The Split Personality Of The Russian Soul: Moscow And Kiev

All nations can be made to suffer from disturbed or split personality and then they are unhappy after their own fashion, toys in the hands of the powers that be.

All healthy nations are alike, but an unhealthy nation is unhealthy after its own fashion. This paraphrase of the opening sentence from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina neatly serves the purpose of analyzing the Ukrainian soul, a soul that has dissociative identity disorder.

A transgender man has an identity disturbance in that he thinks or feels he was born a woman and other females are not his sexual partners. The same is true of peoples. A Ukrainian thinks or feels he is not Russian and, consequently, that Russians are not his brothers. A transgender man physically looks like a man and still thinks he is not a male; a Ukrainian speaks Russian, professes Orthodox Christianity, writes Cyrillic and still says he is anything but.

We from such European countries as Poland, France or Germany may ask ourselves, what is the origin of the Ukrainian state? What is the origin of the Russian state? Ukrainian and Russian children learn about the same beginnings of their respective countries, read stories about Rurik, Oleg and Olga, Vladimir the Great and Yaroslav the Wise.

Polish and Czech, French and Spanish, British and Norwegian children do not learn that their respective nations share the same origin whereas Ukrainian and Russian children do. Kiev is regarded as the mother of Russian cities. True, there was a time when the Russian vast lands were split into a number of principalities, but then Italian, Polish, and German were too.

The land east of the Bug River and west of the Urals is historically, ethnographically, culturally and emotionally referred to Russkiy Mir (Russian world, Russian civilization). In the Middle Ages it was known as Rus’ or Ruthenia and was comprised of Great Russia with its centre in Moscow, Little Russia with its centre in Kiev and White Russia with its present-day centre in Minsk. They all three share one and the same founding legend.

Parts of Rus’ (or Ruthenia) were once conquered and held by the Tartars (Mongols), Lithuania and Poland, which might have contributed to the split in the collective psyche of the people inhabiting these areas. Yet, Poland too, was partitioned by three foreign powers and kept in subjugation for more than a hundred years. The occupying forces made various attempts to either Germanize or Russify its population, and still Poland emerged as one nation.

True, some Ukrainians, especially in the western parts of the country speak a variety of Russian, which they call a separate language. Yet the Ukrainian language is not more different from Russian than the Bavarian or Liverpudlian dialects are different from German or English. Surely, nobody says we have the Bavarian or Liverpudlian languages? In the 19th century the Ukrainian dialect of the Russian tongue was forcibly turned into a language by deleting some of the Russian and taking on some of the Polish vocabulary and affirming the local west-Ukrainian pronunciation.

The Russian Cyrillic alphabet used for Ukrainian has as many as… three ‘new’ characters. Well, the American variety of English, too, has some spelling and pronunciation peculiarities that make it a tiny bit different from its British counterpart, yet American children are taught English at school, not American.

Of course, such differences are skilfully exploited by the powers that be just as it was done in the case of Yugoslavia, where Westerners could be easily duped into believing that Croats and Serbs speak two entirely different languages because… the former use the Latin whereas the latter the Cyrillic script, while in point of fact they speak the same language. The Turkish language has not changed simply because Kemal Atatürk had the Arabic script done away with and decreed the use of Latin characters, or did it?

What’s the matter with Ukrainian identity disturbance? The whole can be traced back to the times of Peter the Great and then again to 19th century when among the Russian intelligentsia the movement of Westernizers (Западничество) came into being, which reflected the split Russian soul. Part of it wants to stay Russian, Slavophile, the other part is ashamed of being Russian. A split personality syndrome. Ukrainians for the most part represent the pro-Western inclination of the Russian soul. In a similar case of the Southern Slavs, Croats have been westernized since the dawn of their history as they accepted Christianity from Rome; Serbs became easterners as they accepted Christianity from Byzantium. A Ukrainian is a Russian desperately in need of westernizing himself and his country.

The tighter is the leash on which Moscow holds him, the more disruptive tendencies a Ukrainian will show. This pro-Western strand in the Russian soul is being skilfully exploited by the West for its own purposes. Nations, as we know, can be created when it suits someone’s purposes. At present Germans in Austria are Austrians, not Germans, but there was a time when they were Germans; Catalans are Spaniards or they are not Spaniards, as the case may be; not long ago citizens of the German Democratic Republic would have fought against their historical compatriots from the Federal German Republic. Did we have two German nations?

Ukrainians cutting themselves off from Moscow are like the British colonists across the Atlantic cutting themselves off from the British crown. The difference is, however, that the thirteen colonies at least comprised a significant number of nations other than English, Welsh or Scottish and they were mostly religious rebels from the Church of England. Ukrainians, on the other hand, are like their Russian compatriots Orthodox Christians and have no significant national or religious minorities. Furthermore, throughout history Ukrainians have hardly ever rebelled against Moscow. They willingly declared their allegiance to the Great Russian capital in 1654 (Treaty of Pereyaslav) at the climax of the largest revolt against the Polish Crown.

Source: GEFIRA

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