The appearance of the Day of Friendship and Unity of the Slavs was primarily associated with an attempt to prevent the disintegration of the East Slavic world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians who lived for centuries in the same state were, as a result of the collapse of the Soviet country, divided, divided between sovereign states formed in the post-Soviet space. At the same time, Ukraine did not express any special desire for integration with Russia and Belarus even then, in the 1990s. In Kiev, the political forces that chose Russophobia as one of the main components of the ideology of "political Ukrainians" established themselves in power. In contrast to Ukraine, Russia and Belarus since the middle of the 1990-ies. sought to integrate, rapprochement each other. The Union State of Russia and Belarus was created, which still exists and plays an important role in the dialogue between the two countries. Russian-Belarusian relations, despite numerous obstacles and problems, still remain the warmest.
Slavic-speaking peoples are among the most numerous in the Indo-European language family. They are settled in the vast territories of Eurasia: from Germany in the west to the Pacific coast of Russia and Sakhalin Island in the east, from Montenegro and Macedonia to the Russian Far North. The total number of Slavic peoples currently ranges from 300 to 350 million people, even more in the world of those in whom Slavic blood flows. After all, it is not a secret that many Germans and Hungarians, Romanians and Turks have a significant Slavic impurity.
Slavic peoples are divided into Eastern Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians), Western Slavs (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Kashubians, Lusatians, Moravians, Silesians, Slovians) and southern Slavs (Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Macedonians, Slovenes, Montenegrins ). Despite the linguistic community, the Slavic peoples have different history, culture, belong to different denominations. Historically, the majority of Slavs are Orthodox Christians (Russians, Serbs, Montenegrins, Bulgarians, Macedonians, the overwhelming majority of Belarusians and Ukrainians), Western Slavs and part of southern Slavs profess Catholicism and Protestantism, some groups of Slavic people converted to Islam at one time (Bosnian Muslims, Pomaks - Bulgarians Muslims).
Over the last millennium too many different, often tragic events occurred in the life of the Slavic peoples of Eurasia. The history of the Slavs is a history of victories and defeats, bloody wars and tremendous successes, the triumph of strong powers and centuries of enemy occupation. Russia has defended its independence for centuries, converging in wars with the most powerful and dangerous adversaries, be it German “knight dogs” or the hordes of Genghis Khan, the Swedes and Ottoman Turks, the French of Napoleon and the army of Hitler's Germany. Less numerous Slavic peoples of the Balkans and Eastern Europe were much less fortunate. For centuries, the southern Slavs lived under the Ottoman yoke, and the western Slavs - under the rule of Austria-Hungary, in which they still remained the people of the "second class".
Different history left its mark on the culture, political behavior, mentality of various Slavic peoples. So, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Croats, Slovenes developed as a whole in the orbit of Western European civilization, confessing Catholicism or Protestantism, using the Latin alphabet. At the same time, Poland has repeatedly fought with Russia, and when its part was part of the Russian Empire, the Poles often launched anti-Russian uprisings.
At the same time, it is impossible not to note the great contribution of the Poles to the development of the Russian state, Russian science and culture. Nikolay Przhevalsky, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Sigismund Levanevsky, Gleb Krzhizhanovsky, Konstantin Rokossovsky - only the first names that you remember, thinking about the Polish track in Russian history. In present-day Poland, they try not to talk about Russian-Polish positive relations, since this goes against the paradigm of the modern Polish state, which represents Russia as an unequivocal enemy. It is so beneficial for the West to turn the Western and Southern Slavs into nations hostile to Russia, to pull them out from under Russian cultural and political influence, to bring the territories inhabited by them under control.
At one time, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, frightened by the growth of pan-Slavist sentiments in Eastern Europe, did everything possible to set up Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Ruthenians and others against the Russian Empire. For this, both the carrot and the carrot were used. Pro-Russian political and public figures, publicists and writers were in every way persecuted, including physical violence, and those who agreed to cooperate with the authorities and oppose Russia and the Russian people were supported by all sorts of preferences.
The project "political Ukrainians" come from the same place, from Austria-Hungary. It was in the depths of the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic and intelligence services that the idea of creating Ukrainian nationalism as the antipode of Russia and Russian influence arose. The project turned out to be successful and very tenacious - a century and a half passed, and some political forces in Ukraine are still angry about Russia and the Russians. Only instead of Austria-Hungary is the United States patronizing them now.
In the Balkans, the situation was similar. Croatia and Slovenia have always been a stronghold of Western influence, but if the Slovenes, due to their number and political role, were distinguished by a great peacefulness, the Croats always had increased political ambitions. Austria-Hungary and then Germany set the Croats on the Serbs - a people speaking the same language, but professing Orthodoxy and writing in Cyrillic. The Serbs are Balkan Russians, the closest and most friendly Russian people in South-Eastern Europe. Unlike even the Bulgarians, whom Russia helped to break free from Ottoman rule, Serbia never turned weapon against Russia. When the Serbs were bad, the Russian Empire placed the Serbian colonists on their lands in Novorossia, however, we also behaved towards the Bulgarians and even the non-Slavic Christian peoples of Eastern Europe — Greek, Wallachian (Romanian) settlers and even Orthodox Albanians appeared in Novorossiya and Tavria .
In the First and Second World Wars, the Serbs fought alongside the Russians. Relations between the Serbs and the Russians are a typical example of Slavic unity and fraternity, unfortunately so rare in the modern world. In contrast to the Serbs, the Croats were rather negative towards Russia. At one time, in the second half of the XIX - early XX centuries. Austro-Hungarian authorities managed to cope with the pro-Russian sentiments in Croatia, actively using for this the incitement of religious hatred between Catholics - Croats and Orthodox Serbs, and hatred of their neighbors - Serbs. Everyone knows what atrocities committed Croatian ustashi during the Second World War, destroying both Roma and Jews, and brothers - Serb Slavs, despite the ethnic and linguistic kinship.
The “Independent State of Croatia” became a loyal satellite of fascist Italy and Hitler’s Germany, and its punishers, in their cruelty, left far behind even the SS executioners. After World War II, Serbs, Croats and other Slavic peoples lived relatively peacefully in a unified socialist Yugoslavia, but the collapse of the socialist camp and the collapse of the SFRY as a unified state led to a bloody war, accompanied by cruel violence against the civilian population. The war in Yugoslavia, in which the Slavs killed each other, became the first large-scale and very bloody war in Europe in the second half of the twentieth century. Until now, the peoples participating in it cannot forget each other the events of those years, especially since the mutual hatred is vigorously ignited by the biased Western media and homegrown nationalists.
Another blow to Slavic unity was the disintegration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, inspired by the United States and NATO, a state that emerged on the wreckage of the SFRY and included Serbia and Montenegro. Contradictions between the Serbs and Montenegrins were absent from the very beginning, because they speak the same language, profess Orthodoxy, and historically have always collaborated with each other and fought in numerous wars on the side of each other. Accordingly, Russia has developed deep and very good relations with Montenegro.
The West managed to drive a wedge between the Serbs and Montenegrins, to turn the Montenegrin elites into an instrument of their influence, and then set the stage for the collapse of the union state. Montenegro was hastily admitted to NATO, and all just to wrest it from the Serbian and Russian influence. In Washington and Brussels, the possibility of the appearance of a Russian naval base on the Montenegrin coast was considered a nightmare, and therefore they did everything possible to prevent it from becoming a reality. It was for this purpose that the FRY was collapsed, and Montenegro became a state controlled by the West under external control.
Speaking about relations between Russia and Bulgaria, another significant South Slavic country, it is worth noting that the positions of the Bulgarian elite and the Bulgarian people have always been very different. To begin with, the Bulgarian monarchs who ruled in the first half of the twentieth century were ethnic Germans, representatives of the Saxe-Coburg-Gothic dynasty. Germany had a very large influence on Bulgaria and its policies, although at one time it did not render this country even a small fraction of the support that the Russian empire exercised. The very political independence of Bulgaria was largely achieved thanks to the “blood and sweat” of Russian soldiers. It was Russia that in the centuries-old confrontation with the Ottoman Empire finally achieved the political liberation of Balkan Christians — first Greece, then Bulgaria and Romania. The Bulgarian people are well aware of this, but the Bulgarian elites have always tried to get the most benefit for themselves and were willing to cooperate with anyone, just to pay.
However, knowing perfectly well that the Bulgarians would not fight with the Russians, Bulgarian Tsar Boris III in 1941 did not send Bulgarian troops to the Eastern Front and did not declare war on the Soviet Union. Although in other European wars of the Axis countries, including the occupation of Greece and the invasion of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria took part. In the post-war period, relations between Bulgaria and the Soviet Union were particularly warm, Bulgaria was even called another Soviet republic. It was one of the few countries in which Soviet citizens had the opportunity to travel in the era of the Iron Curtain.
Now in Bulgaria, pro-Russian sentiments are also strong, although it is impossible to deny the fact of the very strong influence of the West on the policies of the Bulgarian leadership and some political parties in the country. However, we should not forget that now Bulgaria, like most countries of Eastern Europe, is very dependent on financial assistance from both the European Union and the United States, so Sofia is forced to adhere to the Euro-Atlantic line, which cannot be said of most simple Bulgarians who keep warm attitude towards Russia and the Russian people.
Given the current world and European political situation, Slavic unity (if it is understood in the political aspect) appears more like a myth than a reality. However, the contradictions between the countries do not prevent ordinary people from communicating with each other, cultural organizations to hold festivals and days of Slavic culture. “People’s diplomacy” is sometimes more effective than official meetings at the government level. Nevertheless, the crisis of the Slavic world today is difficult not to recognize.
Of the Slavic states, only Russia and (to a lesser extent) Belarus and Serbia retain their independence and emphasize their right to historical uniqueness and difference from the Western world. The rest of the Slavic states of Eastern Europe are now fully in the orbit of Western influence. And we are talking not only about such traditionally pro-Western countries as Poland or Croatia, but also about Montenegro, Macedonia, and Bulgaria. The true rebirth of the Slavic world can only be associated with Russia, which historically has been the engine and protector of European Slavism.