Anti-Russian hysteria in Ukraine is running out of steam – facts and figures

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October 1st, 2015 – 

By: Aleksey Polubota for SVPressa – 

Translated for Fort Russ by Paul Siebert – 

Despite the fact that for a year and a half the
Ukrainian media have been making Russia an enemy, only half of the Ukrainian
population believes that Russia is the only one responsible for the
“Russian-Ukrainian conflict”.

This is according to a survey conducted by the
“Foundation of democratic initiatives” and by the Razumkov Center for
Political and Economic Studies. The survey was conducted in July, but its
results were published only this week.

49% of respondents blame Russia for the conflict. A
third of respondents believe that the responsibility is equally shared by Kiev
and Moscow. Only Ukraine 9% of respondents believe that only Ukraine is
responsible.

While in the west and center of Ukraine the majority
of the population blames the Russian Federation for the conflict (67% and 62%,
respectively), in the country’s south half of the residents (51%) believe that
both countries are equally responsible. In eastern Ukraine 37% believe that
Russia is responsible while 39% % believe that both countries are equally
responsible.

The survey was also conducted on the territories of
Donbas controlled by Kiev. The attitudes there are very different from the
feelings in the Western Ukraine. Only a quarter of residents (24%) put blame on
Russia, 41% of the population believes that both countries are responsible for
the conflict, 18% are convinced that the blame rests with Ukraine.

Political scientists and sociologists are of the
opinion that over time the majority of the population begins to believe the official
propaganda. But why in Ukraine this principle is clearly stalling?

– I think that the number of people denying the Russian
aggression in Ukraine is even bigger than the polls show, — says a well-known scientist,
General Director of the “Center for problem analysis and governmental
management” Sergei Kara-Murza.
— During wars and
other socio-political upheavals such sociological studies give a very
approximate result. People do not say what they really think especially when a
nationalist dictatorship has been established in the country. Imagine the
frightened Ukrainians who are accosted by strangers introducing themselves as
sociologists and recording their answers. Of course, many would reply not what
they think, but what is expected of them.

In general I would hardly refer to these polls as sociology.
At best, they express the mood of the people. But they do not reflect the deep
motives. It should be a very subtle and professional survey so that people are
speaking about one thing, but manage to spill the beans in the process. But such
surveys are rarely conducted.

– But still, many people in Ukraine have been persuaded by the media
that Russia is the enemy?

– In severe conditions, which threaten a nation, people
tend to believe the press to a lesser extent than in the usual time. Of far
more importance are eyewitness accounts and the grapevine. Only those people
believe the official media who want to believe them.

I think that the number of those who truly believe
that Russia is Ukraine’s main enemy is very small. Even the power elite is well
aware that Russia does not want any occupation of Ukraine. But the Kiev
government has decided that it is to their advantage to take an anti-Russian
stance. This way they have turned into the hostages of circumstances. They are
totally dependent on the West and are unable to behave differently.

– Many Russian political scientists are of the opinion that for Russia
Ukraine is for a long time, if not forever. Indeed, the war has claimed
thousands of victims. Will the “split” between the Russian and
Ukrainian peoples be growing and turning into an abyss?

– It depends on many factors. In my opinion, this is
not so much the war of Russians with Ukrainians, but of Russians with Russians.
In the Donbas, paradoxically, there are more residents of the South-East of
Ukraine fighting for the Kiev pro-Western regime than ethnically “pure”
Ukrainians from Galicia. Yes, some Ukrainians have convinced themselves that
they are a new nation, which has a messianic duty — to stand between “wild” Russia and civilized Europe. It shows
the status of cultural and spiritual crisis of the Ukrainian society. But such
a hysterical state cannot last for a long time. It will burn out by itself. The
society will inevitably be tired of blood and hatred.

We can recall the most powerful irrational psychosis
in history that gripped Nazi Germany. It lasted only 10 years. All the craziness
of Aryan superiority was lost by the Germans after the defeat in the Battle of
Stalingrad. The German writer Heinrich Böll wrote that the defeat in Stalingrad
returned the Germans to the human condition. Of course, at that time the
powerful machine of a militarized state was in motion, the people could not
just run away, they kept saying what was expected of them. But the illusion
began to dispel.

I think that in Ukraine the psychosis that
“Russians are not our brothers” will soon be gone. Especially if we
consider that the Ukrainians in their normal state are more pragmatic than the
Russians. They do not have peculiar messianic sentiments that people in Russia
are often “carried away” with. They are driven by considerations of
practical benefit. Just like the Belarusians, by the way. That is why Belarus
did not experience such severe deprivations as Russia did in the 90ies.
Privatization there was much more moderate than in Russia.

Ukraine will have to go the difficult way to get rid
of psychosis. By the way, here in Russia this Ukrainian psychosis it is often
called fascism. But it has little in common with fascism.

– And what about the statements like the ones made by Irina Farion,
calling on the Ukrainian to “destroy the Moskals”? After all, the
view that the Russians are inferior nation is shared by many nationalists in
Ukraine?

– Such statements are less and less frequent in
Ukraine. It just shows that the psychosis is beginning to run out of steam. The
calls to kill people of other nationalities happen without fascism. Fascism is a
complex phenomenon, more characteristic of Western European consciousness. What
is happening in Ukraine is our inner Eastern European turmoil.

– The number of those people who believe the official
propaganda of Kiev is very small on the territories close to where the fighting
is going, — says an expert of the Civil Society Foundation Stanislav Apetyan. —This is because in the Western and Central Ukraine people get
information about the events in Donbas mainly through the official media. But
in the eastern regions many people see who is shooting whom. Others get their
news from friends and relatives. In this case people will never believe the
propaganda.

– In your opinion, will the number of Ukrainians zombified by official
media grow?

– I do not think so. Quite the contrary. The euphoria
of Ukrainian nationalism, based on Russophobia is subsiding. It could not last
long. At least because a significant part of Ukrainians remains economically
tied to Russia. They go to our country and bring their products to our market.

Anti-Russian propaganda will continue as for the Kiev regime
it is the only way to distract its population from the severe social and
economic problems. But the effectiveness of this propaganda will be gradually
decreasing.

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