The dissertation on the “Battle for History” (the political basis of memory) is unacceptable to professional historians because its subjective approach differs from its basic role of seeking and understanding truth. At the same time, there is no denying that the historical program was media-oriented and even news-based. In other words, from some perspectives, the interpretation of history can be seen as a matter of public concern, as it is today, a domestic issue that directly affects the quality of life.
Historical interpretations can be used as a basis for implementing a particular policy or as a basis for inaction, and should also be considered as a separate policy. Historical myths are an important factor in determining the national identity of Ukrainians. Russia has used history to create a history of aggression and xenophobia against independent Ukraine, thereby denying Ukrainians the right to reunite their country.
In these circumstances, the popular-scientific dimension of the national history of modern Ukraine, an independent state whose society has lost its history for centuries due to the assassination of the Russian Empire, is of particular importance. This was emphasized by Wim Kudenis, a Belgian Russian historian, in a lecture at Stanford University on November 3, 2017.
Throughout its history, the Russian Empire has denied the existence of a separate Ukrainian history and a separate Ukrainian nation, and has banned the Ukrainian language. Between 1622 and 2012, 54 acts banning the Ukrainian language included more than 40 acts of Russian chauvinist policy. Researchers see the Holodomor as an extension of a policy aimed at eradicating the Ukrainian language – in this case by personally exterminating those who speak the language.
Sources of the history of the Russian Empire today
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the transformation of the Bolsheviks into a Russian empire over time, a new non-Soviet Ukrainian historiography was developed, the sources of which were previously classified by Russian communists. At the same time, a new phase in the development of Russia’s propaganda machine began, the effects of which reached its peak in the Western world “during the late Putinism.” all at once about the qualities of the president.
Vladimir Putin improvises and introduces new historical concepts “when necessary” in the speech of the Russian Empire. This includes, for example, a dissertation on the importance of Russian statehood in Crimea. In fact, this dissertation was written to replace the myth of the “mother of Russian cities” of the former occupiers. Because Kiev has become a hard nut to crack for Putin in Russia.
This term of Russian (Kievan Rus’) literature, which originated in the early Middle Ages on the territory of modern Ukraine, is one of the most common statements of Russian chauvinist propaganda. The problem is that Russia is nothing more than the old name of Ukraine of Scandinavian origin. This is not the same as the word “Russia”, derived from the Byzantine Greek name Russia, introduced in the first half of the 18th century by order of Peter the Great. Until 1721, his province had the same name as the capital, Moscow.
The efforts of pre-Putin people to study the history of Moscow in the early Middle Ages are similar to those of wolves and bears that inhabited the territory of modern Moscow and became part of the Christian culture of Eastern Europe. This is due to the inappropriate depiction of the Vikings, the Russians who founded the Rurik Empire.
Another example is the difference between “Russkiie” and “Rossianianie”. The two words are translated into English and Ukrainian as “Russians,” the first of which refers to ethnic Russians, and the second to all Russian citizens who are moving toward national identity. The notion of “Russia” replaced the notion of “Soviet people,” a failed communist experiment in the 1970s.
Putin’s historic “achievements” include a statement that brings Islam closer to Russian Orthodoxy than to Catholicism. In fact, the Western public does not understand that Russia is primarily a Muslim country, and that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church surpasses the Russian Orthodox Church. In order to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the rusty concept of Novorossia, created by the ideologues of the empire in the 18th century, was revived.
In order to assess the importance of historical issues in the political context, including the world situation, it is worth noting the following features of the political culture of modern Russian society.
First, it loves Putin as a person and as a metaphor. Second, it does not require freedom of speech or other political freedoms. Third, there is a lack of critical thinking. Fourth, the Russian propaganda machine seems comfortable with the reality of false (completely mythical) information. Finally, fifth, it has always been the same.
Unfortunately, the Western community of experts does not seem to be sufficiently critical of the phenomenon of Russian imperialism. It is mainly worth mentioning Russia’s dirty money, interest in the Byzantine tradition, Russian ballet, such as the music of Ukrainian Peter Tchaikovsky, Russian literature, including the strong Russian / Soviet-Philist tradition based on Russian literature. The works of Mykola Gogol of Ukraine affirm that Putinism is a special way of “alternative” civilization of Western civilization (“regional democracy”, “Orthodox civilization”, “Russian world”, etc.).
A special category written by commentators on Western political history also applies here. They may have once met some Russian heretics (in practice, there were independent intellectuals of different nationalities, for example, Ukrainians and Jews). These science-fiction political analysts (just like Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”) are waiting for the victory of the democratic Russian government, which will eventually be ready to talk about common values and Russia’s integration into the world community.
The problem, according to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, is that this will never happen as long as Russia remains a “prison of nations,” and the vast majority (almost all) of Russia’s independent intellectuals remain ordinary Russian chauvinists. In the eyes of the “Russian world”, both Putin’s approach and Putin are quietly condemned, because they say that Russia’s path is generally right; just “the king is not so right.”
The above-mentioned Russian historian and politician Yuri Afanasyev noticed this in an open lecture at the Kiev-Mogila Academy on January 19, 2012, and said that “the whole history of Russia has been falsified.” “Consciousness is incomparable to European consciousness,” he said. “Continuing such a story would mean the death of Russia.” In other words, there is a need to change. The political culture of Russian society.
Thus, the main source of talk for the Russian Empire today is not only the “gas money” that the Putin government has invested in the unprecedented propaganda machine of power. It is important to understand that this story is based on the relevant needs of Russian society. Here we have to mention Elihu Katz, a well-known media relations researcher, who emphasizes that we need to find out not only what the media does to the audience, but also what the audience does to the media. This view of the influence of the media is related to the theory of consumption and pleasure.
Moreover, the Russian public is ready to accept Russia’s false news. Russia’s “fake” has been quite successful in adapting to the social conditions of various countries in order to divide, disintegrate and destroy the unity of the Western world, which expresses the idea of protecting the common values of democracy. One of the sources of the post-truth phenomenon is the need to take a picture of a world that is false, distorted, but comfortable (in a different sense for different social groups) represented by false news. Technically, these processes are interconnected at the global level, and Russia’s influence in the West is growing
Vladimir Putin’s article “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” was interesting not as an example of the emperor’s story, but as an example of how historical disputes are the basis for political decision-making. The current political situation is compressed in the context of propaganda propaganda. In this way, the reality of the media has been distorted. Therefore, from a certain point of view, such a message can be considered as fake news.
Interestingly, during the struggle for the Ukrainian nation, the Russian propaganda machine acted against its own principles by publishing this article in Ukrainian on the official website of the Russian president. It seeks to be extremely flexible in promoting the half-racist, false historical principles of the “one-blooded brotherhood” of Russians and Ukrainians, which became possible in the post-truth era.
For domestic audiences, the goal of the Russian Empire’s tale is to “prove” that Russia is “the same great man” again. Otherwise, Russian society will notice that they live in a beggar’s country, and instead of a false ideology, they will vote for the refrigerator, forget about the TV and find a new king.
Ignoring history is the basis for politics
Germany has a special place in world politics and is a major economic force in the European Union. What is even more frustrating for Ukraine is that some German politicians have no historical knowledge.
This is evidenced by Professor Timothy Snyder’s statement to the Bundestag on June 20, 2017, “Germany’s historic responsibility to Ukraine.” In context, members of the German parliament looked like neophytes who had heard the historical facts for the first time in the history of World War II. Timothy Snyder attributed the current triumph of populism, new challenges in Europe, threats to the constitutional system, and the historic irresponsibility of the democratic crisis in the United States.
He reminded German politicians that Hitler first planned to use Ukrainian territory to expand German living space. From Hitler’s point of view, the goal of World War II, and from Hitler’s point of view, the goal of World War II was to conquer Ukraine. So it makes no sense to mention any part of World War II that did not start in Ukraine. The monument to World War II, associated with the Nazi regime, ideology, economic and political goals, must begin in Ukraine.
“We must not forget that it is Russia’s foreign policy to divide the history of the Soviet Union into two parts,” Snyder said. On the plus side, there is the Russian side. The bad part is the Ukrainian part. I can conclude that: liberation – Russia, cooperation – Ukraine. This is a line that they are very committed to creating in this country [Germany – notes, editors]. This is because Russia’s foreign policy sees Germany’s sense of responsibility as a resource, a resource for fraudulent use. “
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has announced that the Germans have pledged to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2 in order to fulfill their obligations to Russia due to the crimes of World War II. Not only Ukrainians, but also former US Ambassador to Ukraine Stephen Pifer, former US Ambassador to Poland Daniel Fried, German international security and foreign policy expert Marcel Dirsus, Russian politician Harry Kasparov, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt Journalists from newspapers such as
Since not all of the above-mentioned politicians are professional historians, it is clear that the historical agenda in this case hides a very clear idea of expanding cooperation with the regime of German leader Putin. President Steinmeier likened the Soviet Union to Russia, and perhaps the Soviet citizens to the Russians (or it may not be so important), which territories suffered the most from the Nazi aggression, and most of the victims do not know who.
Professor Snyder was quoted as saying: “Absolutely more Soviet Ukrainians died in World War II than Soviet Russians, and this is the estimate of Russian historians. In proportion, Ukraine is much more at risk than Soviet Russia during the war.” that is.
Interestingly, in his interview, Mr. Steinmeier tried to separate Russia’s domestic and international issues. He called for Navalny’s immediate release and called on EU-Russia relations, among other things, to “find common ground on foreign policy to turn today’s bad into a better future.”
At the international level, it is difficult to understand how the apparent public cooperation with the Putin regime (which is exactly what Vladimir Putin, who enjoys Russian social support and even domestic love), can be. . ”
Such an approach may be reasonable and reasonable to protect national interests. At the same time, it could lead to an expansion of the authoritarian tendencies currently observed in many Western countries. The idealistic image of the West, which adheres to the principles of human rights and the rule of law and has no place for corruption, has been seriously shaken over the past two decades.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier also coined his famous “Steinmeier’s formula”, which states that “according to Ukrainian law” elections should be called the “Luhansk Republic” and the “Donetsk Republic” designed by the Putin regime. . These territories of eastern Ukraine were occupied and plundered by Russia, filled with Russian military personnel, and destroyed by the war; Steinmeier said that for seven years, Putin’s pseudo-media should effectively brainwash and hold “free elections” for the threatened population of more than two million internally displaced persons who have fled to areas controlled by the Ukrainian government. “While working.
Such paradoxical judgments must be incorporated into postmodern literature. However, they are seriously circulating in the international political arena. It was only a lack of basic historical knowledge that made it impossible for Mr. Steinmeier to make a simple comparison with post-war Germany, which took more than four years from May 1945 to August 1949 to hold the first democratic elections in the Bundestag.
Although these examples of historical ignorance show that this phenomenon has a real impact on the formation of modern international politics, there are many examples that have been criticized, such as the media’s coverage of history. In the case of Germany, I first read Professor Karl Schlogel and his “Ukraine Challenge. Discovery of Europe ”(Ukrainian version of the title) was first published in Munich in 2015, and then in 2017 by the Alcohol and Letters Publishing House in Kiev.
Prior to 2014, Karl Schlogul was immersed in Russian culture. However, this responsible intellectual refused to accept the Pushkin Medal from Russian officials and refused to annex Crimea. He witnessed the events of the Revolution of Honor in Kiev and Donetsk, and rightly introduced himself as a historian and sociologist. The question arises as to why Mr. Steinmeier is using the history of the Russian Empire rather than the high-quality intellectual conclusions suggested by Professor Schlogel. That seems to be a rhetorical question.
“It’s an obstacle to Putin’s normal cooperation with Russia. Where did this Ukraine come from? It hasn’t been there before. Then it would be better to disappear again. It’s easier to equate the Soviet Union with Russia than it was during the Cold War. Let’s find out why Europe, which has lost part of its territory, has no right to be considered an independent state.
On September 4, 2021, Yevgeny Fedchenko, director of the Kiev-Mokhila School of Journalism and editor-in-chief of StopFake magazine, wrote on his Facebook page: ”
According to Michael Abramovitz, president of this prestigious international organization, “Advertising and misinformation campaigns create false rumors to create conflict in society, which undermines confidence in democratic institutions. As Russia’s neighbor, Ukraine is a tactical testing ground for Russia’s false information, which is then used elsewhere, including in the United States. “
At the same time, Freedom House condemned the closure of pro-Russian channels controlled by Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian oligarch and close friend of Putin, who has been a key tool of Russian propaganda. The US President Joe Biden has recommended that the fight against misinformation be based solely on rights.
“So,” Fedchenko continued, “Is it anyone’s inalienable right to wage an information war within a country where, by their logic, hostile unstable broadcasters are at war? Most interestingly, you may ask: Freedom House on the eve of the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva. Did you send such a letter considering that the same independent publication is really being suppressed in Russia? You can guess the answer yourself. “
As we have seen, Freedom House believes that the victim should be suppressed, not the perpetrator. Ukraine, which is fighting for its independence, territorial integrity and democratic values, must be ignored. And they said we know Russia, we know it will not change; It is a large nuclear-armed state and we can do profitable business. That’s why we need Russia, not Ukraine. It is a repetition of an ancient truth that is strongly correct.
Examples of misappropriation of values and misinterpretation of historical issues are related to the inability to defend one’s choice of citizenship. A historical comparison can be made between the helplessness of Western democracy, which was threatened by German Nazism and Russian communism just before World War II. Today, Ukraine seems to be “hindering” many Western politicians who do not know what to fear more than Russia, China, and internal disintegration. As for the latter, history, especially the legacy of colonization and slavery, is running after them.
The uniqueness of modern Ukraine
The Honorary Revolution of 2013-2014 proved that Ukraine has a strong and in-demand civil society. The uniqueness of modern Ukraine is formed in the context of the growing public trust and mutual understanding. This uniqueness is, first of all, a real Ukrainian component based on the collective memory, the Ukrainian language, the tradition of the struggle for independence, and the state memory, which keeps all archival documents open and accessible.
Second, the characteristics of Ukraine include the characteristics of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples other than Ukrainians. First of all, I am talking about the Crimean Tatars, who have their own unique national traditions. Russian-occupied Crimea is extremely important to them, and they are also part of Ukraine’s political nation. During the Revolution, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev said he was proud to be Ukrainian.
Third, the modern political culture of Ukraine has a broad concept of freedom and justice, and plays a very important unifying role for all citizens of Ukraine. Josef Zissels, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Ukraine, emphasizes the foundations of a democratic Europe in this culture and believes that the main challenge for Ukrainian society is to avoid the repetition of Eurasian (Russian) authoritarianism.
In the context of the war for independence, Ukrainian society may accept some restrictions on political freedom, such as the ban on the broadcasting of the three television programs that represent the interests of the aggressor country in Ukraine. For Ukrainians, their politics are not abstract, but a common value that must be protected from the aggression of the “Russian world”, because it deliberately destroys any culture of democratic political culture. The Ukrainian state, with all its legal systems and institutions, must have the power to protect the above-mentioned ideals of freedom and justice.
In view of this, it is important that the behavior of Ukraine’s international allies in defending their national interests is not understood as a “hybrid partnership” in which the actors ignore their declared values and principles. On the other hand, for Ukraine, the undeclared war with Russia continues, but first and foremost, it is important to rely on its own strength, army and economy to defend itself and work in accordance with its intuition. and a strong society.
Before we need to fight corruption and ensure economic growth, the first question Ukrainians must answer is who are we? This question is also directly related to collective dignity and national identity.