Now in the South-East of Ukraine is happening that six months ago it was considered impossible.
Even when Euromaidan was in full swing, no one could even imagine that the South-East would rise, regardless of the results of the opposition between the authorities and the opposition. Almost all observers noted the extreme passivity of the South-East, its inability to form a common ideology in opposition to the passionate and ideologically cohesive West.
Residents of the region themselves justified this by saying that “as long as the West is Maydanit, Donbass is working”. My colleague, Kiev political analyst Alexei Bluminov noted then that in this case, the Donbas would have to live according to the laws that for themselves and for him “vymaydanit” zapadentsy.
Indeed, the passivity of the south-eastern Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, uncomplaining readiness to assimilate into a common “Ukrainian project”, despite a certain defeat in the rights, including the right to use its own language and its own interpretation stories, - long been a talk of the town. This applies not only to Ukraine, but also to the Baltic states, Kazakhstan, and the republics of Central Asia, where, however, the percentage of the Russian-speaking population has declined significantly over the years of post-Soviet existence.
It seemed that the Russian-speaking residents of these countries are not ready and will never be ready to defend their rights for two reasons.
First and foremost: Russia immediately made it clear that she was not going to help her compatriots who had been in a foreign land either diplomatically or financially - not at all.
Secondly, Russia did not go anywhere, and it was always possible to go there, at least theoretically. For financial reasons, however, not everyone succeeded, and the social conditions in Russia were often no better. However, where real terror was unleashed against the Russians, people had no choice but to flee to Russia, leaving all their property.
If we look at the map, we will see that the least Russian-speaking remained exactly where they were forced to flee from ethnic cleansing and civil wars. On the contrary, the softer the pressure was - the more they remained.
In order to drastically change the way of life, quit everything, quit the land on which ancestors lived, and move to an unknown and not very hospitable Russia without any prospects, a very harsh excuse was needed, such as the threat of loss of life. Where there was no such threat, the Russian-speaking people preferred to remain and integrate into the new reality. If it was necessary, they were ready to assimilate, learn to speak a foreign language. Until then, there was no danger of turning ideological pressure into natural violence.
So, of all the former republics in Ukraine, all these 23 years existed, the mildest form of pressure existed. By the way, not only Ukrainian nationalists, but also our Russian liberals constantly spoke about this: they say, what do you dislike? You do not cut, as in Tajikistan, and do not make second-class citizens, as in Latvia! This is indeed the case, and it was this that was all these 23 of the year, a pledge of submission to the Southeast. And then, it is easier to assimilate with Ukraine than with Tajikistan: the language is similar, the culture is one, mentality, history ...
In addition, brainwashing played its role. Throughout its history, Ukraine created an alternative to the usual Soviet, continued in Russia, historical mythology, convincing its citizens that they are carriers of European values, and the “brothers” in the East are not brothers at all, but an evil Asian empire that oppressed the unfortunate Ukraine Not even Ukraine - Russia!
Not having its own history, different from the all-Russian, Ukrainian ideologues proclaimed Ukraine the heir of Kievan Rus, opposing the so-called "horde" - Muscovy, accusing the latter of almost stealing historical continuity. And that was the fatal mistake, the consequences of which we are seeing today.
After 1991, all the republics that separated from Russia (or rather, their national elites, which set the development vector) faced one problem - self-identification, the creation of a national idea. After all, far from all of them could boast of a rich pre-Russian history, and the independence that had suddenly collapsed (not won) had to be ideologically justified.
Almost all the republics began to look for some historical continuity with the pre-imperial period. It came out with varying degrees of success - depending on the degree of historical community with Russia. Ukraine was the least fortunate: its history (if you do not take the pseudo-historical nonsense about “ancient ukrov”) coincided with the Russian one from the very beginning. Well, what can you do: one country, one story. But after all, future generations of a new independent power needed to somehow be explained why then Ukraine is not Russia.
I didn't have to go far for this. It is logical that in all post-Soviet republics nationalism became the dominant ideology — the only defense of fragile and historically absurd sovereignty from the ideological expansion of the “empire”.
Ukrainian nationalism had one interesting feature. It was not an ideology FOR - for their country, for their history, for their people. It was an ideology AGAINST - against Russia! Well, how could it be otherwise, when the country is one, the people are one, the story is one? ..
It is characteristic that Ukrainian nationalism, like the very concept of “Ukrainians,” was created artificially, at the request of third-party players.
“The fate of Galicia is a tragedy that has no historical analogues. Something similar is described only in fantasy waste paper - elves who fell into the hands of the Black Lord and after many years of torment turned them into orcs, ”journalist and writer Armen Asriyan writes about this problem.
Galicia, cut off from the Russian world as far back as the XIII century, was irretrievably lost for it, and was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Austria-Hungary, and White Poland Poland, which were constantly hostile to Russia, was first transformed into “Non-Russia”, and later - and into "Anti-Russian."
The goal is clear: to create an alternative center of gravity in the East, proclaiming the history of Russia-Russia as its history, while at the same time unconditionally oriented to the West.
Whether the ideologists of the “Ukrainians” understood that this task was impossible in principle as long as there was a big Russia, or whether they were pursuing other goals that were closer to reality — it doesn't matter anymore. It is important that the project grew, developed and was eager to absorb as much of the territorial and human resources as possible, including the completely alien to them in terms of mentality - the native Russian. At the same time, he rapidly became radicalized, which reached its apogee at the time of the Petliurism and Bandera, when Ukrainian nationalists showed the whole world the most natural fascist grin to the delight of their German masters.
And this ideology was in demand after 1991 year. There was simply no other. It was necessary to explain to everyone why, in fact, Ukraine is not Russia. It is clear that on denial and opposition you will not go far, even if this business is not accompanied by ethnic cleansing and pogroms.
However, the opposition could have had a completely different effect if the ideologists of the Ukrainian statehood tried to create an "alternative Russia". This could be a project that is equally attractive both for residents of Ukraine and for residents of Russia.
All that was needed was to make Russian the second state language and defeat all the vices that all years of democracy and capitalism tear Russia apart, forcing its own citizens to abandon their homeland: completely remove oligarchs from power, defeat corruption, overcome catastrophic social stratification, establish genuine political freedom and autonomy for the regions.
Who knows, perhaps this “alternative Russia” could become the center of gravity of the Russian world, and many Russians, tired of the lawlessness created in Russia itself, would be pulled there.
But no. Ukraine did not want to be Russia. She wanted to be a suburb, constantly under threat of expansion from a large "empire" stub, which is so convenient to justify all its economic and political failures with the machinations of a neighbor. But there were no failures: after all, Ukraine immediately followed the path of Russia - the path of savage barbaric oligarchic capitalism. Only Russia has oil and gas as an airbag, so that it could allow itself various experiments, and Ukraine did not have them.
Against this background, throughout Ukraine, including the completely distant ideologically and mentally from Galicia of Novorossia, an aggressive expansion of the “Ukrainians” - the ideology of Zapaden villages and villages, dreaming, as their ancestors, to rot in Europe, begins, just to be away from Russia , the ideology of "Anti-Russia".
Incidentally, this was manifested after 23 of the year, when a small but passionate West rebelled against the abolition of the association decision with the EU, which led to a change of power, while much more numerous, but not used to fight for their rights, and vaguely aware of what is happening, the industrial East simply watched. But, in the end, they realized what it threatened, and began to resist. As a result, the whole world, and especially Kiev, with bated breath, is watching the “Russian Spring”, not understanding how such a thing can be.
So what do we have? And we have the fact that the Ukrainization 23 of the year did not involve a significant part of the population of Ukraine in the process of ethnogenesis. And too short is the time for such a process. On the contrary, they pushed a huge number of people outside their project, thereby setting up a time bomb under their statehood. In peacetime, everything was outwardly calm. But the very first serious shock showed that it was not.
And it’s not for nothing that Nazarbayev and the authorities of the Baltic republics are so worried. They also have significant territories inhabited by Russian-speaking people, which all 23 of the year also did not show any signs that they could rebel against forced assimilation by the titular nation, which, as events in Ukraine showed, for 23 of the year was not only not completed, but practically not moved from place.
Moreover, today we are witnessing a reverse process in the South-East of Ukraine - the birth of a new national project. Yes, this project is not yet very viable, especially since it was again directed rather AGAINST than FOR. Yes, the Russians of New Russia are already very different from the Russians of Russia: in some sense they are even more likely Soviet than Russian. Yes, they still do not really understand whether they want to live in Russia, which has changed beyond recognition in 23, or to build their own state, as in Transnistria, which has long formed a unique political nation.
But they already realized that they do not want to be Ukrainians and will not be them. Ukrainians in the Galician-Bandera sense. But today there is no other meaning, and there cannot be any, because the project “Antirossiya” strangled the project “Alternative Russia” in the bud. Today, being Ukrainian means being in favor of the West against Russia. In another way - no, sorry. Let's look at reality without rose-colored glasses. They don’t have time for a leisurely peaceful national building, so the question will be very tough: if you are for Russia, get out there! And the danger of turning ideological pressure into natural violence is more relevant today than ever. But it is precisely this that mobilizes people who have before their eyes everything that happened on the ruins of the Soviet Union in the first and in the following years. They do not really believe in Russia.
And I am often asked why I support the movement for self-determination of Novorossia, which can lead to the collapse of the Ukrainian statehood. Therefore, I support that I understand: we have lost Ukraine. Sooner or later it had to happen. She made her choice, and not even now, but fifteen hundred years ago. It is necessary to save from absorption by “Anti-Russia” what else can be saved. The collapse of the USSR was only the first act of the drama. The processes started then cannot be stopped at once, but it can be slowed down. Moreover, apparently, the Russian leadership began to understand this ...