact that the Belorussian village Hatyn was destroyed specifically by the Ukrainian polizeis.
Or about the Volyn massacre – a punisher operation during which the OUN members murdered 70000 Poles in Volyn,
including infants and old people.
Speaking about it did not go hand in hand with the Soviet concept of “friendship of the peoples”.
And besides, hundreds of thousands of Soviet Ukrainians honestly fought against Hitler, dying and becoming heroes.
And they fought also because it was the Soviet rule, which fully acknowledged the Ukrainian identity.
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
We are all Russians – both those born Ukraine, and those born in Belorussia, and those born in Velikorossia.
The achievements that we had in science, in culture, in politics, in military art, they were always a common property.
For example the Ostankino TV Tower was engineered by Kondratjuk.
Basically a lot of figures, who are the classics of our culture, of our literature, hail from Ukraine: N.V. Gogol, Bulgakov, Korolenko.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
The most modern industries of the time were concentrated in Ukraine.
And in fact Ukraine possessed about 60% of the most efficient and high-tech industrial potential of the USSR.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
USSR was governed by Ukrainians for quite a lengthy period of time: Brezhnev, Chernenko, our various ministers.
Can one imagine the Russian Army without Ukrainians? What about Soviet Militia (police)? It’s totally impossible.
[Rostislav Ishchenko. Ukrainian politologist, President of the Centre for System Analysis and Prognosis]
There was definitely no restriction of the rights of the Ukrainians,
because if the language didn’t get the artificial support, if the books were not published in million copies in Ukrainian language,
if the Ukrainian writers and poets were not translated into Jakutian, or Uzbeck languages, or into the the languages of the world,
then, first of all, no one would have known about them, and without the support of the USSR Ukrainian culture would simply not have existed.
[Anna Raźny. Polish historian, Professor of the Department for Russian and East-European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow]
Why was everything different at the times of USSR?
The ideology of Communism was that power that was giving calmness to Ukraine. Stability.
The period of stability ended, Soviet Union fell apart, and from the 1991, an uncharted for Ukraine future begins.
In 1991, shortly after the so-called August Putch (coup d’etat), a referendum on independence was conducted in Ukraine.
Poland and USA immediately recognised its results. (Note: but not 2014 Crimean referendum!)
[Bogdan Bezpalko. Member of the Council on International Relations under the President of the Russian Federation]
A really independent Ukraine appeared only in 1991 and precisely within those borders, presented to it by the Soviet leaders.
[Anna Raźny. Polish historian, Professor of the Department for Russian and East-European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow]
The appearance of Ukraine, a huge Ukraine, after the dissolvement of USSR is, in my opinion, a mistake.
It is a political experiment, founded on the Western globalisation.
Here USA and EU play the most important role.
Leonid Daniilovich Kuchma, when he decided to define what is this state, the only thing that he could invent was that “Ukraine is not Russia”.
And this logical basis of the Ukrainian national policy is well-understood in the Western capitals.
The only ideology that was formulated over all these years, is the ideology of the Ukrainian nationalism.
Over all the years of the Cold War, the West was cultivating the Ukrainian nationalism,
financed the nationalistic organisations in Europe, USA and Canada.
From the televised address of the American President Obama to the people, September 2014
Full text at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/barackobama/barackobamaunitednations69.htm
America heads the efforts to unite the whole world against the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy.
Already in 1979, Zbigniew Brzeziński – the (Polish-born) advisor to the American President Jimmy Carter on the issues of national security –
devised the Constitution of Ukraine, independent of USSR. Zbigniew Brzeziński wrote:
“Ukraine. The new important territory on the Euroasian chessboard
is a geopolotical centre because its very existence as an independent state helps to transform Russia.
Without Ukraine, Russia stops being a Euroasian empire.”
[Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński. (Polish-born) National Security Advisor for US President (1977–81)]
The West is open for Ukraine. And what is equally imortant, Ukraine became tighter connected to the West.
The majority of Ukrainians are not the opponents of the Russians.
On the other hand the majority of Ukrainians like independence more and more. They prefer independence.
According to my personal observations, it is important that their independence is more justified for them and brings them closer to the West.
(Note the 25th frame effect in his use of the word “independence”!)
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
Ukraine is still needed as a potential part of Rzecz Pospolita. After all, the Rzecz Pospolita project hasn’t been abandoned,
and it has great potential in the framework of the contemporary Europe.
In principal, USA is ready to hand over to the Poles the influence on these territories.
The Poles therefore don’t yet pull this ace out.
[Anna Raźny. Polish historian, Professor of the Department for Russian and East-European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow]
A Ukrainian has no influence over these processes, which are of a geopolitical kind.
It’s not just a domestic history of the contemporary Ukraine, it’s the Western intervention.
And that’s what EuroMaidan showed.
We all know how it was organised, who participated.
Regrettably, Poland took part in this EuroMaidan.
And the consequences of this EuroMaidan intervention unfold tragically before our eyes.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
Ukrainian separatism has grown into a civil war, which is currently ablaze.
Ukrainian identity is often based on a so-called resentment complex.
Someone is constantly guilty before this people. Someone stagnated their development.
First it was the Poles, then it was the Russians.
Everyone does wrong by Ukraine. This is a complex without a future.
[Anna Raźny. Polish historian, Professor of the Department for Russian and East-European studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow]
There is only one way out for Ukraine: to return to the roots,
to the high values, on which both a Ukrainian, Polish-Ukrainian and Russian-Ukrainian future can be built.
[Pavel Kuzenkov. PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Church History of the Faculty of History of Lomonosov Moscow State University]
Meanwhile a fratricidal war is going on, and we also carry our share of guilt.
We are at fault, and this is primarily an ideological fault.
We completely ignored this question. We let everything drift.
We that that we could control the whole situation with just a pipeline. This was a grievous mistake.
[Krzysztof Zanussi. Polish film and theatre director]
Russia seldom speaks of its faults, I almost never hear that.
However if we want development, we must acknowledge our mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them.
In reality, despite all of these 150-year long spites, despite a consistent implementation of the Project “Ukraine” by the West,
we – Russians and Ukrainians – remain in fact one people.
And none, but Russia will understand Ukraine the best.
And no one, but a Russian will understand a Ukrainian the best.
Our friendship, our relationship is founded on the principals of cultural, religious, bloodline kinship.
We have a common civilisational foundation. We have common values, common victories and defeats.
A common history.
And one wants to believe that our future is also common.

7 thoughts on “Project ‘Ukraine’. Documentary by Andrei Medvedev (with English subtitles)

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  3. Thanks for that translation. As far as I followed, it is adequate. What leads us to different questions: While blaming Ukraines for being created by various foreign conspiracies, the author of that documantary gives us the idea of an eternal Rus / Русь. Unfortunately, there is no such country to be found on a map. There is just Russia / Россія. This names are close. But they are not the same. It will get clearer, if we try to work as serious historians:We will find out, that Русь during history indeed refers to different regions.Furthermore, in ancient German city chronicles from medieval times you will even find “Rus” as a term that basically describes Vikings. Which are indeed supposed to have played an important role in building up a kind of state that became Kyivan Rus. After the Kyivan state broke up, different regions claimed its heritage. Among them there was no Russia. There was a smaller principality of Suzdal´, later Moscow. Only after Moscovians were able to conquer another souverein state that somehow appeared after Kyivan Rus ended, the Republic of Novgorod, the idea of forming a “Russian Empire” becomes a goal of Moscovian rulers. Lands of today´s Ukraine were not part of this 16th and 17th centuriy´s state. As mentioned, they pro forma were part of Dutchery and later Polish Kingdom, though de facto most parts east of Galicia and Volhynia were able to maintain old traditions – and never were forced to take catholic believe. In this parts, premodern cossack states later developed. Confronted with Polish power longing for stretching eastwards, they asked Russian Empire´s Tsar to ally. Because in his function as Tsar – equal to medieval concepts of Kaiser in Roman Holy Empire of German Nations – he was not only leader of a russian state but as well the preserver of Orthodox Faith. It is a misconception that those cossacks asked for unification with Russia – and this is well known. If to trace back roots of a modern ukrainian nation you may find this cossacks as the roots of a later Ukrainian elite. Even for about nearly 150 years in Russian annexed part of Ukraine was able to maintain a different system of laws and freedoms. Indeed, novorussian, malorussian or ukrainian farmers for example weren´t used to traditions of despotism and serfdom, as they were usual in Russia. Not only the Magdeburger Law was known in Ukraine, but not in Russian Empire. Even social conceptions differed as they are given in Russian мир and Ukrainian громада.

    At all it is obvious, that this documentary is not about giving knowledge but is about discreditizing Ukraine: A narrative that is based on marking out everything that counters its validity as the product of foreign agents and some willing and naive traitors is not striking at all. There is absolutely no evidence that, beside faith, there was any attraction for inhabitants of Ukrainian lands to join Russia. Russian peasents were rather slaves. Tsarist rulership was build on despotism. Different revolutions beginning from the 19th century prove, that conditions inside Russia for sure didn´t make it a glorious empire.

    Discreditation continues in blaming Ukrainian Language as a product. In such case, Russian language as well must be treated as product, since it was developed only later (what, ironically, even is given in that documentary). To check old documents you may find easily a language in use, that differs from Russian. As it is usual among the slavic languages, this differences are not dramatically big – but they are too big to deny that here a language with a common root somewhere some centuries back splitted in two different ways.

    The most stupid point of course is the try to blame people who refer to an independent Ukraine as bloodthirsty nationalists. Indeed it was Russia who for centruries oppressed any use of Ukrainian language in official manners (maybe that´s the reason why there aren´t too much official documents in ukrainian???) and the express of Ukrainian culture. But despite this we will find that the National Movement of Ukraine in history was much stronger backed by liberalism and intellectuals than others. That doesn´t mean that such morons as Donzov didn´t play a role. But is rather thin, since no proclamation of souvereing Ukrainian states (neither between 1917 – 1921 nor in 1991) never was based on Donzov or a so called “blood nationalism” but always adressed to those peope, who live in our Ukraine / наша Україна. Indeed if Russia just could have accepted the existance of a Ukrainian state, there wouldn´t be hatred against Moskali. But since for the Russian state it is a useful goal to spread the threat of hohols on holy “russian” lands, they shouldn´t wonder why they are treated like enemies – because this is Russian policy towards Ukraine since centuries.

    There are even some hints that acciddentally made it into this documentary proving the even now rather not too nationalistic mood in Ukraine: The use of Russian language (the song by the way mentioned by translater above is not accidentally in Russian, but on purpose). All Ukrainians are able to communicate in both languages. And basically noone ever made a problem out of this. Like in Scottland or Ireland after centuries of English ruling the country, people usually speak their own language and this one that was forced upon them by an occupant. it is not a prove that a Scottisch or Irish nation doesn´t exist and noone would ever question this. it is the same in Ukrainian case. Thus, Ukrainians of course understand what bullshit is spread about them in Russian public today. What indeed may lead to a point that the whole Ukrainian people may want to sing out: мы никогда не станем братями.

  4. I will approve your comment for all to see – in the Russian spirit of openness and discussion.

    I doubt, however, that you watched the documentary. You write: “Indeed it was Russia who for centruries oppressed any use of Ukrainian language in official manners”. How does it rhyme with the fact that the strongest Ukrainiasation happened during the Soviet period with the outright blossoming of publications in Ukrainian? Oh, and Ukrainian language appeared only towards the end of 1800, so “for centuries” is a bit too much. The appearance of “Ukrainian” out of a bunch of local Malorossian and Galician dialects was driven by the same processes of national-romantism, as, for example, creation of New-Norwegian. But that linguistic study was soon hijacked for the political reasons.

    You write: “Indeed if Russia just could have accepted the existance of a Ukrainian state, there wouldn’t be hatred against Moskali.” As far as memory serves me, Russia not only accepted Ukraine (USSR pushed through a seat to Ukraine in UN!), but donated quite a lot of lands to it, donated industrialisation, donated the trade fleet. Ukraine was created by chopping of a bit of Russia, and with Russia’s silent blessing.

    What more acceptance and recognition do you require? From USSR/Russia Ukraine inherited industry – second or third largest in Europe, world’s 6th largest economy, one of the world’s largest trade fleets, a huge common market, discounted energy sources. Not every young county can even dream of such starting conditions! Russian Federation started worse off than Ukraine! Yet Ukraine managed to squander it all, and its statehood, all the while chasing after “acceptance”. You don’t get acceptance because you say others should accept and respect you – you earn acceptance and respect through your actions and wise policies.

    PS “in ancient German city chronicles from medieval times you will even find “Rus” as a term that basically describes Vikings.” That is, actually, quite an interesting observation, as the Rus – Root – people lived all the way from Urals to the Flat Russia – Po Russia – Prussia. Vikings, or Varjags were a Slavic tribe, and in general, at that time, as you correctly, though indirectly, point out, there were no national states in our modern understanding. There were peoples with connections to cities or trades, intermingled. The separation, the divide and conquer through nationalism is an invention of the 1800s. And interestingly, what became known as People’s Republic Ukraine in 1918 is a pinnacle of such nationalistic experiment – the most “successful” one.
    An, of course, the majority in Ukraine still speak Russian, if only at home. The problem for Donbass was the forced Ukrainisation and the outflow of the financing to the unfriendly Kiev-powers.

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