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Tuesday
Apr172012

Kuzio's Phantom Nationalism

Taras Kuzio wrote yet another of his articles (hat tip to Michael Averko) in his recent series of recycled arguments. I will discuss the essence of these article below:

The most recent of Kuzio's articles was published in the OpenDemocracy as a reaction to an article by Ivan Katchanovski which spoke about the rise of the nationalist All Ukrainian Union 'Svoboda' (VO 'Svoboda'). The point of Kuzio's article (or rather articles) is clear: researchers, writers, pundits and hacks should not care about VO 'Svoboda', instead they should care about the 'real' nationalist threat, Yanukovych. Kuzio's efforts are rather lame, and one has to wonder what exactly his motivation for publishing these articles is?

Kuzio has described the issue of why Yanukovych is the biggest nationalist threat as follows in a similar article of his from January. I quote:

The prevalence of bi-ethnic identities and high levels of Russian language use in eastern and southern Ukraine translates into high levels of identification with Soviet and Russian culture and deep levels of hostility towards Ukrainian nationalism. This, in turn, provides a bedrock of support for Sovietophile and Russophile parties, such as the Communist Party and the ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions because public support for social authoritarian political forces is far higher in eastern than western Ukraine. The Communist Party and Party of Regions have eight times as much support in eastern and southern Ukraine and the Crimea, at 40 percent nationwide, compared to 4-5 percent nationwide for the Svoboda nationalist party. Western Ukrainian ethnic nationalism has been weak in Ukraine and support for Svoboda, even in the face of Yanukovych’s Russophile nationality policies and democratic regression...

And in his most recent article:

First, Svoboda’s popularity has not grown – and indeed in some recent polls has declined – since the neo-Soviet and pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych was elected president in 2010. Contrary to Katchanovski's analysis, Svoboda is unlikely to cross the 5 percent threshold in October’s parliamentary elections, and even if Svoboda members are elected, it will only be in single mandate districts [rather than via nationwide proportional representation]. Western Ukrainian ethnic nationalism is weak...

...

Second, neo-Soviet and Russian nationalism is a far bigger threat to Ukraine’s democratic system and European integration than ethnic Ukrainian nationalism. Victor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions is a much more violent, anti-democratic and corrupt political machine than Svoboda could ever be.

It should be pointed out that neo-Soviet, pro-Russian, Russophile, Sovietophile, even Eurasian seem to be terms that Kuzio uses to describe the phantom he chases, and which he has apparently found embodied in the Party of Regions. It also seems that he decided to bring under the rubric of 'nationalism', all political proclivities of Russophone (or rather East) Ukrainians. One is left wondering how Russian language use translates into high levels of identification with Russian, not to mention Soviet culture, whatever the latter is? It all appears that Kuzio has a problem with the very presence of the Russian element in Ukraine.

But is there a Russian element which is in opposition to Ukrainian nationalism in Ukraine? Certainly there is, an opposition to Ukrainian nationalism, and its accompanying excesses' such as Ukraininisation has existed there for a very long time. It does not necessarily have to draw on the Soviet experience though as it has a history pre-dating the Soviet Union, but contrary to Ukrainian nationalists, and Svidomite diaspora pundits such as Kuzio (who seem to be no strangers to Ukrainian nationalism), the Russophiles generally do not appear to be that hostile towards the whole of Soviet experience.

Politically, the principal demands of these people are: rights for the Russian language (which has a much wider currency in Ukraine than Ukrainian despite the efforts of nationalist and red Ukrainisators); federalisation of the country with regards to the fact that Ukraine is an amalgam of historically barely related (or completely unrelated) territories; and a pro-Russian foreign policy vector.

Yanukovych ran on a ticket promising at least two of the above points, although as far as I can recall, he always declared his pro-EU ambitions. The question is whether the Party of Regions lives up to at least being a defender of the rights of Russian speakers, and of federalisation? The reality is that it does not live up to the latter at all, the issue of federalisation has been conveniently forgotten in the Party of Regions a long time ago. As for Russian language rights, the Party of Regions is certainly not willing to make Russian the second official, and the law on languages, which has promised more rights for Russian (and other languages by the way) at least on regional level, is still not yet ratified as far as I know (my information might be little dated here). Simply put, the so called Russophile Yanukovych does not hurry with the language issue.

We should also take a look at the following chart:

Source

The chart shows a rise in the number of pupils taking classes in Ukrainian under Yanukovych's so called (by Kuzio and by VO 'Svoboda') Ukrainophobe Minister of Education, Tabachnyk. I wonder where are those Russophile nationality policies of Yanukovych? In December last year Dr. Kuzio complained

In 2003, the Yanukovych government celebrated Volodymyr Shcherbytsky’s 85th anniversary and the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor Soviet-induced famine from the 1930s. Deputy Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk was responsible for ensuring the Shcherbytsky celebrations went to plan while also campaigning for international support for the Holodomor to be classified as “genocide.” Today, Yanukovych and Tabachnyk deny the Holodomor, which claimed the lives of millions of Ukrainians, was either specifically designed to target Ukraine or an attempted “genocide.”

Perhaps the attitude of Yanukovych to the issue of Holodomor is the only thing that Kuzio can find. However, Yanukovych does not deny the Holodomor, or shy away from its commemoration. One should note that Holodomor, interpreted as a genocide of Ukrainian people, is a nationalist myth which was developed into an absurd narrative in the diaspora. It does not correspond to reality, and has highly Russophobic, and at times Antisemitic undertones. It should also be pointed out that Kuzio is known to have been an ardent promoter of that myth. One does not become a Russophile or Sovietophile by not accepting diaspora nationalist fairytales, but one can certainly raise the ire of someone with nationalist proclivities like Kuzio by not accepting them. It might be Kuzio's own sympathies towards Ukrainian nationalists which make him write articles attempting to diminish the issue of VO 'Svoboda', and bring our attention to something that does not exist, namely Yanukovych's Russophilia.

Now that I have, I think convincingly, established that Yanukovych does not work in the interests of the Russian element in Ukraine, it is worth noting that Kuzio appears to inflate support the Party of Regions and the Communists have. The polling agency Rating in its electoral forecast for last month, reported that the Party of Regions has 21.3% (out of people who are determined to come to the elections; out of all asked only 16.5%) and the Communists have 9.9% ('...' out of all people asked only 7.7), this adds up to around 30% support for both parties.

Kuzio likewise talks about a decline of support for VO 'Svoboda', but according to Rating, ratings of VO 'Svoboda' have been stable for at least four months with support of more than 4%. There is chance that it might reach the 5% result needed to enter the Rada (the parliament) during elections because of its disciplined and loyal base. But even if it is unsuccessful in this way, it might still gain seats in the Rada in single mandate districts as Kuzio, among others, reminds us. He also tells us that West Ukrainian ethnic nationalism is weak nation-wide, that is because it is West Ukrainian. But in Western Ukraine, more specifically in Galicia, VO 'Svoboda' is far from what one can call weak.

In the three Galician regions, VO 'Svoboda' has a rather large representation on the regional councils. It holds 34.69% of Ternopol', 25.98% of Lvov, and 16.60% of Ivano-Frankovsk. In Galicia's neighbour to the North, in Volhynia, it has 7.44% in Volyn' and 6.34% in Rovno, in Bukovina it has 3.90%, and beyond the Zbruch river in Khmel'nytsky it has 4.06%, and in Kiev region 3.48%. Svoboda has branches in all corners of Ukraine, including rather surprisingly, Donetsk and Crimea, although it has little support in those regions, and it does not even pretend that it wants to win support in these areas. On the other hand, Rodina, a party that could be considered a representative of the Russian element (I have been inspired by its manifesto when compiling the usual demands of Russophiles), does not show much of an activity beyond its home city, Odessa.

And this brings us to who pays for all this circus, In his most recent article Kuzio writes:

Third, Svoboda’s main raison d’etre is as an artificial scarecrow designed to direct votes away from bona fide ‘orange’ democratic parties, and to mobilise eastern Ukrainian, Russophone voters against the virtual ‘nationalist bogeyman’. There are grounds to suggest that the Party of Regions has had a direct role funding Svoboda (though as financing of all parties is not transparent in Ukraine, there is no ‘smoking gun’ here).

He has repeated a line akin to the above in almost every article dedicated VO 'Svoboda', although the above is more nuanced from the usual. Compare it with this line from his January article:

There would be no Svoboda without the Party of Regions. Last year, two reports by the pro-Yanukovych American Institute in Ukraine condemned the Party of Regions financial support for Svoboda.

It is clear that Kuzio wants to present VO 'Svoboda' as a creature of the Party of Regions, and imply that if only the Party of Regions would stop feeding that creature, the creature would die. This kind of analysis, if we can even call it an analysis, suggests that the success of VO 'Svoboda' is entirely based on the support it gets from the Party of Regions or affiliated oligarchs. This I believe is a patently false view, and all it is based on are rumours and speculation. The following is a quote from an article by Tadeusz A. Olszanski:

However, the fact that the activity of Svoboda is convenient for the Party of Regions in the short term does not mean that Svoboda is controlled by the Party of Regions. Svoboda is undoubtedly an independent political force with clearly defined objectives, determined to seek their implementation. It is ready to accept help from its enemies (e.g. by accepting invitations to major political TV programmes, with probable consent from the government), including financial assistance (the common belief is that Svoboda's campaign before Ternopil district council elections in 2009 was financed by an oligarch, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who was in conflict with Yulia Tymoshenko at the time, although the party itself denies this). 

Most people made the observation that the Party of Regions benefits from the activities of VO 'Svoboda', among them are actually Ukrainian Russophiles. Most sensible Russophiles have realised a long time ago that the Party of Regions does not work in their interests. The thinking goes that in this situation the nationalists will provoke the East Ukrainian electorate, and Yanukovych will ride in like a saviour. I think this is also far fetched given the ratings of VO 'Svoboda', and that such a strategy can work in the short run on the weak-minded. But the fact that Yanukovych does not do anything about the nationalists, and on top of that does not seem to bother with delivering on Russophile demands cannot be kept under the lid. In my opinion, this kind of technology can only hurt the Party of Regions. 

Perhaps the best gift VO 'Svoboda' offers to the Party of Regions is accusing it of being pro-Moscow, much like Kuzio does. Since the Party of Regions has next to nothing to present in terms of results of its Russophile work, I guess the word of VO 'Svoboda' and Dr. Kuzio will have to suffice. Meanwhile, the Party of Regions has voted to commemorate the 120 Anniversary of the Uniate Metropolitan and Nazi collaborator, Yosif Slipyy, further alienating its Russophile electorate.

Kuzio claims that the VO 'Svoboda' is designed to direct votes away from 'bona fide orange democratic parties.' If this is happening, it would mean that the electorate of these bona fide orange parties is not all that bona fide. And this would mean that the values of VO 'Svoboda' are shared by a lot of people. Katchanovski writes:

‘Freedom’ tries to present itself as an ideological nationalist opposition to the Yanukovych government and to occupy the political space vacated by the previous President Viktor Yushchenko, whose personal popularity, together with the popularity of his party, is in tatters.

Ironically, it was Yushchenko, hailed at the time in the West as leader of the democratic ‘Orange Revolution,’ who helped to pave the way for the illiberal ‘Freedom’ party. A  cornerstone of his policy was his promotion as national heroes of the OUN, Svoboda’s ideological predecessor, and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army(UPA), established by the OUN during World War II.  

I do not find it ironic at all, given Yushchenko's record, the man would make a great member of VO 'Svoboda'. The only thing that separates Yushchenko from membership in that party is his former membership of the Communist party. Svoboda does not allow former Commies to join. It is not just the UPA members which Yushchenko elevated to the pantheon of heroes, we should recall that Yushchenko's period was marked by other numerous instances of pandering to nationalist narratives, and Russophobia in the best traditions of Ukrainian nationalism.

Did VO 'Svoboda' feed on 'Our Ukraine's' (Yushchenko's party) carcass? I think other parties, those bona fide orange parties included, were feeding on it far more than VO 'Svoboda'. Outside of Galicia, VO 'Svoboda' does not appear to be biting away on any party. Although, on the other hand, the party membership has increased threefold in the period between 2004-2010. Because VO 'Svoboda' does not allow former Commies into its ranks, it has mostly young members. Kids who come out of school where they are taught that Bandera was a hero, that Ukrainians were always (for centuries) in conflict with the Russians (courtesy of Hrushevsky), and other nonsense, fill the ranks of VO 'Svoboda'. And kids are more likely to hear this kind of nonsense in Western Ukraine, in Galicia in particular. But Kuzio wants us to look for nationalists outside Galicia.

Many western scholars and journalists view nationalism in Ukraine as a sentiment held only by ethnic Ukrainians and a dominant political force only in the west of the country. The truth is different. The outward manifestations associated with nationalism – anti-democratic culture, racial intolerance, anti-Semitism and xenophobia – are more of a problem in eastern and southern Ukraine and Crimea than in western Ukraine. Leaked US embassy cables reported  that neo-nazis are most active in the regions of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Sumy, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Odesa, and Zhytomyr, most of which are in the east of the country.

If you follow the link to that cable, you will find out that it does not state cities where nationalists are most active. It is a list of organisations, and for some organisations listed there, there is an information on where their branches are located. Small research reveals that the majority of these organisations draw their ideology from radical Ukrainian nationalism, Dmytro Dontsov and his descendants basically. One cannot blame any Russophile tendencies on this phenomenon. Only one of these organisations named, the Eurasian Youth Movement stands out of this bunch, and Ukrainian Movement Against Illegal Immigration is said to have Russian and Ukrainian wings, the two are said to have disagreements. Yes you have Nazis, a particularly Ukrainian brand of Nazis, in Eastern Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine also has famous football clubs with some of the rowdiest fans. But unlike in Galicia, this mess stays at the stadium, for the time being at least. Nowhere, not in Donetsk, not in Khar'kov, or in Odessa, does a local football fan club translate into a notable presence on city or regional councils.

Speaking of Odessa and Nazis, Kuzio keeps on mentioning in his articles a certain notorious Odessite Nazi (see my previous post) who died several years ago after provoking a fight with Antifa (although according to other versions these were just regular guys visiting a club), as a victim of a deadly phantom that Kuzio calls Russophile, Sovietophile, Eurasian, whatever... nationalism. I quote:

...Odesa State University student and member of the patriotic youth movement Sich Maksym Chaika  in Odesa on 17 April 2009.

And back in January:

...on April 17, 2009, Maksym Chaika, a 20-year-old student of Odesa National University and member of the patriotic youth movement Sich, was murdered in Odesa.

I wrote about this little line of Kuzio's before, and perhaps I should repeat that little quotation from OpenDemocracy I made the last time:

I am only listing the anti-fascist victims of neo-nazi terror, not the victims of retaliation attacks. This is for a good reason. Despite the established stereotype that "neo-nazis and anti-fascists are one and the same thing", Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian anti-fascists, young men and women of direct action, do not engage in murder.  They may rough their enemies up, but they don't kill. In this sense the murder of the Ukrainian neo-nazi Maxim Chaika in Odessa was the tragic result of neo-nazi actions.  15 neo-nazis attacked 5 anti-fascists, who naturally got out their knives. There were no international conspiracies, no intrigues by Russia or any external forces acting against Ukraine, as President Yushchenko unworthily tried to prove during his election campaign. The war between neo-nazis and their enemies goes on all over the world. Now it has affected Ukraine as well.

Yushchenko wanted to find links between Antifa and Rodina, and ultimately to some Russian involvement. It was nothing but Russophobic harassment so typical of Ukraine under his rule. Links between Chayka's killers and Russophile forces in the city were never established, we do not even know for sure whether they were Antifa. It is really strange that nobody has informed Kuzio yet about the nature of the man he is defending. It should be pointed out that aside of Kuzio mentioning Chayka in each of his articles, the only other people who publically commemorate Chayka's memory regularly are VO 'Svoboda'. It is VO 'Svoboda' which organised marches through Odessa in Chayka's memory shouting: 'We will not forget, nor forgive!' They have turned Chayka into an Ukrainian version of Horst Wessel 

Below I make a small summary of the main points of this rather long post:

1) It is rather hard to know what Kuzio means when he talks about neo-Soviet/pro-Russian/Russophile/Sovietophile/Eurasian nationalism. There is a phenomenon of that kind but all of Kuzio's examples do not fit the profile.

2) The Party of Regions does not fit the profile. Accusing it of being pro-Russian only improves its image.

4) VO 'Svoboda' is no puppet of the Party of Regions and can exist without its support. The allegations of VO 'Svoboda' receiving support from the Party of Regions are nothing but rumours which may or may not be true.

3) VO 'Svoboda' is a major force in Western Ukraine, whether it is likely to grow or not is an opened question about which nobody is sure. As such, people should be writing about it, who is Kuzio to tell anyone they should not care?

5) Kuzio keeps on spreading the same myths that VO 'Svoboda' spreads. Namely that the Party of Regions is an Ukrainophobic/Russophile force, and that Maxym Chayka was killed by pro-Moscow forces for being an Ukrainian patriot. Kuzio's motivations regarding his recent articles are therefore suspicious. 

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Reader Comments (79)

You're right on the money once again Leos. You've convincingly proved that Kuzio is a very, very, very bad Svidomite man! Kudos!!

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Is that all you have? :-))

April 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Well, isn't that all that you're really trying to prove anyway?? What higher grade do you expect from me, anyway?? Kuzio is a pathetic Svidomite...Long live a one unified Ruskij Mir!!!

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

I see you have nothing to challenge what I wrote with. I feel really good about that. :-))

April 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Leos,

Your continued patience with this loser troll has an admirable quality.

Kuzio's own nationalism has been authoritatively debunked at your two most recent posts, inclusive of their threads. Kuzio suggestively spins pro-Russian in a negative light, when compared to his anti-Russian nationalist leaning direction.

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

'Kuzio's own nationalism has been authoritatively debunked at your two most recent posts'

The key words here are not 'authoritatively', but 'at your two most recent posts'. The bulk of Kuzio's printed material gets circulated is at high venue spots, books, scholarly journals etc; He doesn't waste his time at clap trap venues like this one...this site only manages to attract various Russophile thugs, hacks, conspiracy theorists and other sad, sad fellow travelers! :-)

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Even Kuzio's scholarly work is not safe from critique, and I have seen some people do that. The above post is not about a book or a scholarly journal article though.

By the way Mr.Hack. on other blogs, you would be banned for shitting all over comments sections with irrelevant nonsense like you are doing. And you call us thugs you moron?

April 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

The chump posting at this blog appears to be Hack, whose diatribes don't coverup his glaring ignorance and limited intellectual abilities.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

"...high levels of Russian language use in eastern and southern Ukraine translates into high levels of identification with Soviet and Russian culture and deep levels of hostility towards Ukrainian nationalism."

Almost 40% of Belgians speak French. French is spoken by all educated Haitians, and is the nation's language of business. Luxembourg and most of Africa speak French. Does that translate to high levels of identification with Napoleonic and French culture, a fondness for escargots and deep levels of hostility for non-French elements in those countries? Hardly.

There's no rationality behind the connections Kuzio is drawing. I mean, if you're into rationality.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

@ Mark

Gogol' wrote in Russian but his writings indicate that he identified with the culture of his home region, that is Russia Minor, or what we would today anachronistically call Ukrainian culture (Gogol' nor Shevchenko had any notion of there being a Ukrainian nation but had a distinct regional patriotism). Sort of like high level of English language use in Scotland does not translate into identification with English culture, but many Scots are for unity with England for various reasons.

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

'By the way Mr.Hack. on other blogs, you would be banned for shitting all over comments sections with irrelevant nonsense like you are doing. And you call us thugs you moron?'

Leos - If you really feel this way, I'd suggest that you ban me from any further participation here. I'd actually consider it a huge favor. Your blog is dedicated to resurrecting russophoilic chauvinistic positions that originated in the 18th - 19th centuries. I'm convinced that this blog offers absolutely no possibility for intelligent discussion for a Ukraininan/Russian dialogue. You're usage of deragatory terms like 'Svidomite' for anybody who espouses a pride in his own Ukrainian nationality, without the necessary baggage of Russian association is proof of this perception.

My participation here is really like a dirty, bad habit, not unlike Roobit's forsaking of the smoking habit. I will not change my tone to some of the moronic attitudes that I encounter here, and therefore do not request any leniency but actually implore you to ban me from participating here.
It'll only help hasten my departure from participating in this anachronistic venue. For once, I'll ask that you take Mickey's opinion fully into account while making your decision. Please do me a great favor Leos:

PLEASE BAN ME FROM THIS BLOG!!! THANK YOU!!!

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUnrepented Hack

I for one have no trouble accepting that there is a unique Ukrainian identity, and that Ukrainians are different (in some ways) from Russians. I don't participate in the traditional insults against Ukrainians - I'm not talking about here - like "why don't you go eat some salo", because my father-in-law, who is as Russian as they come, loves salo. Likewise I don't appreciate anti-Russian cultural insults that suggest every Russian can't wait to get gooned on vodka while there are nouveau-riche American Escalade-driving rap "stars" who brag about paying a couple of hundred dollars for a bottle of premium vodka.

None of that has anything to do with language laws in Ukraine or the determined efforts by some to make Ukrainian the only language of Ukraine. The United States has gotten nowhere trying to make the Hispanics speak only English, Canada has gotten nowhere trying to eradicate the French language, and the suggestion that a wish to speak Russian in Ukraine implies a sympathy with the Soviet past is just silly.

For your own part, you could drop the silly "Long live a one unified Ruskij Mir!!!" exaggerations. That's not what Leos suggested at all, and surely there is a sensible middle ground between two such extremist positions.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

@ Hack

I do not ban people, nor will I ban you, it would be against the regulations that I have stated when this blog was still in infancy. I do not even feel like banning you, I just say how people like you are treated on other blogs. And you have the gall to call me and my readers thugs?

Since you feel that you cannot have an intelligent discussion here, and you are rarely engaging in any such thing here by the way, as is evident by torrents of comments that are nothing but ad hominem attacks and other things pretty much irrelevant to what I actually wrote above, perhaps you should just think twice before you put yourself to writing comments.

I want comments of substance, that is all. By the way, this conversation (whatever it was about) with you is over. Have a nice day...

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Among some others, these articles don't qualify as "chauvinistic":

http://www.eurasiareview.com/15112011-russia-as-provocateur-analysis/

http://www.eurasianhome.org/xml/t/expert.xml?lang=en&nic=expert&pid=2355

http://www.eurasiareview.com/22052011-pavlo-skoropadsky-and-the-course-of-russian-ukrainian-relations-analysis/

http://www.russiablog.org/2010/02/improving-russias-image-russian-ukrainian-relations.php

http://www.russiablog.org/2009/10/russian-polish-history-averko.php

http://www.eurasiareview.com/02042012-coverage-of-russia-uncensored-analysis/

If anything, they serve as a reply to commentary that some can within reason view as being chauvinistic against Russia/Russians.

It's very easy to lob diatribes under as an anonymous, in contrast to taking a more academic approach. To date, Hack hasn't successfully refuted any of my core points.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

@ Mark

I have used the image of salo to mock Svidomite theories, I included buryak there too. I should point out that I mocked a particularly Russophobic piece of work and intelligent people would not take it as being anti-Ukrainian. Hack has a problem with me even using the word 'Svidomite'. He probably does not realise that I use it in reference to Ukrainian nationalists and Russophobes. Svidomite comes from conscious, sometimes high levels of consciousness in some people can lead to total dementia, I like writing about that. Hack claims that this is directed against anyone who feels that he is Ukrainian, this is not true.

But something here must be understood about Ukrainian nationalism. It is a nationalist project for a nation that historically did not exist. I have a book by Ukrainian/Russian nineteenth century historian, Mykola Kostomarov by my bed, for my readings about Mazepa, he calls Mazepa therein 'an Orthodox Russian'. Kostomarov cannot be considered among those that would harbour anti-Ukrainian sentiments. Same thing with Kulish who wrote a book called History of Rus'-Reunification. Shevchenko does not speak about Ukrainians. There was a large Russophile movement in Austrian held territories. This is all mid and even late nineteenth century, even early twentieth century.

The ideas of Ukrainian nationalism have won over a certain portion of the intelligentsia in Russia Minor and some liberal minded anti-tsarist Russians. What is often forgotten is that the Bolsheviks created a Ukrainian nation. They instituted a repressive programme of Ukrainisation. Ukrainian nationalists will tell you that this was abruptly ended in 1930's. This is hogwash, they just wish Ukrainisation would be continued as it was before, by repressing local Russian speaking population.

It logically follows that by its very essence Ukrainian nationalism is a separatist project which sought/ and still seeks to separate from the Russian whole a certain portion of the people. Separate not only politically, but also by providing it with an invented language based on a Galician dialect with heavy dose of adopted Polish vocabulary, and a separate conception of history. The Russophobia of Ukrainian nationalists is therefore easily explainable. They have a problem with those Ukrainians still speaking Russian, they have a problem with those Ukrainians not accepting that Ukrainians were always in conflict with the Russians since the days of Kievan Rus', they have a problem with those Ukrainians that say that maybe life together with the Russians wasn't so bad after all.

Notice the hectic reaction of our resident domovoy Mr. Hack.

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

'What is often forgotten is that the Bolsheviks created a Ukrainian nation.'

You see Mark, this is the type of TOTAL nonsense that I have a problem dealing with at this venue. Leos is totally unable to comprehend that because Ukraine has had problems (and indeed continues to have problems) dealing with viable state structures in the modern era, in his mind somehow the Ukrainian nation never existed. The ideas of nations existing without strong state structures is nothing new and is witnessed around the planet. He has even suggested that the Ukrainian language was somehow developed under strong Polish influence (and somehow spread to the Ukrainian masses?) in order to counter the natural 'Russian sounding' Ukrainian dialects. It's this kind of nonsense that I'm beginning to seriously tire with. For your edification, Ukrainians like their neighbors to the north the Russians naturally point to their origins within the Kyivan Rus era, had evolved a cossack governemnt in the pre-modern era called the Hetmanate in Central Ukraine for several centuries, and in the modern era tried to created states in Central Ukraine, Western Ukraine and even in Zakarpattya. Many credible history books attest to these trends and need no confirmatin on my part. But yet, I have to wake up every morning and read total BS like the quotation above. Unbelievable.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

Mark - for the most part I appreciate your writing style and actually a lot of your ideas. They're well articulated and mostly well supported. I have to admit that I couldn't and can't acccept your supportive position of the tyrant Assad. I feel that you are one who likes to educate himselff by reading serious books on various topics. If you really want to obtain a great modern interpretation of the early genesis (not the nineteenth century and more modern evolution of the processes) of the formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nations, I would urge you to read Serhii Plokhi's book 'The Origins of the Slavic Nations, Pre-Modern Ientities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus'. The ideas brought up in this book are topics that could be explored in more depth, not the nonsense that Leos is trying to propogate here. Leos has eve admitted that he has purchased this book several years ago, but has not yet read it. I find this to be another strange anomaly in his character, if for no other reason that he pretends to be so very interested in these processes??.....No doubt that in Tomiczek's very limited way of thinking, Plokhy is also not to be trusted becuase he too is a 'Svidomite'? ...you can even read it over the internet, and don't need to shell out any bucks: http://kresall.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/serhii-plokhy-the-origins-of-the-slavic-nations.pdf

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

'Russian Minor'?? 'Shevchenko does not speak about Ukrainians.' he must have been writing about Russians then? He was a 'Russian' poet, no doubt???

' they have a problem with those Ukrainians not accepting that Ukrainians were always in conflict with the Russians since the days of Kievan Rus', ' Actually Leos, it's you who has a problem with this interpretation, not some Ukrainian nationalists. :-)

Actually, you're starting to sound goofier and goofier by the minute, soon to even supplant Averko. But then again, you seem to be getting all of your 'ideas' from him in the first place! :-) :-)

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Remember that states make nations, not the other way around. You do not find an ethnic group called Ukrainians in history, those Ukrainian states you speak of were either completely irrelevant to what we now call Ukraine, or have been unsuccessful projects.

The Hetmanate was not even a state, calling it that is an overstatement. The Hetmanate has no historical relation to say Galicia, Volhynia, or Odessa and Crimea. And the Hetmans referred to themselves as Russians, and their homeland as Russia Minor. The term Ukraine had a geographical meaning.

The ZUNR, UNR, Carpatho-Ukraine and other attempts were utter failures. The only relatively successful project was the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Comrade Stalin has presided over Ukrainisation and regathering of Ukrainian lands. Why is it hard to accept?

Why do you think that Ukrainian is used mostly in Western Ukraine. Because it is from there. It is a language created from local dialects with the help of Polish for many modern technical terms. It was then instituted as a language of instruction in schools in Austrian Galicia with the intent to de-Russify the place to prevent irredentist tendencies of the population. At the same time you had a large Russophile movement in Galicia, how does one explain that? We can also talk about the genocide that was committed against the Russophiles during WWI there, with the help of the newly created Ukrainians.

Speaking of the Polish influence I quoted this the last time:

"Следует также отметить, что множество полонизмов было введено в наш язык искусственно, умышленно, с единственной целью углубить разницу между украинским и русским языками. Из множества таких слов для примера возьмем одно: "гyма" (резина). Резина была создана в те времена, когда Украина давно уже вернулась в лоно единого общерусского государства, следовательно, новое, во всех отношениях полезное вещество и в русском, и в украинском языках должно было называться одним и тем же словом "резина". Спрашивается, каким же образом резина стала называться по-украински точно так же, как и по-польски - гума (guma)? Ответ ясен: в результате целенаправленной, умышленной политики ополячивания под фальшивым названием "дерусификация". Таких примеров есть немало.

Примечательно, что процесс "дерусификации" в наши дни вспыхнул с новой силой. Буквально ежедневно украинские средства массовой информации вместо привычных, укоренившихся слов преподносят нам новые, якобы исконно украинские: "спортовець" вместо спортсмен, "поліціянт" вместо поліцейський, "агенція" вместо агентство, "наклад" вместо тираж, "уболівати" вместо спортивного боліти, "розвой" вместо розвиток - всего и не перечислить! Разумеется, все эти "украинские" слова взяты непосредственно из польского языка: sportowjec, policiant, agencia, naklad, uboliwac, rozwoj? Таким образом, должно быть ясно, что у нас на Украине понятия "дерусификация" и "ополячивание" - синонимы."

http://russian.kiev.ua/books/zheleznyj/pdu2/pdu2_8.shtml

Read it, and then come here and tell me about BS. And likewise you might want to read this regarding Shevchenko:

"Вот Люся Снежок из Воронежа – видимо, этническая украинка. «Жители Центральной Украины переглядываются и чешут в затылках, слушая киевских телеведущих: «Що цэ за мова?» - цитирует она меня и отвечает: «Вся беда в том, что большинство жителей Центральной Украины, да и Киева тож, говорит на хохлячьем суржике, а литературного украинского просто не знает. Сама неоднократно была свидетелем того, как «чистокровные» украинцы говорят «конхвэта» (правильно «цукерка»), «больныця» («лiкарня»), «недiля» в смысле «неделя» (правильно – «тиждень», а «недiля» - это воскресенье). Так что чем репу чесать, язык бы лучше учили».

Но какой именно литературный язык не очень вежливо призывает учить Л. Снежок «чистокровных» украинцев? (Видимо, она их не считает таковыми, отсюда и кавычки). Язык основателя украинской литературы Тараса Шевченко? Так он писал на том же «хохлячьем», по выражению Л. Снежок, суржике. Возьмем самое известное сегодня четверостишие Тараса Григорьевича, поскольку оно напечатано на стогривенных банкнотах: «Свою Украïну любiть, / Любiть iï… Во время люте, / В остатню тяжкую минуту / За неï Господа молiть». Разберем его методом Люси Снежок, щелкающей «по репе» своим, как я понимаю, землякам. Шевченко пишет «во время» (тогда как на современном украинском правильно «у час»), «в остатню тяжкую минуту» (надо – «в останню тяжку хвилину»), «Господа» (вместо «Пáнове»), «молiть» (а не «благать»). Семь ошибок в четырех строчках! «Единица», Тарас Григорьевич! Язык бы лучше учили! Теперь проведем компьютерный эксперимент: введём это четверостишие в электронный украино-русский словарь и нажмем кнопочку «Перекласти». «Результат перекладу»: «Свою Украину любите, / Любите её… Во время свирепое, / В остатню тяжкую минуту / За неё Господа молите».

Так на каком же языке или наречии написал эти стихи Шевченко? Даю ответ на основании чистой логики и здравого смысла: поскольку оригинал на 70 процентов совпадает с русским переводом, и на 60 процентов не совпадает с обратным его переводом на современный украинский язык, то данное четверостишие написано на малороссийском диалекте (наречии) русского языка. А Люся Снежок и читатели могут делать свои выводы."

http://www.stoletie.ru/slavyanskoe_pole/russkij_jazyk_na_ukraine__rodnoj_2012-04-05.htm

It seems the old TG wrote in a language more similar to contemporary Russian. How do we explain that?

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

I really like the way Mr Hack victimizes himself here, it's so camp! Like any nationalist, he can't take any criticism but is always oppressed by sinister forces. And yes, general Pilsudski paid for this comment from his grave...

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllanH

Why don't you include my remarks to Mark, including Plokhy's work on a related subject??

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

'Remember that states make nations, not the other way around.'

So I suppose that the jewish people who roamed the world for centuries withou a state o their own, only became a nation on one fine day in 1948? I suppose that they too aren't entitled to a history before 1948 too??

'It is a language created from local dialects with the help of Polish for many modern technical terms. It was then instituted as a language of instruction in schools in Austrian Galicia with the intent to de-Russify the place to prevent irredentist tendencies of the population.'

How could Shevchenko write his most enduring and imnportant work, 'The Kobzar' in Ukrainian? He didn't attend any Austrian schools that I'm aware of?? :-) How about all of the thousands of villages in Central, Eastern and Southern Ukraine where the Ukrainian language has been used for centuries? Even you once admitted that when Khmelniysky concluded his treaties with Peter at Pereyeslav in the mid 17th century, interpreters were already needed for the two parties to communicate one to another.

' Comrade Stalin has presided over Ukrainisation and regathering of Ukrainian lands. Why is it hard to accept?'

It's hard to accept because it's total BS!! Why would Father Stalin decide to promote what you've already declared was originally an Austrian/Polish intrigue of inventing the Ukrainian language and by further analogy the phantom Ukrainian nationality, if all of the people in Ukraine were alrady by your account really little Russians who already organically spoke a language more similar to Russian anyway? Why would Stalin have promoted this phoney Ukrainian language and nationality if it didn't already have deep roots in the Ukrainian countryside anyway? Wouldn't it have made more sense to implement a course of Russification, which is indeed what he ended up doing anyway???

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Israelis are something different than the diverse Jewish groups scattered around the world. You got that right! Now if you excuse me, you are asking too many stupid and ignorant questions, and you haven't even addressed what I have brought up. Have a nice day...

April 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

'you haven't even addressed what I have brought up.'

I've addressed direct quotations of your's! Put on your reading glasses!

Is that all you have? :-))

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

''It is a language created from local dialects with the help of Polish '

Exactly when and who were the authors of 'this language' anyway??

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Watch this:
http://youtu.be/5Jm9qJSnytM

April 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Leos - you really can't be serious now, can you??? This piece of nonsense is taken right off of of the floor of the basement of the Kremlin's FSB propoganda department!!! I was tempted to quit listening almost halfway through, but am grateful that I had enough patience to listen to this
piece of BS all the way through. If I hadn't, I would have missed the part where Stalin himself, in Ukrainian no less, gives the order for forced Ukrainianization. And Kaganovich is mentioned too. It's too bad that the director of this farce didn't dress them both up in Ukrainian embroidered shirts and ShariVari tooi!!! :-) :-) :-)

I really have given you way too much credit in the past, and see that this BS is designed to titiilate the likes of Averko & company (except that Averko, who has devoted his whole life to Russian cultural issues, has never been able to master the Russian language!)

I'll leave you with the same question that I did above, which you haven't yet been able to answer:

Why would Stalin have promoted this phoney Ukrainian language and nationality if it didn't already have deep roots in the Ukrainian countryside anyway?

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

This is no FSB propaganda department, it is Alternativa club from Khar'kov. I should remind you that calling something BS, or FSB propaganda, or God knows what else, does debunk the content. I thought of posting these videos, I might actually do that.

By the way, read the best rated comment underneath this video. ;-)
http://youtu.be/L5RE_H4xXOg

April 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

I don't care where this video clip was created, it's totally ludicrous. Seriously, you don't see the humor of Stalin giving an order in the Ukrainian language?? What a bunch of phooey!!!) What next, Valuev clutching a tryzub, speaking in Ukrainian too!!! Go back to the drawing board, please :-)

Why would Stalin have promoted this phoney Ukrainian language and nationality if it didn't already have deep roots in the Ukrainian countryside anyway???...........................................................

Please, just try answering this question, without any blackboards or video clips!!! :-) :-)

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

The anonymous troll Hack has yet to substantively refuite any of my core points, while getting off topic, in an apparent effort to divert attention away from his inability to support his preferred views.

Hypocritcally geting off topic with periodic insults is a trait commn among primitive nationalists like Hack.

In point of fact, the Soviet regime did a good deal to promote Ukrainian language use (Subtelny among others acknowledges this), inclusive of enforcing it (in the late 1920s-early 1930s) in areas where Russian was more preferred.

Offhand, I suspect this policy served to encourage the hybrid Russo-Ukrainain dialect known as Surzhyk.

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

As previously noted: over the course of time, the term ”Russification” has been used in a comparatively hyped way. When compared to Gaelic use in Ireland and Scotland, consider the greater popularity of the Ukrainian and numerous other non-Russian languages in the former Soviet Union. Yet, “Angloization” is not as popularly used.

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

"Even you once admitted that when Khmelniysky concluded his treaties with Peter at Pereyeslav in the mid 17th century, interpreters were already needed for the two parties to communicate one to another."

****

Nationalist anti-Russian leaning types are prone to trumping the above.

China and some other countries serve as examples where there can be a common national identity with more than one language.

No one here seems to be denying Ukraine's contemporary status. This stance isn't good enough for some twisted individuals who try to re-write history from what it actually was.

The separate Ukrainian national idemntity is something that developed over the course of time. In their respective eras, Vyhovski, Mazepa, Petliura and Bandera didn't have the support of most of the people who inhabited present day Ukrainian territory.

All of the diatribes in the world can't substantively refute these thoughts.

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

Stick to the question that I've posed Mr. "Independent Foreign Policy Analyst' and don't try to obfuscate it by 'dazzling' us with all of your warn out cliches:


'Why would Stalin have promoted this phoney Ukrainian language and nationality if it didn't already have deep roots in the Ukrainian countryside anyway???...........................................................

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

Whatsa matter Leos...is the question posed a little too difficult for you to handle?...I see that you've sent in your erstwhile surrogate to try to handle the heavy traffic!!! :-) :-) :-)

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Mike

I personally think that something akin to Surzhyk was always spoken in the countryside. As I show in my Russian quotations above, Taras Shevchenko spoke Surzhyk. Although, Ukrainisation probably impacted the vernacular.

You do not have to go all the way to China for examples of one national identity with multiple languages, just look at Italy. As for English in Scotland, it wasn't the English who brought it there ironically, same can be said about Russian in Ukraine.

April 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Leos,

Basic agreement with your follow-up. At the same time, it seems logical that the Ukrainianization of linguistically Russian areas served to encourage that hybrid Russo-Ukrainain dialect.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

' Taras Shevchenko spoke Surzhyk. Although, Ukrainisation probably impacted the vernacular.'

Don't try to act like a linguist when you're really not. Remember Leos, when you boil it all down to the common denominator, you're really just a 'boy with a blog'. Try reading Shevchenko's 'Kobzar' and point out the 'surzhyk' to me prey tell.......:-) :-) :-)

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

And by the way, still waiting for a reply to my question:

'Why would Stalin have promoted this phoney Ukrainian language and nationality if it didn't already have deep roots in the Ukrainian countryside anyway???...........................................................

Even I'll admit, that's a tough nut to crack though!!! :-) :-) :-)

'

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

'At the same time, it seems logical that the Ukrainianization of linguistically Russian areas served to encourage that hybrid Russo-Ukrainain dialect.

Only somebody totally brain dead and totally ignorant of the history of Ukraine could come up with a summation like this! There were no 'linguistically Russian' areas in the country side of Ukraine. The locals in the countryside always spoke Ukrainian dialects. Only in the larger cities of Central, Eastern and Southern Ukraine did the Russain language gain prominence, due to the russificatory policies of tsarism you imbecile!

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

My wife can speak Ukrainian, although she is Russian, and she says the two are very similar. I've looked at the Ukrainian alphabet, and see a lot of familiar letters with only a couple of strange ones. I was given to believe that my wife's being able to speak it - although haltingly - was more a function of the two being so similar than of her ever having studied Ukrainian, which I don't believe she ever has. Is the one possibly a dialect of the other? I'm not pretending I know; I'm just asking. But I seem to remember reading something, I thought it was on this blog, which suggested Ukrainians were the true Russians while those in what is now Russia are something else.

I'm sure I've mentioned before, although perhaps not here, that in my experience Russians and Ukrainians get along fairly well. Maybe it's the fact of their both being expats here surrounded by English speakers. The Ukrainians have a Cultural Centre in Victoria where the Russians have not, and they lend it out every year to the Russians for their children's Christmas party - that's where my wife made a lot of her friends the first year she was here, she arrived just before Christmas. Some of each attend the church my wife occasionally goes to, and the big feasts on traditional holidays always have both Russians and Ukrainians.

It's fairly common for Europeans to speak three or four languages. I just don't get what the big deal is if some Ukrainians want to speak Russian, especially if the two languages are sufficiently similar that there is some crossover. Are Ukrainians in Russia forced to speak Russian? We all have some skeletons in our closets, but few of them were put there by us personally. It just seems a little to me like blaming this generation of white Americans for slavery.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Mark - you're very right on as to your observations. I actually appreciate the Russian culture (music, literature etc), and also have Russian members in my family in Ukraine. We all get on beautifully. I have many Ukrainian friends tha speak to me in Russian and I normally speak to them in Ukrainian. No big deal. My differences with Tomicek and Averko are very specific and can actually be appreciated in the context of our dialogue. They are not general in nature, but very specific. I recently tried to further our dialogue by bringing to you attention a book that offers a completely different expose of the early pre-moderm genesis of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, then what Tomcek is trying to peddle here.
For some reason, he never allowed this comment to be published. It's by the highly qualified Mykhalo S. Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History Serhii Plokhy, and it's called: 'The Origis of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus'. You can even download the PDF here for free: http://kresall.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/serhii-plokhy-the-origins-of-the-slavic-nations.pdf

Tomicek is a tough nut to crack. He seems to spend 24/7 involved in writing about th origins of these nations, and claims that the Ukrainian nation is just a subset of the Russian one. He even has admitted that he has owned this book for several years, but has not yet got around to reading it yet??... Perhaps it's because Plokhii proudly carries the name of 'Mikhailo S. Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History'? I can't possibly think of any other reason he hasn't read it yet?????? :-)

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

Mark - I just sent you a longer reply including one website address. I sent a similar mesage earlier to you today, and although it was accpeted and I got the message that It would shortly appear, it neved did. Hopefull this one will make it??.....

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

The two languages are indeed separate, although related. Not unlike Spanish and Portugese, Swedish and Norwegian, Czech and Polish. You should really know better by now???.......

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

Mark,

With your acknowledgement, I recall yours truly bringing up what periodically gets bandied about on the notion of Ukrainians being the real Russians. Such thinking has a mythological mindset. Over the centuries, there has been back and forth travel among the peoples in the territory comprising Rus. Novgorod prince Oleg moved to Kiev around the time the period known as Kievan Rus comes into play. (Rus was the actual name of the entity in question.) During this period, the person credited with developing the area of Suzdal, (near Moscow) was the son and grandson of renown Kiev crown princes. Over time, there was a regional northward shift of influence of Rus territory. A large Rus land mass, coupled by periods of separation, contributed to an increase in differences.

BTW on the matter of "real", "true" and "super", the Montenegrins have been called super Serbs, on account of how geography made it easier for them to not be under Turkish influence as much as the Serbs. It's not a coincidence that the Montenegrin coat of arms closely resembles the Russian one:

http://www.visit-montenegro.com/montenegro-coat-of-arms.htm

In the last few years, Montenegro formally ended its technical state of war with Japan, which was declared in solidarity with Russia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan%E2%80%93Montenegro_relations

Regarding Russian-Montenegrin ties:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastasia_of_Montenegro

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duke_Nicholas_Nikolaevich_of_Russia_(1856-1929)

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

'China and some other countries serve as examples where there can be a common national identity with more than one language.'

Yeah like with the Tibetans and the Han!!!

Another classic 'Averkoism', Keep 'em coming Mickey!!! :-)

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

Pardon my checking back on a disingenuously dull contributor.

I'm reminded of Riabchuk's flawed oD article, listed as an oD editor's pick at:

http://www.opendemocracy.net/russia

Here's a nice change of pace from that screed:

http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/04/17/russias_olympic_team_becomes_more_diverse_15323.html

From an April 2 piece, these excerpted thoughts on the aforementioned article by Riabchuk:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/02042012-coverage-of-russia-uncensored-analysis/

Mykola Riabchuk's most recent oD article rehashes much of the inaccurately negative views against Russia and Russians. The following is an excerpt from that piece:

"The Russians were disadvantaged by their oppressive empire, whether ruled over by tsars or commissars. Their development was undoubtedly held back, but they enjoyed many privileges that other nationalities did not. As a group, they were spared from many dreadful policies, such as the extermination of the native populations (Siberia and the Far North), mass enslavement (Central Asians), genocide (Ukrainian peasants and Kazakh nomads), summary deportation (Chechens, Balkars, and Crimean Tatars), persecution (Poles and Germans), segregation (Jews), and more.

The professed self-victimization of Russians tends to obscure all these 'peripheral' developments, by promoting instead the myth of the 'mission civilisatrice.' It also opens up the dangerous possibility that they will abdicate the responsibility for the colonialism and imperialism that Russians as the main imperial stakeholders do bear, and, even more dangerously, shift that responsibility on to 'others' -Georgians, Poles, Ukrainians and, of course the Jews who arguably ruled the Russian Empire."

Some might take special notice of the claim made about the Jews. Perhaps Riabchuk is being awkwardly sarcastic, in a way that is different from what he might have actually intended to say. If a Russian like Alexander Dugin expressed that view, it would come as no surprise to see the likes of oD and Umland highlight that thought as an example of Russian extremism. The Jews in the Russian Empire experienced instances of discrimination, violence and the potential for upward social mobility. It is a sheer crock to believe that "the Jews arguably ruled the Russian Empire."

Nationalist anti-Russian leaning sources appear to have difficulty acknowledging that Russia's success includes the Russian acceptance of many non-ethnic Russians, who over the course of time have willingly blended in with Russian identity. This point does not deny ethnic problems in Russia, which are periodically distorted along the lines of Riabchuk's oD commentary.

The adage of two wrongs not making a right can further emphasize that hypocritically applied highlighting is not proportionate with reality. During the Russian Empire's existence, other countries/empires saw harsh manner accorded to some like the African-Americans and Indians in the United States, as well as a few of the non-Turkic peoples in the Ottoman Empire. Imperial thinking is by no means exclusive to Russia. The term "white man's burden" was not coined with Russia in mind. Besides Russia, there are numerous countries that simultaneously have chauvinistic and reasonably patriotic advocates.

Over the course of time, the term "Russification" has been used in a comparatively hyped way. When compared to Gaelic use in Ireland and Scotland, consider the greater popularity of the Ukrainian and numerous other non-Russian languages in the former Soviet Union. Yet, "Angloization" is not as popularly used.

Every post-Soviet government recognizes the independence of ALL of the former Soviet republics. That position has not created an overbearingly influential nationalist uproar in Russia.

Riabchuk's article has this questionable claim on Russia's coat of arms: "In 1625 the double-headed eagle appeared with three crowns, interpreted as a symbol of unity between Great Russia, Little Russia (Ukraine) and White Russia (Belarus)." Upon some inquiring, multiple sources (including Andrey Fomin of Oriental Review) confirm that the three crowns on Russia's two headed eagle symbolize the Russian acquisition of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia.

My follow-up on this topic drew a reply from an observer of Russian affairs, who said that the acquired territories in question had served as outposts for periodic raids against Russia. This source added that much of this land was previously either a part of Rus and/or had a prior presence related to the predominate Slav group (the ancestors of Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians) that comprised pre-Mongol subjugated Rus.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

My last set of submitted comments haven't yet appeared on account of them being lengthy and having links.

Adding onto these yet to be posted comments, I'll note that the boorish troll Hack glosses over how most Han and Mandarin speaking Chinese see themselves as part of the same national identity. He appears more concerned with playing gotcha, than acknowledging the otherwise clear basis of what has been communicated. This is what can happen when the not so intellectually gifted among us can readily and anonymously appear at a venue like this one.

As noted in my aforementioned set of other yet to be posted comments, the issue under discussion isn't often so cut and dry.

Regarding China, the Uighurs are an ethnic group that include opponents to Chinese rule. In Soviet times, a number of them showed a preference for the Soviet Union over China.

Once again (for the benefit of the dimwitted), China is one example of a country with a natinal identity having more than one language.

One can scroll back to the prior comments.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

Mickey - don't get too ruffled. I'll gladly trade in a 'gotcha' for a good old fashioned 'Averkoism' any day of the week. Is it really my fault that I caught you with your foot in your mouth once again?? :-)

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

But you didn't fool.

Only a punch drunk idiot and/or lying sleaze would claim differently.

Before reading this thread again, I'll wait for someone other than yourself to post here.

Your input is lacking in quality content.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

Under the assumption that my aforementioned lengthy set of not yet posted comments appear, kindly consider how they might seem to be out of place, due to their not being immediately posted.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

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