The Russians Part II: Ukraine – An Irony of History

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April 16th, 2015 

By: Gaither Stewart, Senior Editor of the Greanville Post

( Originally published at The Greanville Post , August 28th, 2014 )


Part I
Part III
Part IV
*


“History itself opposes the dream of new-found Kievan glory instigated by the USA. That ahistorical dream is destined to boomerang against the rest of Europe itself. For Russia is present … ever present.”

KIEVAN RUSSIA

It is an irony of history that the city of Kiev, today’s Ukrainian capital situated west of a more Asian Russia, was the first Russian state. Kiev, the city where this year the USA first ruthlessly overturned Ukraine’s legally elected Russian-friendly government and ignorantly installed a puppet government to rule over a phony state with the phony goal of becoming part of he European Union,  A phony and impossible state in any case because Ukraine for Russia is like Texas or Midwestern states are to the United States. Russia would never surrender it totally to the West. Enough today for Moscow to turn off the oil spigots to re-establish the order the Slavs have always needed.

This map explains many of Ukraine’s contradictions, the Ukrainian territory before 1654 is in yellow. Here is a very interesting map of how the modern Ukraine was stitched up, piece by piece. The role of Russia in forming the territory of Ukraine is huge, to think about it… Judge it by yourself: No. 1 – a historical Ukrainian territory, till 1654 No. 2 and No. 3 – the gifts of the Russian tsars to Ukraine No. 4 – a territory that was annexed by Russia in 1768-1774 during Russian-Turkish war and that was presented to Ukraine by Lenin in 1922 No. 5 and No 6 – the territories that became part of Ukraine because of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (Stalin’s gift, so to speak) No. 7 and No. 8 – the territories that were included in U.S.S.R. in 1940 – Stalin’s gift, again… No. 9 – the Czechoslovakian territory that became part of Ukraine in 1945 – another Stalin’s gift No. 10 – the Crimea, which was Khrushchev’s gift in 1954 but returned back to Russia in 2014. (Our thanks to Fort Russ.)

Mystery surrounds the establishment of the Kievan state. Its origins are connected with a tribe of people called “Rus”, from which the word Russian derives. Some historians claim the quarrelling Slavs called in Varangians (Swedes) to come and rule over their lands and create order out of chaos. According to many historians the Rus were one of those Varangian tribes; other theories link the Rus to Slavic tribes or people in northern lands or even in the south of Crimea and surrounding territories. Although the name Rus, many historians have discovered, was previously unknown in the West, the name stuck. Rus became identified with the Kievan East Slavic-speaking state. In any case, the Rus formed a large group among them, most certainly Slavic, spoke a language that soon became Russian and established themselves from Kiev northwards to the heart of traditional Russian lands—like Novgorod, Vologda, Vladimir-Suzdal. And finally Moscow—which because of the city’s central position and because its great river, the Moskva, was a principal trade route—became the center of the future Russian empire.

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I try not to stray from the subject of who these modern day Russians are but this minor and limited incursion into the complex story of the origins of Slavs and their state is necessary in order to know what we are talking about. Suffice it to say here that the Kievan state has the place in Russian history as does, say, the thirteen original colonies in the formation of the USA. An important and influential world capital in those times appears today as a second-class, boring puppet city-state controlled by a failing and waning US world power, a power with no concept of the significance of history.

As Kievan Russia—the future Russia itself—developed and expanded its borders ever farther eastwards, and became an important state, a new element was introduced into its culture: Christianity. Riasanovsky writes that by the early eleventh century Kiev had become a new Christian civilization, a civilization that added “literary and artistic attainment to the political power and high economic development characteristic of the age.”

Kiev’s rulers over pagan Russians first studied the major religions and according to legend decided against Islam—it forbade alcohol—because “drink is the joy of the Russian”—and against Judaism because it reflected beliefs of a defeated people without a state. Kievan Rus chose to become the Eastern version of  Christendom, opening Russia to Byzantine culture and the Christian world at large, thus early on belying its reputation of a closed civilization. However, lest one forget, Christianity came to Russia from Byzantium, not from Rome. Since the break between the two churches the controversy between Roman Catholicism and Russian Orthodoxy remains today.

During the late Soviet period I had occasion to speak with Alexis II, the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church, at a historic meeting of eleven heads of the various Eastern churches held in Istanbul. To my question about attempts to mend the millennium old separation of the Eastern and Western churches and of relations with the Vatican, Alexis said clearly: “We are after all Russians.”

With that background fixed in mind, we leap over centuries of wars and pestilence, the Tatar invasion, serfdom, to the last stages of Tsardom. Prior to the Russian Revolution, the ex-serfs were still linked in an economic vise to the land and large property owners from which they had been officially emancipated. While their desire for their own property plots drove the serfs, the Revolution itself opposed the very idea in the name of collectivization. Collectivization in agriculture was not one of the successes of the new Socialist state because the serfs of this traditionally agricultural land, resisted and wanted their own private plots of land. As a result of collectivization in agriculture, the number of families on the land diminished from 26,000,000 to 21,000,000 which meant that 5,000,000 abandoned the land, (Riasanovsky), some moving to urban areas, others to the Far East or elsewhere. In any case, the price was too high and was never really recovered, contrary to Socialist theory and expectations.

SOVIET KIEV

After centuries of silence, Kiev, as the capital city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, became an agricultural giant and regained some small part of its former luster. The Donbas (the Donetz-Basin) in East Ukraine became a major Soviet industrial center. Populated by “ethnic Russians”, it is today the region of the “rebels”, the “terrorists” in American political lingo, the Russian-Ukrainians who have separated from the Kiev puppet state and without which Kiev cannot survive economically.

Though Kiev was one of Soviet Russia’s most important cities, it was already sinking into provincialism. The second rate glory of THE Ukraine, the “bread basket” of former Soviet Russia, ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Especially since the Russian Revolution, the Ukraine has been one thing, Kiev another.

History itself opposes the dream of new-found Kievan glory instigated by the USA. That ahistorical dream is destined to boomerang against the rest of Europe itself. For Russia is present … ever present.

Talk about a battle between East and West for Ukraine’s soul is simply linguistic terminology, and at its worst political propaganda. An impossible quandary. Ukraine (the word means “borderlands”- like, say, New Mexico or Southern California in the USA. Ukraine is a geographical term. As such it has no soul. Only a handful of maverick, sold-out Ukrainians (Borderland Russians or Little Russians as they have long been called) can sell their souls. But not Ukraine itself which would be a contradiction of terms. As discussed above, Ukraine IS Russia. Its people are the original Russians. They are basically the same. Many Great Russians to the East do not recognize this as a historical-geographical-demographical reality. Borderlands have no fixed borders. In that sense it is farcical to even speak of Ukraine’s eastern borders. American imperialistic-military planners as well as West Europeans, do not, can not grasp the real Ukrainian story. How can Americans know when they do not even know exactly where Ukraine is and who its people are? Ukraine’s Nazis and Fascists who collaborated with the German Nazi invaders in WWII do not, can not reflect the real Ukraine.

[photo caption: During the military occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany, a large number of Ukrainians chose to cooperate with the Nazis, as these images from Lemberg (aka Lviv) attest. Reasons for this generally included resurgent Ukrainian nationalism and aspirations for independence, however these were coupled with rampant racism towards other ethnic groups (such as Tatars, Roma peoples and Poles) as well as a prevailing sentiment of antisemitism. Nazi atrocities soon prompted a change in attitudes. By the time the Red Army returned to Ukraine, a significant number of the population welcomed its soldiers as liberators.[1] More than 4.5 million Ukrainians joined the Red Army to fight Nazi Germany, and more than 250,000 served in Soviet partisan paramilitary units.[2] (Source: Ukranian Collaborationism with the Axis Powers) ]

RUSSIA

Moscow responds to Western economic sanctions with counter-sanctions that already loom dramatic for economies of West Europe, especially the major economies of Germany, France, and Italy. Germany’s  industrial exports to Russia amount to 36 billion Euros; and over 400,000 German workers are employed in companies exporting to Russia. The sanctions have cost Italy over $1 billion in lost exports, especially agricultural producers whose crops are already rotting in the fields. Big Italian energy companies, with major investments in Russia, face even bigger losses. With the sanctions Italy’s sick economy has lost any chance for recovery. Spanish farmers stand to lose 158 million Euros from the sanctions against their fresh fruit and nuts, or 22% of their total exports to non-EU countries; Greek farmers will lose 107 million Euros. Spanish meat exporters will lose 111 million Euros.

(to be continued, next: The Russians Part III – This Age is Bedeviled by the Sheer Toxicity of the so-called Anglo-American Alliance )



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Greanville Post Senior Editor Gaither Stewart’s latest book is RECOLLECTION OF THINGS LEARNED: Remembering Socialism (Punto Press). His trilogy of novels a la Carré about Cold War-style espionage [The Trojan Spy, Lily Pad Roll, Time of Exile (forthcoming)] incorporate a lucid panorama of what Western intel services do, and the criminal wrong-headedness of US Foreign Policy. Stewart is an expert in Eastern European culture.

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