Ukrainian media call Igor Strelkov and his associates terrorists. The Russian media is “the Minister of Defense of the DPR”, “rebel”, “commander of the militia”. Someone focuses on his Chekist past. Someone - on the reenactment. Someone generally believes that what is happening in Donetsk is organized by Marshal Capital.
History The Donetsk People's Republic will still be written, and what analogues to what is happening there now can be found in the recent past?
First agree on the terms. In world practice, there are three ways to achieve independence - this is terror, peaceful protest and uprising. Consider them in turn.
Calling the Donetsk rebels "terrorists", the Kiev authorities pursue understandable goals, but apart from aggravating the zombiking of their fellow citizens with propaganda, they do not achieve anything. Because the words “terror” and “terrorists” have an internationally recognized meaning, which in no way refers to what is happening in the Donbas.
To begin with, we repeat: “terror” is a term derived from the Latin terror (fear, horror). The meaning of terror is in the intimidation of political opponents and civilians through physical extermination, torture, as well as threats of physical extermination and torture. The terrorist, respectively, is the one who deals with terror. This word has no other meanings.
The DPR in general and Strelkov in particular do not take hostages, do not carry out explosions of residential buildings, and do not steal vehicles with relevant political requirements. They are fighting with the regular Ukrainian army, the "National Guard" and irregular armed formations from among supporters of the Right Sector or the Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko. In international terminology, this is either called the neutral word “combatants” or a word with a negative shade “militants”.
If something is happening in Ukraine and is terror in its purest form - this is the Odessa tragedy. Political opponents of the Kiev regime were painfully killed, photographs and videos from the scene were promptly distributed to intimidate other supporters of federalization. This is terror, intimidation through physical extermination.
In the Donetsk region - insurgent activity, separatism, irredentism, federalization, and anything else, except terrorism. This is an important point, and I would like to hope that even in the most critical situation, supporters of an independent Donbass or Russian Donbass will not cross this line.
However, many modern independent states or autonomous territories did not shun terror on the road to independence. Somewhere in the terrorist past are embarrassed, somewhere, on the contrary, they make heroes out of terrorists.
First of all, I recall the most independent Ukraine in the format of the “Orange Revolution” and Euromaidan.
“Illustrious Hero” Stepan Bandera personally organized three murders - Polish Interior Minister Bronislav Peratsky, Ivan Babiy, a professor of philology at the University of Lviv, and Yakov Bachinsky, a student. For this, he was sentenced to seven life sentences by a Polish court in 1936, and if not for Hitler’s attack on Poland, he would have been in prison until his death.
Jewish extremists during the period of Mandate Palestine also repeatedly resorted to terrorist acts. The most famous and bloody is the explosion at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, carried out by the Irgun organization on 1946. As a result, 91 people died, among them 41 Arab, 17 Jews, 28 Britons and 5 from other nationalities.
The Irgun’s leader, Menachem Begin, from 1977 to 1983, was the Israeli Prime Minister for the year, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978. In 2006, the 60 anniversary of the explosion was celebrated in Israel. The British Ambassador protested, but all he achieved was editing the text of a memorial plaque on the hotel building, which initially claimed that the British themselves were to blame for the victims, who did not organize timely evacuation.
Where is Israel, there is Palestine. The head of the PLO, Yasir Arafat, regularly from high tribunes disowned the organization of terrorist acts against civilians, but few people still believe him. One way or another, terror has become a very common method of fighting the Palestinian Arab people for independence from Israel. Palestinians killed women and children, bombed cafes and buses, hijacked planes, took hostages - and were considered “high negotiating parties” in all negotiations about what was happening in the Middle East.
In modern Russia, terror is primarily associated with Chechen extremists. But even during periods of active hostilities, few said that the Russian army was fighting terrorists in Chechnya — the FSB was catching terrorists. Military operations were carried out against the militants.
In the USSR, terror was meaningless due to the lack of free media. Nevertheless, in 1977, a series of terrorist attacks were carried out in Moscow, as a result of which 7 people died and 37 were injured. The explosion, according to the official version, was organized by Armenian nationalists.
In modern Armenia, there is no “pride” for the organizers and perpetrators of the terrorist act, this topic is not popular at all, and those who write about it, with reference to Academician Sakharov, are trying to prove that the charges were falsified by the KGB.
We summarize. There are states that are proud of their terrorists, there are those who try not to remember about them. But even after a very brief insight into the history of terrorism of the 20th century, it can be said with confidence that Igor Strelkov and his associates are not terrorists.
Of course, even the most vehement admirer of the DPR is unlikely to say, despite the obvious, that what is happening there is a peaceful struggle for independence. The problem is that history generally knows very few examples of the peaceful achievement of their goals by the “founding fathers” of new states or self-governing territories.
The most popular example is India and Mahatma Gandhi. They say that the world's largest democracy was created in an absolutely peaceful way. This is not true.
Yes, Mahatma personally was a principled supporter of non-violent struggle. But millions of his associates were not pacifists at all. When the Quit India Movement campaign of civil disobedience was launched in 1942, Gandhi and his loyal supporters really called for a peaceful protest and were engaged in a peaceful protest. But many supporters of independence acted “in the old manner” - blowing up the administrative buildings and actively resisting the policeman who shot them.
Peaceful methods can perfectly mobilize people and attract the world press. But to achieve real independence is extremely problematic, which confirms the entire subsequent history of modern India with numerous wars, terrorism and shameless annexation of Goa.
By the way, it is symbolic in the light of the current events in Ukraine that Mahatma Gandhi was killed just for his separatism. A supporter of the armed struggle, Indian nationalist Nathuram Godse shot the leader of the nation because Gandhi was a staunch supporter of the division of united British India into India and Muslim Pakistan itself.
And if we continue to draw parallels, then between Hindus and Muslims, of course, at first glance, there are more differences than between Orthodox Eastern Ukraine and Western Uniates. But with the exception of the religious aspect, the cultures of Pakistan and India are extremely close to each other. What does not prevent these states from being the main geopolitical and military opponents in Asia.
But the residents of Northern Ireland, belonging to Britain, do not want to become part of an independent Irish Republic just for religious reasons: they are Protestants, and the majority of independent Irish are Catholics. In addition, the vast majority of Northern Irish, regardless of religion, categorically does not share the terrorist methods of the IRA.
So there is no more logic in the existence of a united Ukraine than in the united Indian-Pakistani state, and the division is no more absurd than the two Ireland.
The history of the 20th century knows very few examples of peaceful independence - for example, the will granted by the Bolsheviks of Finland in the 1917 year. True, after that a civil war began in the country, during which more than 30 thousands of people died. In addition, Finnish troops actively participated in the civil war in Russia, and some historians even speak of two Soviet-Finnish wars in the 1920 and 1921 years.
Another example is the disintegration of the Soviet Union — prominent separatist political organizations were active in the Baltic States, Georgia, and Moldova, but the matter did not come to military clashes. The tragic events during the dispersal of demonstrations in Vilnius and Tbilisi are not an uprising at all. And many states of Central Asia, independence fell completely unexpectedly.
But the main thing in the collapse of the USSR is that it happened solely because of the complete political impotence of the Allied leadership and the separatism of the Russian authorities, and not at all due to the “struggle for independence” of various “popular fronts”. Moscow dissolved the Soviet Union because of its own powerlessness, and not at all because of someone else's power - we must not forget about it.
Moldova and Georgia did not manage to hold out in the borders granted by Joseph Stalin for a year, Azerbaijan lost Karabakh before gaining independence. Kiev maintained the Stalin-Khrushchev border almost 23 year. However, the second revolution in 9 years is a serious test for any state, and not just for such a patchwork and economically stagnant one as Ukraine.
Perhaps the only example of a truly peaceful divorce can only be the disintegration of Czechoslovakia. Not a drop of blood spilled at all because the Czechs and Slovaks are so peaceful. The fact is that the people did not want a divorce at all - the decision was made by politicians. The referendum was not held, and on a sociological survey, only 36-37% of citizens of both republics were in favor of independence. The division practically did not affect the standard of living in the Czech Republic or Slovakia - the first, as it was moderately richer, remained.
We summarize: the peaceful disintegration of the state and the attainment of independence is the rarest exception, possible only when political elites on both sides want a “divorce” more than citizens, or when central authorities are more inclined towards separatism than marginal ones. In all other cases there will be war.
Revolutions are social and national. But both the first and the second can equally well destroy a single country. First of all, I recall Vietnam, China and Korea, and now Ukraine.
The Vietnamese, with the support of the USSR and China, succeeded in uniting the country that had collapsed because of the attitude to communism, having conquered the USA with gigantic victims.
China has managed to agree with Portugal and Britain on the return of Macao and Hong Kong, but still can not agree with the one-blood Taiwan, who continues to retain independence from Beijing.
Korea for almost half a century remains divided, and the chances of a peaceful union seem to be miserable so far.
The United States has spent a lot of effort and money to make communism the main “scare” of the second half of the 20th century, but there is one important nuance. With all the bloodiness of many communist regimes, after the terror came to power during the struggle, they didn’t allow themselves, with the exception of completely marginal - like the aforementioned German "Red Army Faction".
The most vivid example of a classic uprising is, of course, Cuba. Fidel Castro, which many have now forgotten, was not at all a communist. He fought not with capitalism, but with dictatorship. Struggled with weapons in the hands, but all attacks were carried out on other armed men. Not a single terrorist act, not a single hostage taking - only honest war, in which Castro and his comrades won.
Argentinean Ernesto Che Guevara was and remains the leading associate of Fidel and the main media star of the revolution. For the first time, he came to Cuba in 28 years, but by the time the revolution was victorious, he was in fact the second or third person in the state (the assessment of the role of Raul Castro in different sources diverges). And for some reason no one said then that "the revolution in Cuba was inspired by Argentina."
However, Guevara was a bad official, so he continued to “make a revolution” in other states - the Congo and Bolivia. And again, no one spoke of the “Cuban intervention” in these countries.
In Bolivia, Che Guevara was captured and killed by Bolivian regular troops with the support of the CIA, after which the story began not of a man, but of a symbol.
DNR and Cuba
About Igor Strelkov and his political views have recently been written a lot, anyone can get acquainted. How long will be able to hold out the DNI and personally Strelkov - hard to say. To relate to what is happening in the Donetsk region can also be different.
But one thing is for sure: Strelkov is not a terrorist, not a mercenary bought, and not an occupier. He is a rebel with his ideology and beliefs.
The same applies to other activists of the DPR. The closest historical analogy to them is the Cuban “barbudos”, who won in an open confrontation with the support of the people, the army of the dictator Batista.
Now, before Strelkov, there is a choice - whether to become "Che Guevara of our time" or "new Fidel" - to continue the insurgent struggle or concentrate on state-building in the DPR.
The nationalization of Rinat Akhmetov, declared in response to the sharply critical in relation to the DPR, also very much resembles the first steps of Fidel and Che after the victory of the revolution. But will the DPR have enough resources to carry out nationalization, or will the statement remain just words?
Nowadays, few people perceive Donetsk activists as people who can change history. But after all, the legendary Ernesto Che Guevara was also, in essence, an ordinary rebel who came to a foreign country to fight for freedom and won.
So the story is just beginning.