History the emergence of the state of Ukraine and Ukrainians raises many questions, especially in the light of attempts by individual representatives of Ukrainian elites to conduct Ukrainian historiography from Kievan Rus or consider themselves descendants of ancient Sumerians (attempts are quite anecdotal).
In this regard, it is interesting to understand why the originally Russian land, which since ancient times was called Rus, suddenly became known as Ukraine, and how it happened. As part of the ancient Rus princedom, Kievan Rus, flourishing in the 9th-12th centuries, it eventually transformed into Ukraine, from which Ukrainians came and who contributed to it. In the light of recent events in Ukraine and in connection with the increased relevance of this issue, I consider it expedient to return to its consideration.
Attempts to change the Russian national identity on the territory of today's Ukraine took place under the influence of external forces, while the national ideology alien to the people was imposed and the basic values characteristic of the Russian national community were destroyed.
With the help of an idea introduced from outside in the interests of other nations, for many centuries they have been trying to reformat the national identity of a part of the Russian people. This was done with the aim of artificially creating a nation with an ideologically hostile ideology, provoking a confrontation between parts of the Russian people.
As an ideological basis for breaking the national self-consciousness of the southwestern branch of the Russian people, the ideology of Ukrainians, which was formed by external forces in various historical epochs, was promoted and introduced.
There were several stages in the promotion of Ukrainian identity. Each of them addressed specific tasks of the time, but all of them were aimed at the destruction of the Russian identity in these lands. As a result of the centuries-old evolution of Ukrainians in today's Ukraine, it has become a national-state ideology. Pseudoheroes such as Bandera and Shukhevych became its national symbols.
The first Lithuanian-Polish stage of imposing a different national identity on the Russian people (XIV-XVI century) began after the Tatar-Mongols seized Kiev (1240), the pogrom of Kievan Rus and the division of the Russian lands between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Moscow Principality and Poland. It was caused by claims to the Russian spiritual legacy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which annexed most of the Russian lands, and the Moscow Principality, which became the administrative and spiritual center of the Russian people.
The confrontation that arose was particularly aggravated in the XIV century, when the Russian princes declared themselves to be collectors of the Russian lands, and “all Russia” appeared in the princely title. It continued during the time of the first tsar Ivan the Terrible and the Time of Troubles already with the united Polish-Lithuanian state, when at the intergovernmental level they argued more fiercely not on the question to whom and which lands belong, but who and how is named.
The unshakable position of the Russian great princes, and then of the kings on their succession in all Russian lands, caused a reciprocal Lithuanian-Polish concept of the Moscow state as a non-Russian land. In its rationale, a treatise on two Sarmatias by Matvey Mekhovsky (1517) appears, in which the Muscovite state emerges with the Muscovites living there without mentioning that they are Russian.
This concept is distributed in Polish-Lithuanian everyday life, but the increasing power and influence of the Russian state makes them look for forms of identity change now Russian, caught up after the Union of Lublin (1569) in a single Polish-Lithuanian state.
The solution of this task coincides with the growing offensive of Catholicism against Orthodoxy, and the main events unfold on the main ideological front of those times - the religious one. The authorities of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Catholic hierarchs make a decision, in order to undermine Russian unity, to strike at the main spiritual value of Russia at that time - its Orthodox faith and try to force another faith in the form of the Brest Union (1596).
The Orthodox clergy and the common people fiercely oppose it. Having failed to change the faith of the Orthodox people, the Poles inclined Orthodox Christians and the aristocracy to the union, aspiring to join the Polish elite, thus depriving Orthodoxy of material support, and reduced it to the “Khlosh” level.
At the same time, the attack on the Russian language begins, it is expelled from clerical work, the Russian population is forced to use exclusively Polish in business places, which leads to the appearance of many Polish words in the Russian language, and by the middle of the XVII century it turns into an ugly Polish-Russian jargon - a prototype of the future Ukrainian language.
The next step of the Poles is to exclude the concepts of "Rus" and "Russian" from circulation. At that time, in the Polish and Russian societies at the household level, the outlying lands of the two states were called “Ukraine”, and the papal envoy Antonio Possevino proposed to name the South-Western Russian lands in 1581 by that name.
The Poles are introducing a new toponym into clerical work, and gradually “Ukraine” appears in the document flow instead of the concept “Russia”. So, from a purely geographical concept, this term acquires a political meaning, and the Polish authorities, through the Cossack sergeant, who received mainly Polish education and is striving to become a new gentry, are trying to introduce this concept into the masses.
The people do not perceive the identity being imposed on them, and oppression and persecution provoke a number of popular uprisings against the Polish enslavers, which modern ideologues of the Ukrainians try to present as the national liberation struggle of the “Ukrainian people” for their independence under the leadership of the Cossack officers.
Such a fraud has nothing to do with reality, as the Cossacks fought not for the national liberation of the people, but endeavored en masse to become the register part of the Cossacks, to receive pay and privileges for serving the Polish king, but to get popular support was forced to lead the uprisings.
With the entry of the Left Bank after Pereyaslav Rada into the Russian state, the process of imposing the “Ukrainian” identity on the people of south-western Russia practically stops at this territory, and gradually during the XVIII century the “Ukrainian” terminology fell out of use. On the Right Bank, which did not leave Poland's power, this process continued and the rooting of Poles in educational structures became dominant.
The second, Polish stage of imposing "Ukrainian" identity begins from the end of the 18th century and continues until the defeat of the Polish uprising in 1863. It is due to the desire of the Polish elite to revive the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which disappeared from the political map as a result of the second (1792) and third (1795) partitions of Poland and the inclusion of the Right Bank in the Russian Empire (Galicia became part of Austria-Hungary).
This stage is characterized by the phenomenon of Ukrainophilism, which has two directions. The first is the political Ukrainophilia, raised by the Poles in order to arouse among the population of the South-Western Territory a desire to secede from Russia and attract it to the revival of Poland.
The second is the ethnographic Ukrainophilism that emerged among the South Russian intelligentsia and substantiates the presence of the Little Russian nation as part of the all-Russian people. Among the Russian intelligentsia, representatives of the political Ukrainophilism associated with “going to the people” were called “clappers”, and those defending the “Ukrainian” roots of the Little Russian people were called “Mazepians”.
For such activities, the Poles had tremendous opportunities, since the Polish rule on the Right Bank did not undergo any changes, and the emperor Alexander I, who was not indifferent to them, not only surrounded his court with the Polish gentry, but also restored the Polish administration in all lands of the South-Western region and completely put in their hands the education system.
Taking advantage of this, the Poles create two of their ideological centers: Kharkov (1805) and Kiev universities (1833). In the first, the faculty of the university, Pole Severin Pototsky, selects the appropriate teaching staff. From here, the ideas of Ukrainians spread among a part of the South Russian intelligentsia, and such a prominent ethnographic Ukrainophile leader as historian Mykola Kostomarov was brought up here.
Kiev University was generally founded on the basis of closed after the Polish uprising 1830, the Vilna University and Kremenets Lyceum, and most of the teachers and students in it were Poles. He became the focus of the Polonophile intelligentsia and a hotbed of political Ukrainophileism, which in 1838 led to its temporary closure and the expulsion from the university of most of the teachers and students of Polish origin.
The political Ukrainophiles were based on the ideas of the Polish writer Jan Pototsky, who wrote for propaganda purposes the book Historical and Geographical Fragments about Scythia, Sarmatia and Slavs (1795), in which he outlined the fictitious concept of a separate Ukrainian people of completely independent origin.
He developed these marginal ideas of another Polish historian, Tadeusz Chatsky, who wrote the pseudoscientific work “On the name“ Ukraine ”and the origin of the Cossacks” (1801), in which Ukrainians deduced from the ukrov horde he had invented in the VII century because of the Volga.
On the basis of these opuses, a special “Ukrainian” school of Polish writers and scholars appeared who advanced the fictitious concept and laid the ideological foundation on which Ukrainians were created. Then they somehow forgot about the ukrah and remembered them only after more than two hundred years, already at the time of Yushchenko.
Fresh blood in this doctrine poured Pole Francishek Duchinsky. He tried to put his delusional ideas about the “chosenness” of the Polish and kindred “Ukrainian” people into the form of a scientific system, argued that the Russians (Muscovites) were not Slavs, but descended from the Tatars, and were the first to express the opinion that the name “Russia »Stolen by Muscovites from the Ukrainians, who are the only ones entitled to it. Thus was born the still-living legend of the bad Muscovites who kidnapped the name of Rus.
At about the end of the 18th century, an anonymous pseudo-scientific work of ideological orientation “The History of the Ruses” (published in 1846), concocted from conjectures, a cynical falsification of historical facts and permeated with zoological hatred of everything Russian, appears in handwritten form. The main lines of this opus were the initial isolation of the Little Russians from the Great Russians, the separateness of their states and the happy life of the Little Russians in the Commonwealth.
According to the author, the history of Little Russia was made by the grand dukes, and the Cossack chieftains. Little Russia is a Cossack country, the Cossacks are not gangsters from the main road, who are engaged mainly in robbery, robbery and the slave trade, but people of chivalrous dignity. And, finally, the great Cossack state was never conquered by anyone, but only voluntarily on equal footing with others.
Nevertheless, all this nonsense called the “History of the Rus” was well known in the circles of the Russian intelligentsia and made a strong impression on the future Ukrainophiles, Kostomarov and Kulish, and Shevchenko, amazed at the tales of the golden age of the free Cossacks and vile Muscovites, tirelessly drew from it material for their literary works.
This lie-based mixture of historical fiction about the great Cossack past and deep-seated feelings of inferiority became the basis for all subsequent Ukrainian historiography and national ideology of Ukrainians.
Marginal ideas of Ukrainians Pototsky and Chatsky in a somewhat modified form were also supported by some representatives of the South Russian intelligentsia, who founded ethnographic Ukrainophileism.
Ukrainophile Nikolai Kostomarov proposed his concept of the existence of two Russian nationalities - Great Russian and Little Russian, while he did not put into it the meaning of a separate, non-Russian "Ukrainian people". Later, the theorist of Ukrainianism Grushevsky already defended the concept of a separate from the Russian "Ukrainian" people.
Another Ukrainophile, Panteleimon Kulish, offered his simplified spelling system (Kulishovka) in 1856 in the year, which in Austrian Galicia, in addition to Kulish’s will, was used in 1893 to create a polonized Ukrainian language.
To promote the ideas of Ukrainophilism in Kiev, headed by Kostomarov, the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood (1845-1847) is created, which has set itself the task of fighting for the creation of a Slavic federation with democratic institutions. Such an undertaking clearly did not fit into the existing system of power, and soon it was crushed.
Ethnographic Ukrainophilism did not gain widespread acceptance in the mass consciousness, since the Ukrainian intelligentsia existed completely separately from the masses and was boiled in its own juice. What kind of influence on the masses could we talk about, if, for example, the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood included only 12 young intellectuals and former serf Taras Shevchenko who joined them, who worked at the university as an artist, who had lived by that time with the Poles in Vilna and had heard the legends about the "free Ukrainian people."
The “movement” of Ukrainophiles to the people and their attempts to “enlighten” the peasants with the aim of awakening their “Ukrainian identity” among them had no success. The word "Ukrainians", as an ethnonym, has not spread in the intelligentsia or in the peasant environment.
The Poles once again failed to organize the “Ukrainian” national movement for independence. The population of the South-Western region did not support the Polish uprising. After his failure in the 1863 year and the adoption by the Russian government of serious measures against the Polish separatists, Ukrainophilism in Russia almost disappeared, and its center moved to Galician Austria, where many Polish activists of this movement moved.
To be continued ...
How Kievan Rus became Bandera Ukraine. Part of 1. Polish-Lithuanian influence
- Yuri Apukhtin
- Photos used: