August 31st. Foreword and translation by Tatzhit:
One of the themes often brought up in pro-Kiev mythology is that Ukrainians are “descendants of freedom-loving people who escaped Russian serfdom”. This may have been partly true for Zaporizhian Sich, but modern Ukrainian state has less connection to that small, ancient Cossack community than USA has to the original settlement in Santa Fe.
Nevertheless, this explanation is constantly used to say that pro-federalization Ukrainians and Russians are merely “genetic slaves” whose opposition to the building of a “European democratic state” should be suppressed (the internal contradiction between “building democracy” and “violent suppression of political opponents” notwithstanding).
Pictured: A typical “Ukraine vs Russia” pro-Kiev cartoon (“free” Ukraine on left, of course)
This is what the post translated below is about:
Yuri Tkachev: About “the free nation” and “empire’s slaves”
The analogies between the war in Donbass and the First Chechen War so obvious that I’m not even going to list them. The differences, however, are equally obvious: the national-religious factor, geopolitical frame, etc. However, they are less important to us, because we will not compare Chechnya with Donbass, but rather Russia with Ukraine.
The First Chechen War was extremely unpopular in Russia. At some points, the war “sunk” Yeltsin’s approval rating down to ridiculous 5-7%, and he had to spend insane amounts of cash and work on PR efforts, to raise it back to the levels from which it could be “fudged” semi-convincingly. But even after throwing these huge amounts of dough at the problem, the Russian government still had to declare “peace talks” with the militants during any sort of important elections – “peace talks” that resulted in nothing more than federal army losing the initiative, suffering more casualties, etc.
A significant proportion of the Russian population completely failed to understand why should their sons, husbands, and friends be conscripted into the army and go shell some god-forsaken mountain villages, generously spilling their own and someone else’s blood in faraway Caucasus. Compared to the recent collapse of the USSR , Chechen secession seemed unimportant.
And even those who held unitarian views were well aware of a … very strange character of such wars, full of different shady deals. Those “deals” included, for example, common cases of industrial facilities controlled by various Chechen military-political clans being “sacred” to the federal armed forces, or numerous cases of militants possessing the newest types of Russian weapons, which sometimes were not yet issued to the federal troops themselves.
A major role in this was played by the Russian press, many of whom were openly on the side of “Chechen freedom fighters” (we can remember the major NTV news channel airing footage from Chechen snipers). Moreover, even the media that were officially pro-government tended to take a rather anti-war tone in their publications.
The work of socio-political anti-war movements and individual activists was also in full swing – both general pacifists, and those supporting the militants specifically.
All these anti-war activities were carried out with little or no interference from the authorities, secret services and law enforcement – despite the actions often fitting legal definitions of a crime.
Overall, total rejection of that war by the Russian society was the primary reason for the signing of Khasavyurt Accord – essentially, a Russian Federation surrender.
And only when “independent Ichkeria” clearly became crime-infested and extremist failed state, and violated the Khasavyurt Accord by invading Dagestan, opinions on the “Chechen question” in Russian society began to shift.
But even after that, the Russian government hesitated for a very long time before deciding on the second Chechen campaign, and carried it to conclusion because the popular opinions have also changed within the Chechen population itself (not in favor of the separatists).
So that was “totalitarian Russia, whose population slavishly supports any government.” And what about Ukraine? And Ukraine was very easily gripped by nationalist fervor of the worst kind:
Harassment and repression, and sometimes physical elimination of anyone who takes an anti-war position. Unthinking approval of any acts of government troops in the Donbass, even the completely pointless shelling of civilian towns (explained by “you’re shelling yourself” or “you are to blame for us killing civilians, because you are separatists”).
This is despite the fact that there are virtually no ethno-cultural or religious barriers against understanding between pro-Kiev and pro-Donetsk sides. But no dialogue happened.
Ukraine is not just following the party line, but enthusiastically allows its rulers to start and prosecute a completely senseless, unjust war, and to conscript thousands of pro-Kiev citizens themselves and to send them to be slaughtered in encirclements – while those in power and their cronies get rich on the war in all ways imaginable, including selling weapons to the Donbass militias!
Comparison of society’s reaction to the Chechen and Donbass wars clearly demonstrates that the “free-thinking” Ukrainians turned out to be much more susceptible to propaganda, much more prone to falling into the worst chauvinism, bordering on fascism, and much less capable of reflection and critical analysis of reality than the Russians whom the same Ukrainians are accusing of having a “slave mentality”.