From a tolerant Soviet society to an aggressive nationalist
Over the years of independence, Ukrainian society has turned from a Soviet tolerant into an aggressive nationalist with elements of Nazism, imposing its nationalist ideology and views on other ethnic groups living in the country. Such a transformation has under itself historical roots and due to the targeted actions of the Ukrainian elite.
To understand the essence of the processes taking place in Ukraine, it is necessary to clearly understand how, under what influence and from what ethnic groups Ukrainian society was formed. Today, official Ukrainian propaganda claims that Ukraine is a unitary state in which only Ukrainians live, with a small interspersing of other ethnic groups united in a monolithic Ukrainian nation.
All this is a fiction, no Ukrainian nation exists, Ukraine is a patchwork, woven in different historical eras from different nations that were part of different civilizations. Galicia after the collapse of Kievan Rus more than 700 years before its accession by Stalin in the 1939 year was at the margins of Western civilization as an oppressed people and has long lost its Russian roots. The center of Ukraine for a long time was under Polish rule, acquired the specific features of a mixture of Russian and Polish culture with its originality, and in the 17th century it became part of the Russian Empire. Southeast - the original Russian land, the Wild Field, mastered by the administration of the Russian Empire in the XVIII century under the leadership of Prince Potemkin.
The Bolsheviks united all these territories into the Ukrainian Republic, which, with the collapse of the Union, became an independent state. So in one state on occasion there were different peoples with different historical destinies, with different mentality and national values and diametrically opposite ideas about their future. At the same time, it should be noted that in these three megaregions, population groups that are fundamentally different in their social composition have developed.
Diametrically opposite ideas about the future
The population of Galicia overwhelmingly consisted of a slaughtered peasantry living in villages, with a mentality of a small proprietor and slavish submission to their master. There were no Ukrainian cities on this territory, all of them in their culture were only Polish and Austrian. Galicians consider Lviv their capital, but they forget that before Stalin took it from the Poles in 1939, there were 63,5% of Poles, 24,1% of Jews and only 7,8% of Ukrainians, who were mostly servants and janitors. It was a purely Polish city, the urban population of Lviv was replaced by villagers, who, by their mentality, have remained so until now. The whole real culture of Galicia is Polish-Austrian, and from Galician in it there is only peasant folklore, the peasant lower classes simply captured the cities and made them large villages. Now they are doing the same operation with Kiev, turning it into a large Galician village.
The population of the center of Ukraine was also mainly rural, living in villages and small towns and villages with a peculiar mentality of a small proprietor, striving for separation according to the principle of “my hut from the edge”.
The southeast is an industrially developed region with large industry, where the predominantly Russian population lived mainly in large cities.
The origin of nationalism
For the emergence of nationalism, an appropriate social environment was needed with an oppressed population with characteristic petty-possessing instincts and the absence of a great past with heroic victories and achievements. All this happened in Galicia, and here at the beginning of the 20th century, in the most backward and industrially undeveloped part of Ukraine (then Austria-Hungary), Ukrainian nationalism was born on the basis of the oppression of the local population by the Poles and Austrians and the suppression of the Rusyn movement.
The ideologist of Ukrainian integral nationalism is a native of Donbass Dontsov, but all his activity and formation as a politician took place in Galicia. The ideology of Ukrainian nationalism was based on violence, expansion, racism, fanaticism and ruthlessness to the enemy. According to Dontsov, the ruling caste of the nation "knows neither mercy nor humanity in relation to the individual." It was on this basis that the idols of ukronacism Bandera and Shukhevych grew up. Modern followers of Dontsov in Ukraine successfully implement his postulates and mercilessly crack down on dissenters.
In other parts of Ukraine there was no such environment, there was no national oppression, the Ukrainian branch of a single people quietly developed in its natural environment. There were separate episodes of the manifestation of nationalism, such as the actions of the Mikhnovsky group, which were not perceived by the masses and quickly subsided.
In the center a small-town rural nationalism was formed with its domestic features specific to the rural and small-town inhabitants. In the Southeast, except for an insignificant part of the nationally preoccupied intelligentsia, no nationalism existed, the overwhelming majority of the population was with the Russian mentality, and manifestations of Ukrainian nationalism were alien to it.
After the revolution in the Southeast, attempts to force the Ukrainian national identity to be forced into Ukrainian national identity by the “Leninist guard” were unsuccessful even because it was foreign to the local population and it rejected the imposed identity, remaining Russian in spirit.
In Soviet Ukraine, the people were not united by a national idea, there were no national movements even in Galicia, everyone was satisfied with the ongoing national policy. Having accidentally gained independence during the collapse of the Union, the local Ukrainian party-farm nomenclature for the seizure and justification of its power raised Galician nationalism to the shield, making it a state ideology. Then the oligarchic clans intercepted this and, in their own selfish interests, robbing the state with Western support, they began to build a nationalist mono-ethnic state as opposed to Russia.
Galicia vs Southeast
Over a quarter of a century, this process has advanced quite far and has even begun to take over the regions of the Southeast. To do this, it was necessary to create an appropriate social environment and it was intensively formed. In fact, a war broke out with the city, Galicia, as an aggressive and backward Vendée, opposed the developed Southeast. The Galician peasant mentality by the efforts of the authorities began to be imposed on the entire population of Ukraine.
The work was carried out in two directions: reducing the carriers of the Russian mentality and Russian identity and fundamentally changing the information space in Ukraine in order to impose a new identity on the population. The main values of the people were overestimated and others were imposed as fundamental with the help of the repressive apparatus.
To this end, science and high-tech industry were eliminated in the cities, which led to the disappearance of the intelligentsia, competent specialists and the working class, who are carriers of Russian identity. Society gradually lumpenized, people lost their qualifications and became unskilled labor, the most capable and active left the country. In agriculture, the existing way of life was destroyed, the peasants became small owners of land shares, who were not able to process and leased them, going into slavery to tenants. In a village abandoned by the state, it became easy to impose “national ideas” on the peasants who fought for survival and explain everything with the machinations of the enemy, in whose person Russia began to speak.
In the best traditions of Goebbels propaganda, the mass media disseminated flows of lies and myths about the “great Ukrainian nation”, the absence of Russian roots in the Ukrainian population, the centuries-old enmity of Russians and Ukrainians, the European origin of the Ukrainian population and its desire for an “enlightened” Europe, where everyone a happy future awaits.
In Ukraine, at first Russian alternative sources of information were banned and then banned; in fact, the Russian language was also banned, and it was impossible to teach at schools and universities. Having unleashed a civil war in the Donbass, they accused Russia of an aggressor country, Russophobia and military hysteria became the basis of state propaganda.
The bearers of Russian culture and the Russian mentality were infringed on civil rights, politically active citizens supporting the ideas of the “Russian world” were repressed, their activities were outlawed, many were repressed or emigrated abroad.
In Ukraine, there are few people who are able to adequately assess what is happening. The majority turned into a gray mass, easily perceiving any nationalistic nonsense, this turned out to be subject to some of the Russians living in Ukraine, abandoning their Russian identity and assimilated into the Ukrainian nationalist environment. This especially affected the young generation who grew up in Ukraine, many of them become convinced Nazis, ready to kill people with other political views.
The environment of radical nationalism
By such methods, a social environment was created in Ukraine, easily susceptible to the ideas of radical nationalism, self-exaltation, search for the enemy and prone to annihilation of all those who oppose the implementation of their nationalist and Nazi ideas.
In this situation, in addition to Ukrainian nationalists, a flow of outright Nazis and fascists, supporters of the "white race", a typical representative of which is the Azov group, has formed. These already openly under Nazi symbols preach Nazism and fascism and promise to cleanse society from those who disagree with their ideology. Such nationalists and Nazis form punitive battalions for the war in the Donbass, organizing atrocities against civilians.
Today, almost all the system of state power, the education system and the media space are saturated with nationalism, it is they that ensure the formation of a nationalist and Russophobic society in Ukraine.
In this situation, it is quite difficult to return Ukrainian society to an adequate state. Without a radical replacement of the Ukrainian elite and the power sweeping of radicals, nothing will change in Ukraine. Shy attempts of Zelensky to restrain the radicals cause them only the desire to further increase pressure and achieve their goals. Ukrainian society itself must recognize the need for an active opposition to the nationalism imposed by the authorities, it is the public rejection of nationalism and Nazism that can lead to the replacement of the Ukrainian elite and a change in the vector of state development.