The head of Novorossia parliament, Oleg Tsarev talks to Sergey Veselovsky from News-front.info in a program “Na Samom Dele.”
Sergey Veselovsky: Let’s start by discussing the future of Novorossiya, the war, the ceasefire, all of that is important, all of that is terrible, but at the moment many people are asking themselves the question, when are the two republics, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, going to decide to be united into a unified Novorossiya. We have a lot of work ahead of us, we should include all the oblasts (regions) into Novorossiya, but how are we going to unite these two small quasi-republics, what is already being done by you, by your supporters, I know that already there are many Novorossiya parliament representatives in Moscow, in Donetsk, in Lugansk, and on the territory of occupied regions, they don’t sleep, they don’t rest, so what are they doing right now, the parliament of Novorossiya?
Oleg Tsarev: Novorossiya was created in May of this year, we have signed a declaration, a treaty on the establishment of the Union of People’s Republics, afterwards we have adopted a constitution, and adopted the name of Union of People’s Republics–Novorossiya which was reflected in the constitution. We have elected a parliament which so far has not stood for re-election, and the parliament is the institution around which the unification of LPR and DPR will take place. While the parliament is supposed to include 30 representatives, or delegates, from each of the two republics, in actuality it also includes representatives from Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, and many other republics, our future republics, who work with the population of their respective regions.
Sergey Veselovsky: Oleg Anatolyevich, the next question is of a geopolitical nature. There has been a great deal of criticism, embitterment even, after the statement made two days ago by Sergey Lavrov concerning Ukraine’s unity. Many people have taken the words, pronounced by a diplomat, to the effect that Ukraine ought to be united, without understanding that cutting off one tiny piece of our common Russian land would not have the desired effect. Because what are we to do about the people who live in Zaporozhye, in Kherson, in Nikolayev, in Dnepropetrovsk, those are our people, after all, it is also Novorossiya. Therefore I understood Lavrov as making clear that the Russian world needs all of Ukraine, our entire country together with our people. Am I correct in thinking that?
Oleg Tsarev: Right now many are saying that Novorossiya is being abandoned, and that Novorossiya will be adjoined to Ukraine. Right now that would not be possible. It’s impossible because it would not be possible to placate the people of Donetsk and Lugansk who have experienced artillery bombardments, and who have lost comrades, who have lost relatives, whose homes have been destroyed, and for those reasons the reattachment of Novorossiya to Ukraine is not possible. It is not possible given the current government in Kiev. We are categorically opposed to any such suggestions. However, we are not opposed to the idea of Ukraine joining Novorossiya. But that would be an entirely different process. Note that Germany would not have been able to come to terms with its past without the Nuremberg trials. It was important to affirm that what has been done constituted a crime. Likewise today it is not possible to reconcile Donbass with Ukraine as long as one does not acknowledge that crimes have been committed in Odessa, in Kharkov, and on the Donbass. In the absence of such acknowledgment people will not be placated. Therefore we cannot, under any circumstances, give up Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, just as we would not want to give up the rest of Ukraine. We are not fighting against the people of Ukraine. We are fighting against those authorities who have taken over in Ukraine, authorities which are, at the core, not only anti-Russian but also anti-Ukrainian, because they are doing everything possible to destroy Ukraine. And I believe that is the meaning, and the process will not be a rapid one, but we are not about to give away our territory, give away Ukraine.
Sergey Veselovsky: Oleg Anatolyevich, in the perception of many people, a small group of Ukrainians, and maybe even non-Ukrainians, have monopolized the right to sing the national anthem, to wear the yellow-and-blue, and call themselves Ukrainian patriots. People who are working for the sake of the American Dream, American people, succeeded in convincing great many Ukrainians that only they are the true owners of the Ukrainian “brand”, and of the term Ukrainian patriot. And all those who love Ukraine but does not want to join NATO or EU must be Ukrainophobes, pro-Moscow and pro-Putin agents who will visit horrors and death upon Ukraine. You no doubt maintain contacts with people living in that part of Ukraine, have many correspondents there. To what extent are the people of Ukraine beginning to realize that Maidan, and the leaders who took power in its aftermath, took them in a wrong direction?
Oleg Tsarev: Yes, people are beginning to see more clearly and are becoming more critical toward the slogans of the new authorities. But I would like to return to your earlier thought, because I often clash with Russian nationalists. These nationalists represent a paradox, in all countries, because while they are supposed to be strengthening the state, in actuality they are often undermining it. For example, let’s turn our attention to Ukraine, which is the product of the policies of Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Gorbachev, Kravchuk, all of whom are well-known communists, while right now the country is being torn apart due to the demands posed by nationalists who have quite rapidly transformed into Nazis. And the country, the state, is collapsing due to the influence of such “ardent patriots” who have created a situation in which everyone who does not meet their criteria for Ukrainianness is made to feel like a second-class citizen, with the result of the country crumbling. There is a similar situation in Russia. The great contribution of Russian patriots to the cause of Novorossiya notwithstanding, I am here to tell them that Russia can only remain Russia as an empire, as a country in which many nations can feel themselves at home. Therefore the slogan “Russia for the Russians” undermines the foundations of Russian civilization which has a 1000-year history. There one cannot think of a more harmful slogan to Russia. And right now we have representatives from all corners from the Russian world, which is very large, and includes Serbs, and the peoples of the Caucasus of whom there are many in Novorossiya, because Russianness is not just the Russian language or the Orthodox religion but a far broader concept. Therefore if the slogan becomes “Russia for the Russians”, who will go to help Russia if it ever encounters problems?
Sergey Veselovsky: I would imagine that Russian nationalists would assault and rob Pushkin who said, and I’ll repeat his words, or words that are attributed to him, that “Russians are identified not by the color of their ass but by their mindset.”
Oleg Tsarev: I’ve never heard that!
Sergey Veselovsky:…and Ramzan Kadyrov supposedly turned to the President of the Russian Federation with an offer to temporarily relinquish the position as the President of Chechnya and go to the Donbass.
Oleg Tsarev: Yes, it was live on NTV, the whole country saw that.
Sergey Veselovsky: What is your opinion concerning Ramzan Kadyrov’s willingness to go to the Donbass and defend our Russian community?
Oleg Tsarev: The Chechens, the Ossetians, and other nations of the Caucasus, all have their members here in small numbers, though I especially often have dealings with Ossetians. It just so happens that the territory of Novorossiya was settled by the Scythians, who were the ancestors of the Sarmatians, who were the ancestors of the Alans, who became the Cherkessians, as the nations of the Caucasus were known prior to the Revolution. In principle, Crimea, Norovossiya, prior to the arrival of the Ottomans, spoke Sarmatian. So now these guys from the Caucasus are coming to defend what amounts to their homeland, because they consider themselves part of the Russian community. Russianness means a special fellowship with truth, with justice. And this is a major difference between us and the European culture which is quite close to us, but whereas for Europeans material interests are paramount, for the Russians truth and justice are the most sacred. Therefore, in that regard, those guys from the Caucasus are more Russian than many Russians, living in both Russia and Ukraine.
Sergey Veselovsky: Oleg Anatolyevich, I remember discussing this many times before with colleagues. Russians from the borderlands were always more Russian than those who live in the interior.
Oleg Tsarev: Yes, there is a saying that a Russian abroad is twice as Russian.
Sergey Veselovsky: Yes, I’m just remembering the sufferings of the Russians from Galicia around the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.
Oleg Tsarev: Yes, and they did not break, did not fall to their knees.
Sergey Veselovsky: And in our own time, when you were a People’s Deputy in Ukraine, defending the rights of Russians, Crimea was likewise a borderland, a Russian enclave. And though many of the Czar’s advisors were writing that Russia should defend the Galicia Russians, the Czar did abandon them. Something similar almost happened to the Crimea but, thankfully, then there were the events of March, and the border Russians from the Crimea returned to Russia which they do not regret at all. And right now we have border Russians in the Donbass, fighting for the entire Russian community. Oleg Anatolyevich, concerning people who are on the other side of the good-evil divide, who live under occupation, do you have any words for them, male or female, young or old, wanting to live in the great Russian family of nations but for time being are in dire straits. Maybe a few words of support?
Oleg Tsarev: Things are easier in the Donbass than in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kiev, Lvov, but everywhere there are people who have not given in, people who participate in public meetings and demonstrations, they publish on social networking sites, and, believe me, we understand that in the midst of all that to have one’s own opinion at the risk of being arrested (and many of our comrades have been imprisoned), of losing work, of becoming a pariah due to one’s point of view, one needs tremendous bravery. Sometimes it requires more bravery than taking up arms here in the Donbass, because here they know they are alongside their comrades, because they have weapons in their hands, and know their comrades have their back. We know the value of you not having given in, we believe in you, and we will never abandon you. We believe in our ultimate victory. No two ways about it.
Sergey Veselovsky: Thank you, Oleg Anatolyevich.