During the recent Direct Line, when I was asked about Russian-Ukrainian relations, I said that Russians and Ukrainians were one people – a single whole. These words were not driven by some short-term considerations or prompted by the current political context. It is what I have said on numerous occasions and what I firmly believe. I therefore feel it necessary to explain my position in detail and share my assessments of today’s situation.
First of all, I would like to emphasize that the wall that has emerged in recent years between Russia and Ukraine, between the parts of what is essentially the same historical and spiritual space, to my mind is our great common misfortune and tragedy. These are, first and foremost, the consequences of our own mistakes made at different periods of time. But these are also the result of deliberate efforts by those forces that have always sought to undermine our unity. The formula they apply has been known from time immemorial – divide and rule. There is nothing new here. Hence the attempts to play on the ”national question“ and sow discord among people, the overarching goal being to divide and then to pit the parts of a single people against one another.
To have a better understanding of the present and look into the future, we need to turn to history. Certainly, it is impossible to cover in this article all the developments that have taken place over more than a thousand years. But I will focus on the key, pivotal moments that are important for us to remember, both in Russia and Ukraine.
Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are all descendants of Ancient Rus, which was the largest state in Europe. Slavic and other tribes across the vast territory – from Ladoga, Novgorod, and Pskov to Kiev and Chernigov – were bound together by one language (which we now refer to as Old Russian), economic ties, the rule of the princes of the Rurik dynasty, and – after the baptism of Rus – the Orthodox faith. The spiritual choice made by St. Vladimir, who was both Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev, still largely determines our affinity today.
The throne of Kiev held a dominant position in Ancient Rus. This had been the custom since the late 9th century. The Tale of Bygone Years captured for posterity the words of Oleg the Prophet about Kiev, ”Let it be the mother of all Russian cities.“
Later, like other European states of that time, Ancient Rus faced a decline of central rule and fragmentation. At the same time, both the nobility and the common people perceived Rus as a common territory, as their homeland.
The fragmentation intensified after Batu Khan’s devastating invasion, which ravaged many cities, including Kiev. The northeastern part of Rus fell under the control of the Golden Horde but retained limited sovereignty. The southern and western Russian lands largely became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which – most significantly – was referred to in historical records as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Russia.
Members of the princely and ”boyar“ clans would change service from one prince to another, feuding with each other but also making friendships and alliances. Voivode Bobrok of Volyn and the sons of Grand Duke of Lithuania Algirdas – Andrey of Polotsk and Dmitry of Bryansk – fought next to Grand Duke Dmitry Ivanovich of Moscow on the Kulikovo field. At the same time, Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila – son of the Princess of Tver – led his troops to join with Mamai. These are all pages of our shared history, reflecting its complex and multi-dimensional nature.
Most importantly, people both in the western and eastern Russian lands spoke the same language. Their faith was Orthodox. Up to the middle of the 15th century, the unified church government remained in place.
At a new stage of historical development, both Lithuanian Rus and Moscow Rus could have become the points of attraction and consolidation of the territories of Ancient Rus. It so happened that Moscow became the center of reunification, continuing the tradition of ancient Russian statehood. Moscow princes – the descendants of Prince Alexander Nevsky – cast off the foreign yoke and began gathering the Russian lands.
In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, other processes were unfolding. In the 14th century, Lithuania’s ruling elite converted to Catholicism. In the 16th century, it signed the Union of Lublin with the Kingdom of Poland to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Polish Catholic nobility received considerable land holdings and privileges in the territory of Rus. In accordance with the 1596 Union of Brest, part of the western Russian Orthodox clergy submitted to the authority of the Pope. The process of Polonization and Latinization began, ousting Orthodoxy.
As a consequence, in the 16–17th centuries, the liberation movement of the Orthodox population was gaining strength in the Dnieper region. The events during the times of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky became a turning point. His supporters struggled for autonomy from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
In its 1649 appeal to the king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Zaporizhian Host demanded that the rights of the Russian Orthodox population be respected, that the voivode of Kiev be Russian and of Greek faith, and that the persecution of the churches of God be stopped. But the Cossacks were not heard.
Bohdan Khmelnytsky then made appeals to Moscow, which were considered by the Zemsky Sobor. On 1 October 1653, members of the supreme representative body of the Russian state decided to support their brothers in faith and take them under patronage. In January 1654, the Pereyaslav Council confirmed that decision. Subsequently, the ambassadors of Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Moscow visited dozens of cities, including Kiev, whose populations swore allegiance to the Russian tsar. Incidentally, nothing of the kind happened at the conclusion of the Union of Lublin.
In a letter to Moscow in 1654, Bohdan Khmelnytsky thanked Tsar Aleksey Mikhaylovich for taking ”the whole Zaporizhian Host and the whole Russian Orthodox world under the strong and high hand of the Tsar“. It means that, in their appeals to both the Polish king and the Russian tsar, the Cossacks referred to and defined themselves as Russian Orthodox people.
Over the course of the protracted war between the Russian state and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, some of the hetmans, successors of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, would ”detach themselves“ from Moscow or seek support from Sweden, Poland, or Turkey. But, again, for the people, that was a war of liberation. It ended with the Truce of Andrusovo in 1667. The final outcome was sealed by the Treaty of Perpetual Peace in 1686. The Russian state incorporated the city of Kiev and the lands on the left bank of the Dnieper River, including Poltava region, Chernigov region, and Zaporozhye. Their inhabitants were reunited with the main part of the Russian Orthodox people. These territories were referred to as ”Malorossia“ (Little Russia).
The name ”Ukraine“ was used more often in the meaning of the Old Russian word ”okraina“ (periphery), which is found in written sources from the 12th century, referring to various border territories. And the word ”Ukrainian“, judging by archival documents, originally referred to frontier guards who protected the external borders.
On the right bank, which remained under the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the old orders were restored, and social and religious oppression intensified. On the contrary, the lands on the left bank, taken under the protection of the unified state, saw rapid development. People from the other bank of the Dnieper moved here en masse. They sought support from people who spoke the same language and had the same faith.
During the Great Northern War with Sweden, the people in Malorossia were not faced with a choice of whom to side with. Only a small portion of the Cossacks supported Mazepa’s rebellion. People of all orders and degrees considered themselves Russian and Orthodox.
Cossack senior officers belonging to the nobility would reach the heights of political, diplomatic, and military careers in Russia. Graduates of Kiev-Mohyla Academy played a leading role in church life. This was also the case during the Hetmanate – an essentially autonomous state formation with a special internal structure – and later in the Russian Empire. Malorussians in many ways helped build a big common country – its statehood, culture, and science. They participated in the exploration and development of the Urals, Siberia, the Caucasus, and the Far East. Incidentally, during the Soviet period, natives of Ukraine held major, including the highest, posts in the leadership of the unified state. Suffice it to say that Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, whose party biography was most closely associated with Ukraine, led the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) for almost 30 years.
In the second half of the 18th century, following the wars with the Ottoman Empire, Russia incorporated Crimea and the lands of the Black Sea region, which became known as Novorossiya. They were populated by people from all of the Russian provinces. After the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire regained the western Old Russian lands, with the exception of Galicia and Transcarpathia, which became part of the Austrian – and later Austro-Hungarian – Empire.
The incorporation of the western Russian lands into the single state was not merely the result of political and diplomatic decisions. It was underlain by the common faith, shared cultural traditions, and – I would like to emphasize it once again – language similarity. Thus, as early as the beginning of the 17th century, one of the hierarchs of the Uniate Church, Joseph Rutsky, communicated to Rome that people in Moscovia called Russians from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth their brothers, that their written language was absolutely identical, and differences in the vernacular were insignificant. He drew an analogy with the residents of Rome and Bergamo. These are, as we know, the center and the north of modern Italy.
Many centuries of fragmentation and living within different states naturally brought about regional language peculiarities, resulting in the emergence of dialects. The vernacular enriched the literary language. Ivan Kotlyarevsky, Grigory Skovoroda, and Taras Shevchenko played a huge role here. Their works are our common literary and cultural heritage. Taras Shevchenko wrote poetry in the Ukrainian language, and prose mainly in Russian. The books of Nikolay Gogol, a Russian patriot and native of Poltavshchyna, are written in Russian, bristling with Malorussian folk sayings and motifs. How can this heritage be divided between Russia and Ukraine? And why do it?
The south-western lands of the Russian Empire, Malorussia and Novorossiya, and the Crimea developed as ethnically and religiously diverse entities. Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Karaites, Krymchaks, Bulgarians, Poles, Serbs, Germans, and other peoples lived here. They all preserved their faith, traditions, and customs.
I am not going to idealise anything. We do know there were the Valuev Circular of 1863 an then the Ems Ukaz of 1876, which restricted the publication and importation of religious and socio-political literature in the Ukrainian language. But it is important to be mindful of the historical context. These decisions were taken against the backdrop of dramatic events in Poland and the desire of the leaders of the Polish national movement to exploit the ”Ukrainian issue“ to their own advantage. I should add that works of fiction, books of Ukrainian poetry and folk songs continued to be published. There is objective evidence that the Russian Empire was witnessing an active process of development of the Malorussian cultural identity within the greater Russian nation, which united the Velikorussians, the Malorussians and the Belorussians.
At the same time, the idea of Ukrainian people as a nation separate from the Russians started to form and gain ground among the Polish elite and a part of the Malorussian intelligentsia. Since there was no historical basis – and could not have been any, conclusions were substantiated by all sorts of concoctions, which went as far as to claim that the Ukrainians are the true Slavs and the Russians, the Muscovites, are not. Such ”hypotheses“ became increasingly used for political purposes as a tool of rivalry between European states.
Since the late 19th century, the Austro-Hungarian authorities had latched onto this narrative, using it as a counterbalance to the Polish national movement and pro-Muscovite sentiments in Galicia. During World War I, Vienna played a role in the formation of the so-called Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen. Galicians suspected of sympathies with Orthodox Christianity and Russia were subjected to brutal repression and thrown into the concentration camps of Thalerhof and Terezin.
Further developments had to do with the collapse of European empires, the fierce civil war that broke out across the vast territory of the former Russian Empire, and foreign intervention.
After the February Revolution, in March 1917, the Central Rada was established in Kiev, intended to become the organ of supreme power. In November 1917, in its Third Universal, it declared the creation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) as part of Russia.
In December 1917, UPR representatives arrived in Brest-Litovsk, where Soviet Russia was negotiating with Germany and its allies. At a meeting on 10 January 1918, the head of the Ukrainian delegation read out a note proclaiming the independence of Ukraine. Subsequently, the Central Rada proclaimed Ukraine independent in its Fourth Universal.
The declared sovereignty did not last long. Just a few weeks later, Rada delegates signed a separate treaty with the German bloc countries. Germany and Austria-Hungary were at the time in a dire situation and needed Ukrainian bread and raw materials. In order to secure large-scale supplies, they obtained consent for sending their troops and technical staff to the UPR. In fact, this was used as a pretext for occupation.
For those who have today given up the full control of Ukraine to external forces, it would be instructive to remember that, back in 1918, such a decision proved fatal for the ruling regime in Kiev. With the direct involvement of the occupying forces, the Central Rada was overthrown and Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi was brought to power, proclaiming instead of the UPR the Ukrainian State, which was essentially under German protectorate.
In November 1918 – following the revolutionary events in Germany and Austria-Hungary – Pavlo Skoropadskyi, who had lost the support of German bayonets, took a different course, declaring that ”Ukraine is to take the lead in the formation of an All-Russian Federation“. However, the regime was soon changed again. It was now the time of the so-called Directorate.
In autumn 1918, Ukrainian nationalists proclaimed the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (WUPR) and, in January 1919, announced its unification with the Ukrainian People’s Republic. In July 1919, Ukrainian forces were crushed by Polish troops, and the territory of the former WUPR came under the Polish rule.
In April 1920, Symon Petliura (portrayed as one of the ”heroes“ in today’s Ukraine) concluded secret conventions on behalf of the UPR Directorate, giving up – in exchange for military support – Galicia and Western Volhynia lands to Poland. In May 1920, Petliurites entered Kiev in a convoy of Polish military units. But not for long. As early as November 1920, following a truce between Poland and Soviet Russia, the remnants of Petliura’s forces surrendered to those same Poles.
The example of the UPR shows that different kinds of quasi-state formations that emerged across the former Russian Empire at the time of the Civil War and turbulence were inherently unstable. Nationalists sought to create their own independent states, while leaders of the White movement advocated indivisible Russia. Many of the republics established by the Bolsheviks’ supporters did not see themselves outside Russia either. Nevertheless, Bolshevik Party leaders sometimes basically drove them out of Soviet Russia for various reasons.
Thus, in early 1918, the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic was proclaimed and asked Moscow to incorporate it into Soviet Russia. This was met with a refusal. During a meeting with the republic’s leaders, Vladimir Lenin insisted that they act as part of Soviet Ukraine. On 15 March 1918, the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) directly ordered that delegates be sent to the Ukrainian Congress of Soviets, including from the Donetsk Basin, and that ”one government for all of Ukraine“ be created at the congress. The territories of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic later formed most of the regions of south-eastern Ukraine.
Under the 1921 Treaty of Riga, concluded between the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and Poland, the western lands of the former Russian Empire were ceded to Poland. In the interwar period, the Polish government pursued an active resettlement policy, seeking to change the ethnic composition of the Eastern Borderlands – the Polish name for what is now Western Ukraine, Western Belarus and parts of Lithuania. The areas were subjected to harsh Polonisation, local culture and traditions suppressed. Later, during World War II, radical groups of Ukrainian nationalists used this as a pretext for terror not only against Polish, but also against Jewish and Russian populations.
In 1922, when the USSR was created, with the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic becoming one of its founders, a rather fierce debate among the Bolshevik leaders resulted in the implementation of Lenin’s plan to form a union state as a federation of equal republics. The right for the republics to freely secede from the Union was included in the text of the Declaration on the Creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and, subsequently, in the 1924 USSR Constitution. By doing so, the authors planted in the foundation of our statehood the most dangerous time bomb, which exploded the moment the safety mechanism provided by the leading role of the CPSU was gone, the party itself collapsing from within. A ”parade of sovereignties“ followed. On 8 December 1991, the so-called Belovezh Agreement on the Creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed, stating that ”the USSR as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality no longer existed.“ By the way, Ukraine never signed or ratified the CIS Charter adopted back in 1993.
In the 1920’s-1930’s, the Bolsheviks actively promoted the ”localization policy“, which took the form of Ukrainization in the Ukrainian SSR. Symbolically, as part of this policy and with consent of the Soviet authorities, Mikhail Grushevskiy, former chairman of Central Rada, one of the ideologists of Ukrainian nationalism, who at a certain period of time had been supported by Austria-Hungary, was returned to the USSR and was elected member of the Academy of Sciences.
The localization policy undoubtedly played a major role in the development and consolidation of the Ukrainian culture, language and identity. At the same time, under the guise of combating the so-called Russian great-power chauvinism, Ukrainization was often imposed on those who did not see themselves as Ukrainians. This Soviet national policy secured at the state level the provision on three separate Slavic peoples: Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian, instead of the large Russian nation, a triune people comprising Velikorussians, Malorussians and Belorussians.
In 1939, the USSR regained the lands earlier seized by Poland. A major portion of these became part of the Soviet Ukraine. In 1940, the Ukrainian SSR incorporated part of Bessarabia, which had been occupied by Romania since 1918, as well as Northern Bukovina. In 1948, Zmeyiniy Island (Snake Island) in the Black Sea became part of Ukraine. In 1954, the Crimean Region of the RSFSR was given to the Ukrainian SSR, in gross violation of legal norms that were in force at the time.
I would like to dwell on the destiny of Carpathian Ruthenia, which became part of Czechoslovakia following the breakup of Austria-Hungary. Rusins made up a considerable share of local population. While this is hardly mentioned any longer, after the liberation of Transcarpathia by Soviet troops the congress of the Orthodox population of the region voted for the inclusion of Carpathian Ruthenia in the RSFSR or, as a separate Carpathian republic, in the USSR proper. Yet the choice of people was ignored. In summer 1945, the historical act of the reunification of Carpathian Ukraine ”with its ancient motherland, Ukraine“ – as The Pravda newspaper put it – was announced.
Therefore, modern Ukraine is entirely the product of the Soviet era. We know and remember well that it was shaped – for a significant part – on the lands of historical Russia. To make sure of that, it is enough to look at the boundaries of the lands reunited with the Russian state in the 17th century and the territory of the Ukrainian SSR when it left the Soviet Union.
The Bolsheviks treated the Russian people as inexhaustible material for their social experiments. They dreamt of a world revolution that would wipe out national states. That is why they were so generous in drawing borders and bestowing territorial gifts. It is no longer important what exactly the idea of the Bolshevik leaders who were chopping the country into pieces was. We can disagree about minor details, background and logics behind certain decisions. One fact is crystal clear: Russia was robbed, indeed.
When working on this article, I relied on open-source documents that contain well-known facts rather than on some secret records. The leaders of modern Ukraine and their external ”patrons“ prefer to overlook these facts. They do not miss a chance, however, both inside the country and abroad, to condemn ”the crimes of the Soviet regime,“ listing among them events with which neither the CPSU, nor the USSR, let alone modern Russia, have anything to do. At the same time, the Bolsheviks’ efforts to detach from Russia its historical territories are not considered a crime. And we know why: if they brought about the weakening of Russia, our ill-wishes are happy with that.
Of course, inside the USSR, borders between republics were never seen as state borders; they were nominal within a single country, which, while featuring all the attributes of a federation, was highly centralized – this, again, was secured by the CPSU’s leading role. But in 1991, all those territories, and, which is more important, people, found themselves abroad overnight, taken away, this time indeed, from their historical motherland.
What can be said to this? Things change: countries and communities are no exception. Of course, some part of a people in the process of its development, influenced by a number of reasons and historical circumstances, can become aware of itself as a separate nation at a certain moment. How should we treat that? There is only one answer: with respect!
You want to establish a state of your own: you are welcome! But what are the terms? I will recall the assessment given by one of the most prominent political figures of new Russia, first mayor of Saint Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak. As a legal expert who believed that every decision must be legitimate, in 1992, he shared the following opinion: the republics that were founders of the Union, having denounced the 1922 Union Treaty, must return to the boundaries they had had before joining the Soviet Union. All other territorial acquisitions are subject to discussion, negotiations, given that the ground has been revoked.
In other words, when you leave, take what you brought with you. This logic is hard to refute. I will just say that the Bolsheviks had embarked on reshaping boundaries even before the Soviet Union, manipulating with territories to their liking, in disregard of people’s views.
The Russian Federation recognized the new geopolitical realities: and not only recognized, but, indeed, did a lot for Ukraine to establish itself as an independent country. Throughout the difficult 1990’s and in the new millennium, we have provided considerable support to Ukraine. Whatever ”political arithmetic“ of its own Kiev may wish to apply, in 1991–2013, Ukraine’s budget savings amounted to more than USD 82 billion, while today, it holds on to the mere USD 1.5 billion of Russian payments for gas transit to Europe. If economic ties between our countries had been retained, Ukraine would enjoy the benefit of tens of billions of dollars.
Ukraine and Russia have developed as a single economic system over decades and centuries. The profound cooperation we had 30 years ago is an example for the European Union to look up to. We are natural complementary economic partners. Such a close relationship can strengthen competitive advantages, increasing the potential of both countries.
Ukraine used to possess great potential, which included powerful infrastructure, gas transportation system, advanced shipbuilding, aviation, rocket and instrument engineering industries, as well as world-class scientific, design and engineering schools. Taking over this legacy and declaring independence, Ukrainian leaders promised that the Ukrainian economy would be one of the leading ones and the standard of living would be among the best in Europe.
Today, high-tech industrial giants that were once the pride of Ukraine and the entire Union, are sinking. Engineering output has dropped by 42 per cent over ten years. The scale of deindustrialization and overall economic degradation is visible in Ukraine’s electricity production, which has seen a nearly two-time decrease in 30 years. Finally, according to IMF reports, in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Ukraine’s GDP per capita had been below USD 4 thousand. This is less than in the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Moldova, or unrecognized Kosovo. Nowadays, Ukraine is Europe’s poorest country.
Who is to blame for this? Is it the people of Ukraine’s fault? Certainly not. It was the Ukrainian authorities who waisted and frittered away the achievements of many generations. We know how hardworking and talented the people of Ukraine are. They can achieve success and outstanding results with perseverance and determination. And these qualities, as well as their openness, innate optimism and hospitality have not gone. The feelings of millions of people who treat Russia not just well but with great affection, just as we feel about Ukraine, remain the same.
Until 2014, hundreds of agreements and joint projects were aimed at developing our economies, business and cultural ties, strengthening security, and solving common social and environmental problems. They brought tangible benefits to people – both in Russia and Ukraine. This is what we believed to be most important. And that is why we had a fruitful interaction with all, I emphasize, with all the leaders of Ukraine.
Even after the events in Kiev of 2014, I charged the Russian government to elaborate options for preserving and maintaining our economic ties within relevant ministries and agencies. However, there was and is still no mutual will to do the same. Nevertheless, Russia is still one of Ukraine’s top three trading partners, and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are coming to us to work, and they find a welcome reception and support. So that what the ”aggressor state“ is.
When the USSR collapsed, many people in Russia and Ukraine sincerely believed and assumed that our close cultural, spiritual and economic ties would certainly last, as would the commonality of our people, who had always had a sense of unity at their core. However, events – at first gradually, and then more rapidly – started to move in a different direction.
In essence, Ukraine’s ruling circles decided to justify their country’s independence through the denial of its past, however, except for border issues. They began to mythologize and rewrite history, edit out everything that united us, and refer to the period when Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union as an occupation. The common tragedy of collectivization and famine of the early 1930s was portrayed as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.
Radicals and neo-Nazis were open and more and more insolent about their ambitions. They were indulged by both the official authorities and local oligarchs, who robbed the people of Ukraine and kept their stolen money in Western banks, ready to sell their motherland for the sake of preserving their capital. To this should be added the persistent weakness of state institutions and the position of a willing hostage to someone else’s geopolitical will.
I recall that long ago, well before 2014, the U.S. and EU countries systematically and consistently pushed Ukraine to curtail and limit economic cooperation with Russia. We, as the largest trade and economic partner of Ukraine, suggested discussing the emerging problems in the Ukraine-Russia-EU format. But every time we were told that Russia had nothing to do with it and that the issue concerned only the EU and Ukraine. De facto Western countries rejected Russia’s repeated calls for dialogue.
Step by step, Ukraine was dragged into a dangerous geopolitical game aimed at turning Ukraine into a barrier between Europe and Russia, a springboard against Russia. Inevitably, there came a time when the concept of ”Ukraine is not Russia“ was no longer an option. There was a need for the ”anti-Russia“ concept which we will never accept.
The owners of this project took as a basis the old groundwork of the Polish-Austrian ideologists to create an ”anti-Moscow Russia“. And there is no need to deceive anyone that this is being done in the interests of the people of Ukraine. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth never needed Ukrainian culture, much less Cossack autonomy. In Austria-Hungary, historical Russian lands were mercilessly exploited and remained the poorest. The Nazis, abetted by collaborators from the OUN-UPA, did not need Ukraine, but a living space and slaves for Aryan overlords.
Nor were the interests of the Ukrainian people thought of in February 2014. The legitimate public discontent, caused by acute socio-economic problems, mistakes, and inconsistent actions of the authorities of the time, was simply cynically exploited. Western countries directly interfered in Ukraine’s internal affairs and supported the coup. Radical nationalist groups served as its battering ram. Their slogans, ideology, and blatant aggressive Russophobia have to a large extent become defining elements of state policy in Ukraine.
All the things that united us and bring us together so far came under attack. First and foremost, the Russian language. Let me remind you that the new ”Maidan“ authorities first tried to repeal the law on state language policy. Then there was the law on the ”purification of power“, the law on education that virtually cut the Russian language out of the educational process.
Lastly, as early as May of this year, the current president introduced a bill on ”indigenous peoples“ to the Rada. Only those who constitute an ethnic minority and do not have their own state entity outside Ukraine are recognized as indigenous. The law has been passed. New seeds of discord have been sown. And this is happening in a country, as I have already noted, that is very complex in terms of its territorial, national and linguistic composition, and its history of formation.
There may be an argument: if you are talking about a single large nation, a triune nation, then what difference does it make who people consider themselves to be – Russians, Ukrainians, or Belarusians. I completely agree with this. Especially since the determination of nationality, particularly in mixed families, is the right of every individual, free to make his or her own choice.
But the fact is that the situation in Ukraine today is completely different because it involves a forced change of identity. And the most despicable thing is that the Russians in Ukraine are being forced not only to deny their roots, generations of their ancestors but also to believe that Russia is their enemy. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the path of forced assimilation, the formation of an ethnically pure Ukrainian state, aggressive towards Russia, is comparable in its consequences to the use of weapons of mass destruction against us. As a result of such a harsh and artificial division of Russians and Ukrainians, the Russian people in all may decrease by hundreds of thousands or even millions.
Our spiritual unity has also been attacked. As in the days of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a new ecclesiastical has been initiated. The secular authorities, making no secret of their political aims, have blatantly interfered in church life and brought things to a split, to the seizure of churches, the beating of priests and monks. Even extensive autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church while maintaining spiritual unity with the Moscow Patriarchate strongly displeases them. They have to destroy this prominent and centuries-old symbol of our kinship at all costs.
I think it is also natural that the representatives of Ukraine over and over again vote against the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism. Marches and torchlit processions in honor of remaining war criminals from the SS units take place under the protection of the official authorities. Mazepa, who betrayed everyone, Petliura, who paid for Polish patronage with Ukrainian lands, and Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazis, are ranked as national heroes. Everything is being done to erase from the memory of young generations the names of genuine patriots and victors, who have always been the pride of Ukraine.
For the Ukrainians who fought in the Red Army, in partisan units, the Great Patriotic War was indeed a patriotic war because they were defending their home, their great common Motherland. Over two thousand soldiers became Heroes of the Soviet Union. Among them are legendary pilot Ivan Kozhedub, fearless sniper, defender of Odessa and Sevastopol Lyudmila Pavlichenko, valiant guerrilla commander Sidor Kovpak. This indomitable generation fought, those people gave their lives for our future, for us. To forget their feat is to betray our grandfathers, mothers and fathers.
The anti-Russia project has been rejected by millions of Ukrainians. The people of Crimea and residents of Sevastopol made their historic choice. And people in the southeast peacefully tried to defend their stance. Yet, all of them, including children, were labeled as separatists and terrorists. They were threatened with ethnic cleansing and the use of military force. And the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms to defend their home, their language and their lives. Were they left any other choice after the riots that swept through the cities of Ukraine, after the horror and tragedy of 2 May 2014 in Odessa where Ukrainian neo-Nazis burned people alive making a new Khatyn out of it? The same massacre was ready to be carried out by the followers of Bandera in Crimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk and Lugansk. Even now they do not abandon such plans. They are biding their time. But their time will not come.
The coup d’état and the subsequent actions of the Kiev authorities inevitably provoked confrontation and civil war. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that the total number of victims in the conflict in Donbas has exceeded 13,000. Among them are the elderly and children. These are terrible, irreparable losses.
Russia has done everything to stop fratricide. The Minsk agreements aimed at a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas have been concluded. I am convinced that they still have no alternative. In any case, no one has withdrawn their signatures from the Minsk Package of Measures or from the relevant statements by the leaders of the Normandy format countries. No one has initiated a review of the United Nations Security Council resolution of 17 February 2015.
During official negotiations, especially after being reined in by Western partners, Ukraine’s representatives regularly declare their ”full adherence“ to the Minsk agreements, but are in fact guided by a position of ”unacceptability“. They do not intend to seriously discuss either the special status of Donbas or safeguards for the people living there. They prefer to exploit the image of the ”victim of external aggression“ and peddle Russophobia. They arrange bloody provocations in Donbas. In short, they attract the attention of external patrons and masters by all means.
Apparently, and I am becoming more and more convinced of this: Kiev simply does not need Donbas. Why? Because, firstly, the inhabitants of these regions will never accept the order that they have tried and are trying to impose by force, blockade and threats. And secondly, the outcome of both Minsk‑1 and Minsk‑2 which give a real chance to peacefully restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine by coming to an agreement directly with the DPR and LPR with Russia, Germany and France as mediators, contradicts the entire logic of the anti-Russia project. And it can only be sustained by the constant cultivation of the image of an internal and external enemy. And I would add – under the protection and control of the Western powers.
This is what is actually happening. First of all, we are facing the creation of a climate of fear in Ukrainian society, aggressive rhetoric, indulging neo-Nazis and militarising the country. Along with that we are witnessing not just complete dependence but direct external control, including the supervision of the Ukrainian authorities, security services and armed forces by foreign advisers, military ”development“ of the territory of Ukraine and deployment of NATO infrastructure. It is no coincidence that the aforementioned flagrant law on ”indigenous peoples“ was adopted under the cover of large-scale NATO exercises in Ukraine.
This is also a disguise for the takeover of the rest of the Ukrainian economy and the exploitation of its natural resources. The sale of agricultural land is not far off, and it is obvious who will buy it up. From time to time, Ukraine is indeed given financial resources and loans, but under their own conditions and pursuing their own interests, with preferences and benefits for Western companies. By the way, who will pay these debts back? Apparently, it is assumed that this will have to be done not only by today’s generation of Ukrainians but also by their children, grandchildren and probably great-grandchildren.
The Western authors of the anti-Russia project set up the Ukrainian political system in such a way that presidents, members of parliament and ministers would change but the attitude of separation from and enmity with Russia would remain. Reaching peace was the main election slogan of the incumbent president. He came to power with this. The promises turned out to be lies. Nothing has changed. And in some ways the situation in Ukraine and around Donbas has even degenerated.
In the anti-Russia project, there is no place either for a sovereign Ukraine or for the political forces that are trying to defend its real independence. Those who talk about reconciliation in Ukrainian society, about dialogue, about finding a way out of the current impasse are labelled as ”pro-Russian“ agents.
Again, for many people in Ukraine, the anti-Russia project is simply unacceptable. And there are millions of such people. But they are not allowed to raise their heads. They have had their legal opportunity to defend their point of view in fact taken away from them. They are intimidated, driven underground. Not only are they persecuted for their convictions, for the spoken word, for the open expression of their position, but they are also killed. Murderers, as a rule, go unpunished.
Today, the ”right“ patriot of Ukraine is only the one who hates Russia. Moreover, the entire Ukrainian statehood, as we understand it, is proposed to be further built exclusively on this idea. Hate and anger, as world history has repeatedly proved this, are a very shaky foundation for sovereignty, fraught with many serious risks and dire consequences.
All the subterfuges associated with the anti-Russia project are clear to us. And we will never allow our historical territories and people close to us living there to be used against Russia. And to those who will undertake such an attempt, I would like to say that this way they will destroy their own country.
The incumbent authorities in Ukraine like to refer to Western experience, seeing it as a model to follow. Just have a look at how Austria and Germany, the USA and Canada live next to each other. Close in ethnic composition, culture, in fact sharing one language, they remain sovereign states with their own interests, with their own foreign policy. But this does not prevent them from the closest integration or allied relations. They have very conditional, transparent borders. And when crossing them the citizens feel at home. They create families, study, work, do business. Incidentally, so do millions of those born in Ukraine who now live in Russia. We see them as our own close people.
Russia is open to dialogue with Ukraine and ready to discuss the most complex issues. But it is important for us to understand that our partner is defending its national interests but not serving someone else’s, and is not a tool in someone else’s hands to fight against us.
We respect the Ukrainian language and traditions. We respect Ukrainians’ desire to see their country free, safe and prosperous.
I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia. Our spiritual, human and civilizational ties formed for centuries and have their origins in the same sources, they have been hardened by common trials, achievements and victories. Our kinship has been transmitted from generation to generation. It is in the hearts and the memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful. For we are one people.
Today, these words may be perceived by some people with hostility. They can be interpreted in many possible ways. Yet, many people will hear me. And I will say one thing – Russia has never been and will never be ”anti-Ukraine“. And what Ukraine will be – it is up to its citizens to decide.
A love letter from a philosopher king. Beautiful.
And so it begins…
‘Russia has never been and will never be ”anti-Ukraine“. And what Ukraine will be – it is up to its citizens to decide.’
Unfortunately, Mr President, while the first part of your concluding comment reflects an admirable sentiment that may lie at least partly within your own sphere of influence, the latter part is highly questionable. As you say, those forces that have always sought to undermine unity among peoples throughout the entire world are unlikely to cease their formulaic ‘time immemorial – divide and rule’ efforts in this case. They will do everything in their considerable power to ensure that what the Ukraine will be is NOT decided by its own ordinary citizens.
“They will do everything in their considerable power to ensure that what the Ukraine will be is NOT decided by its own ordinary citizens”
If you are in VVP’s place, would you bother to give such comprehensive history lesson if you believe THEY still are able to twist will of majority in Ukraine?
My guess is that Ukraine will have important and fair election(s) soon. One way or another.
I would sincerely hope that you are right. But I’m quite doubtful that it’s a question of whether THEY are able to twist the will of the majority of Ukrainians. They’ve shown themselves very capable of influencing outcomes elsewhere, even including within their own countries and their allies (read ‘poodles’), without the agreement of the majority of the citizenship.
I feel that this letter addresses the Ukrainian people with a sane mind and not the Ukrainian puppet regime. I have read about polls that have indicated that the vast majority of Ukrainians oppose to a war with Russia
I see war is coming all the cards are been laid down.
A master piece of historical and political analysis from the President of the Russian Federation!
A clear statement too, that Russia will protect Donbas, since Kiev lost any entitlement on it, for good.
Cheers from France.
This was published in Ukrainian language. It was meant to message all levels of that failed society. There are words for Zelensky, for the rational citizens and for the confused and misled masses.
Russia offers an embrace and a warning. Putin indicates that Novorossiya is rightly Russian space and if Ukraine persists in its catastrophic ways, it will splinter and what is Russian will return to Russia.
History and legal facts are on Russia’s side. Economics and decline are working against Ukraine.
The Kremlin has said today that talks with Zelensky are possible.
We shall see if the comedian can slip the US leash and act with some degree of common sense for the good of the people.
I imagine all military activity will have to stop in order to “talk”.
This article is a major historic document. Ukraine will survive or fall apart depending on whether Putin is heeded or rejected.
“I imagine all military activity will have to stop in order to “talk”.”
And since all military activity is way beyond Zelensky’s control, we go to back to square one.
“What’s the use of meeting with Zelenskiy when he has given full control of his country to outside management?”, Putin recently said.
Winter is coming. It is better to talk with cool heads.
Thanks for letting us know Putin’s article was published in Ukrainian. Putin give it a brilliant touch, and most of us would not have known.
Zelensky is nothing but a puppet of the AZ Cabal, just an insignificant little pawn on this chessboard. Talking to him is but a complete waste of time. Any opposition to the agenda of Ukraine as an “anti- Russia project” is crushed. People are threatened, imprisoned, and, as VVP pointed out, murdered, if necessary. They are living in fear. It is terrible as to what is happening in that place right now since it’s been taken over by this Cabal.
As an example, just look at what’s been done to USA population, and their country as such – by the very same..
I believe that the only way to save Ukraine and it’s people from this sad fate will be war. Short, swift and decisive. Just like in Syria, it needs to be cleansed of all the festering, parasitic and evil infestation, once and for all. Period.
And there is only one way to do it.
Katerina mentioned Syria, where VVP showed his mastery as a warrior against ISIS. But now he is showing his mastery as a statesman. Instead of the long awaited and messy showdown of armed force against the U$ Army of Occupation in Syria, the Russian envoy is holding talks on an orderly and dignified U$ withdrawal:
“US, Russia Discuss Syria as Putin’s Envoy Says US Likely To Pull Out From Syria and Iraq”
@Dr. NG Maroudas
It is concerning that all of these withdrawals are suddenly occurring. It is a good thing, but the underlying reason is probably not a good thing
Where President Putin is in his Christian walk I do not know, and it is not for me to know; however, it is absolutely obvious that he is the agent of Providence in a fallen world. Regardless of what might happen, the Russian people are fortunate to have him as their patron at this crucial juncture in their history.
Is this a prelude to some decisive action to resolve the Donbass issue?
Unfortunately, the ill conceived “voyage” to meet the new “partners” on their own terms was, by every measure, a disaster not only for Russia. Doing its best to make enemies of its friends and make the friends of its verified enemies is never good policy. Russia lost its way and its “leadership” so far hasn’t been able to respond to the historical challenges and aspirations of the nation. No matter how many words or essays have been written, an unsuccessful and short lived excursion has left in its wake huge and long lasting, most likely unrepairable historical consequences primarily for Slavic and especially orthodox peoples. And that is inexcusable!
What are you talking about?
Your post is full of abstract terms and generalisations. If you want to be understood, speak clearly – as Mr Putin does.
DOn’t bother Tom, it is probably a bot.
Bot or not – Loco, English slang for Insane or Crazy
Coco – The Clown
Lococo – Crazy Clown
“But the Cossacks were not heard”.
Ironically, I first learned something about this period of history from the Hollywood film “Taras Bulba” (1962), based on Gogol’s novella, with Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis.
Even as a young boy I was struck by the proud arrogance and cruelty of the Polish nobles – quite contrary to everything I had already been told about the proud arrogance of the Russians and the sufferings of the downtrodden Poles.
The bigger question to ponder is this: why is this “anti-Russia” message so effective? what makes this message so sticky? some might just wave their hands and say it’s all the media messaging, but I think there has to be something more… the past, the history and even some of the current rough and tumble ways of doing business with Russia. this has to be deeply introspected and it’s a country that has the courage to do so. there may be some trouble in acting on the findings given the past experiences and con’s perpetrated on them, but Russia should not stop trying.
the heart of the message lies in this statement. “Just have a look at how Austria and Germany, the USA and Canada live next to each other. Close in ethnic composition, culture, in fact sharing one language, …” and also places the context for the discussion which is a great starting point and also points at the problem. as they say in business, “there are no problems, just opportunities”. hope VVP is the first to take control of this opportunity, lest his adversaries do.
“The bigger question to ponder is this: why is this “anti-Russia” message so effective? what makes this message so sticky? some might just wave their hands and say it’s all the media messaging, but I think there has to be something more…”
Marfa – I have long pondered this very question. The answer that satisfies me comes from the psychologist Carl Jung. He wrote; “For the West Russia represents the collective unconscious.” Which means that the West carries the “light” of the fully developed intellectual ego. It is a known fact that the ego fears the unconscious and it contents. So the West loves its shining mental light and, true to form, fears the unconscious and all that lurks within it. This is an observable fact in mass psychology. Putin himself referring, to the great patriotic war, described some of Russia’s response to the Nazi invasion as “primitive.”
The propaganda merchants of the West play on the mind’s fear of the unconscious by always portraying Russia and Communism as a threat from the primitive unconscious. This has an enormous but unrecognized political potency. But, as Jung would say, salvation (for the ego) comes from the unconscious. Herein lies the beauty and magic of Russia’s gift to the world now. It embodies the salvatory light of the unconscious. Hence Putin as an embodiment of “providence”. The psychic Edgar Case spoke similarly of Russia’s salvatory role in the world.
But we can rely on the the merchants of ego in the City of London to always stoke the fires of the ego’s fear of the unconscious. Just watch any Western movie. The evil antagonist which comes from the dark forces of the fearful primitive unconscious are almost invariably Russian. This psychological reality has enormous effect on the western Mind. The west cannot stop its cold war on Russia anymore than the ego can cease its battle to subdue its own “unconscious.”
This inner psychological drama externalizes itself and manifests en mass as a global political drama. So I would argue that the real key to understanding and mastering the political issues is to understand their inner psychological causality.
I believe there is a more tangible explanation than what Jung offers.
From Lenin to Putin, Russia constantly reminds the rest of Modern Europe that “There Is An Alternative”. Russia is simultaneously European, “White” (Caucasian, literally), Christian, and yet took a different path to modernity than her European brothers. This is deeply disturbing to the Atlantic Elite which fundamentally views itself as a chosen people on a destined, singular, necessary path.
To accept Russian modernity is to accept that historical pivots from the Reformation to Global Capitalism/Imperialism and the endless sins committed in those names were unnecessary to human progress. This is a common mantra in the West; “Sure, genocide and theft and slavery and bombing is bad, but, they were and are necessary for our human progress!” Typical reactionary defenses such as racism do not work, because Russians are largely ethnically “White” Christians.
The result: a mystical and intense Russophobia that even eclipses the (first) Cold War. Bottom line, it’s a psychological defense mechanism and should be carefully observed as such. There are certainly similar psychological reactions to the realization of Confucian, Islamic (Iran), Bolivarian modernities, but it is particularly intense against Russia precisely because of the cultural similarities to Europe.
Indeed, I am seeing viscerally negative emotional responses to Putin’s manifesto from NATO lapdogs. No doubt it is partly because Putin pokes at these historical pressure-points.
Marfa – I grew up in an Eastern European country, a former communist, and I can tell you from the point of view of a simple citizen, why there is an aversion to Russia at the moment: many of the citizens of the older generations had to suffered in the immediate aftermath of World War II, following the transition from a monarchical regime, somewhat democratic to the communist Stalinist regime, a transition made with the help of Soviet troops (I emphasize Soviet). Subsequently, the communist regime tried to dissociate itself from the Stalinist extremes, but the evil was already done in the popular consciousness, with new generations taking over what I might call a deep hatred of the Soviet Union and by extension Russia. I talked to many young intellectuals in the city where I live, who did not go directly through the communist period, and I noticed the continued presence of this aversion, one of the reasons being the affiliation to an anti-Russian ideology is seen as something noble and desirable, as a necessary and absolute measure to perpetuate the dramas of the past. Obviously, this perspective is of double standards, any negative element made by any western country is not viewed at all in a critical way, but simply overlooked and any positive achievement of Russia is covered up and considered insignificant, perpetuating an idea of “west = good boys” vs “Russia = bad boys”. I am more than aware that history is written by winners and that there are many elements unknown to the general public, but in order to be able to be able to read between the lines, one should first give up the perspective I mentioned earlier, but no one wants to do that. Unfortunately, what they don’t realize is that if a Satan2 ever falls on their heads, it will be entirely their fault, not Russia’s.
So, anyone who is anti-Russia deserves to be nuked?
The owners of the printing press in London failed several times to bring that vast country under it’s joke – ALL others fell in Europe, WWI / II were extremly sucessful. Now the fortunes have changed. The parasites hoped to jump onto a new host, although the outlook is not rosy, now the printing press will destroy itself in overdrive and with it vast swathes of lands and people.
The phobias are only externalized accumulated desctructive drives, what they imagine to fight is them – watch Action -Hollywood movies – and it’s all there – a huge avalanche of pure evil destruction which expresses itself – nothing else it has to tell anymore. Putin told us that and it’s absolutly true.
The key take away paragraph for me is:
“All the subterfuges associated with the anti-Russia project are clear to us. And we will never allow our historical territories and people close to us living there to be used against Russia. And to those who will undertake such an attempt, I would like to say that this way they will destroy their own country.”
The most important question I have is “Which country is meant by ‘their own country’?” Is it in reference to Ukraine? Or, in reference to the US and/or the vassal countries?
Both, all, every country “who will undertake such an attempt”.
Putin has made it clear that the East NATO vassals are playing with fire. The Baltics, Poland, Romania, Georgia, and Ukraine, and if the Scandinavians stick their nose in the area, those also will taste the fury of the Bear.
He has said in recent speeches and interviews that most of the nations playing this game in the near Russia space have given up their sovereignty, and like good vassals obeying Washington they will take the full brunt of any military action they cause.
Russia has demonstrated in its military exercises that it intends to and is fully capable of destroying the Ukraine military and government, the eastern NATO forces, and heavily damage US assets within tactical range.
Stripped of all these proxy stooges, the US will have to choose to back off and stand down or to go nuclear, which would be the end of all civilization.
They have been warned.
“The most important question I have is “Which country is meant by ‘their own country’?” Is it in reference to Ukraine? Or, in reference to the US and/or the vassal countries?”
Apparently, all of them.
There are always exceptions to the rule, however, 75% of middle-aged to the more elderly Ukrainians will have more than a tinge of regret as to how things have panned out and Putin’s eloquent dissection of history will resonate greatly.
Unfortunately for the country I expect the younger generation ( anyway those who haven’t already fled West to menial domestic jobs ) will enjoy for a limited time their US Freedumb Fries with ketchup and gherkin covered Quarter Pounders . . . . . right up until reality dawns.
A full blown cultural vacuum is their future with Gypsy Rose Lee Nuland’s improved cookie recipe as an occasional comfort.
V.V.Putin, a scholar as well as a statesman. Above all, a builder and a force for unity.
After reading and rereading this absolutely stunning speech, it reminded me of another one, from trashy Hollywood movie.. Fictitious, but with similar emotional matrix.
Suddenly, I realized that this is not history lesson. It’s a reminder.
Especially for younger generations that are casually written off by many.
Here, minimally paraphrased it to better suit present situation:
“…I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for hundreds of years we have fought these invaders. I remember that for hundreds of years they have sent their armies to destroy us, and after a centuries of war I remember that which matters most… We are still here!!”
It is message to all Russians to fearlessly stand up and reclaim their striped rights.
It is also very serious warning to foreigners to back off.
As an American, I can tell you, there are a great many Americans who trust Putin more than Biden.
I appreciate the recognition that Putin gives to the fact that Ukraine land has been built partly by taking other people’s land as in “In 1940, the Ukrainian SSR incorporated part of Bessarabia, which had been occupied by Romania since 1918, as well as Northern Bukovina. In 1948, Zmeyiniy Island (Snake Island) in the Black Sea became part of Ukraine.”
But correct it would have been to say “re-occupied by Romania” since up to that point the Empire had Bessarabia only for 100 years, occupied by a non-Slavic population.
A very nice essay overall!
This is what President Putin wrote.
The first man of the largest country on earth with the most powerful army in the world.
This makes this article exceptional.
Another outstanding article from Vladimir Putin. The former one directed to central Europe, and now to the Ukrainian people. I would be interested to know of those who advise and support him in these, it seems he has notable support.
I can hardly believe I just read that, sit up straight now and take heed all ye on here.
Now imagine any American ruler writing an article such as this one.
Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden…. none of these US rulers would come close to penning such an analytical piece with this depth of historical knowledge.
American political leaders think and speak in soundbites, buzzwords, and catchphrases.
History is Saving Private Ryan.
Literature is Tom Clancy shtick.
Written erudition is Twitter drivel.
And oratory is the bloviations of a media talking head.
A thought exercise for all the western trolls out there.
Imagine that this was written by a Western leader detailing their nations actions over the last two hundred years.
Now, doesn’t that put things into perspective, knowing the impossibility of the task.
Disclaimer: I’m not a western troll.
IMO, it depends on the honesty of the writer as to the details, for example with what’s now become the Outlaw US Empire, where the writing’s to be done, and which leader’s writing. Lets say its an open book essay test and the writer has 90 minutes. Biden, for example, wouldn’t get very far as he can’t recall much of anything. Trump wouldn’t do much better since his essay would look like a series of tweets. Obama would fill the blue book but would likely fail because of all the historical inaccuracies he’d employ. W Bush–does he even know how to write? Bill Clinton would lie about what he sees as his accomplishments and little else. And we ought to expect the same from Pelosi, H. Clinton, Sanders, and the rest. I’ll bet none of those people knew what the big political issue was in the USA in 1821–Slavery and its expansion as the Missouri Compromise had just been arrived at and signed in 1820 and the 1820 election was essentially a one party affair as no opposition was made to James Monroe’s second term.
IMO, Mr. Putin directed his essay to three audiences: Ukrainian, Russian, and Global. Here he very explicitly details the Anti-Russian Project and what it hopes to accomplish–the eradication of Russia, Russians, and Russianness/Orthodoxy. It should also be noted that his signing of Russia’s new National Security Strategy (Only available in Russian) on 2 July–as well as the prior discussion with his National Security Group–also influenced his writing. I saw the following as the most important part of his essay, my emphasis noted with *** :
“The Western authors of the anti-Russia project set up the Ukrainian political system in such a way that presidents, members of parliament and ministers would change but the attitude of separation from and enmity with Russia would remain. Reaching peace was the main election slogan of the incumbent president. He came to power with this. The promises turned out to be lies. Nothing has changed. And in some ways the situation in Ukraine and around Donbas has even degenerated.
“***In the anti-Russia project, there is no place either for a sovereign Ukraine or for the political forces that are trying to defend its real independence***. Those who talk about reconciliation in Ukrainian society, about dialogue, about finding a way out of the current impasse are labelled as ‘pro-Russian’ agents.
“Again, for many people in Ukraine, the anti-Russia project is simply unacceptable. And there are millions of such people. But they are not allowed to raise their heads. They have had their legal opportunity to defend their point of view in fact taken away from them. They are intimidated, driven underground. Not only are they persecuted for their convictions, for the spoken word, for the open expression of their position, but they are also killed. Murderers, as a rule, go unpunished.
“Today, the ‘right’ patriot of Ukraine is only the one who hates Russia. Moreover, the entire Ukrainian statehood, as we understand it, is proposed to be further built exclusively on this idea. Hate and anger, as world history has repeatedly proved this, are a very shaky foundation for sovereignty, fraught with many serious risks and dire consequences.
“All the subterfuges associated with the anti-Russia project are clear to us. ***And we will never allow our historical territories and people close to us living there to be used against Russia. And to those who will undertake such an attempt, I would like to say that this way they will destroy their own country***.”
Do note who the emphasized section is directed at and understand it’s not Ukraine. The message is unmistakable, but I’ll make it plainer for those with weak minds: We will first destroy those who try to get us to destroy our brothers. Now that the S-500 has finished combat trials and is being deployed, Russia will soon be able to launch a decapitation strike against those running the Anti-Russian Project and defeat any counter-strikes. So cease your Machiavellian shit before you destroy yourselves. After all, who would want to live in a world without Russia?
A good historical overview from Vladimir Putin, clearly sharing Russia’s relationship intent with Ukraine. The Saker thanks for sharing this article.
Please name a nation that is 100 years old with a socioeconomic system that is sovereign, stable, and secure. The answer to this question reveals reality and summarize the history well.
Leadership is the art of looking forward. People and nations follow vision. One is not hearing vision from the Non-$ Bloc on moving forward. China and Russia need to take a lead to define the vision for the future and particularly address the global governance, monetary, economic and financial spheres. The rule of international laws, is not credible without strong prosecution and accountability. If China and Russia don’t address these dimensions for the global order they will be at a significant disadvantage, and will lose. In his Q&A session, Putin candidly stated, Russia’s “economic sovereignty is increasing.” This is great, but a nation without absolute national sovereignty.
One isn’t seeing innovation from Russia in solving its challenges. China launched its payment networks CIPS and UnionPay in early 2000 and Russia in 2015. They can learn from Empire’s ploys and outsmart it. When the Empire attacked Libya, the first thing the rebels did was create their own central bank. This way the rebels had an entity to manage oil and cash flows, so they at least had a way to take care of the long term if that’s necessary. An innovative development. Similarly, Donetsk and Lugansk, can create a branch of Ukraine’s central bank or an independent central bank, to fund their development and create a better way to live, attracting other Ukraine regions. (This is just a thought and open to learning more the monetary reality in Donetsk). Similarly, one sees Syria struggling about monetary funds for development. One isn’t seeing creative problem solving in the monetary and economic sovereignty arenas from the Non-$ Bloc.
“Money is the artery of war.”
– Peter the Great (attributed)
The Non-$ Bloc will need to defeat the Financial Empire to gain their sovereignty. How will they address this challenge?
If there are no more Donbas-like rebellions in Ukraine then President Putin is saying that Russia, respecting the will of the Ukrainian people, will not invade Ukraine to unite Malorussia and the rest of Novorussia with Russia proper. With the exception of defending Donbas Russia will not be sucked into a war that the west would like. I think he’s being realistic to say that if the non-Donbas Ukraine wants to be anti-Russian and is supported by the majority of the Ukrainian people, then so be it. Good luck to the future of Ukraine as an anti-Russian country. It will be poor, destitute and a prostitute of the west. It will become an eastern European slavic banana republic devoid of any sovereignty. If Ukraine wants to latch on to a weakening and collapsing west then so be it. However contrary to this, as he laid out brilliantly, if any historical Russian lands of Ukraine want to split off and join Russia, Putin will give it total support and defense.
Putin is a master strategist and long term thinker. He laid down the gauntlet. He’s making the case for two options.
1. The rest of Ukraine, minus Donbas, becomes for the forseeable future anti-Russia. If this has great support in the country then Putin respects that decision and will not force a change.
2. If there is a wide spread rebellion, a la Donbas, with historical Malorussia and Novorussia breaking away from Ukraine and desiring to unite with Russia, then Putin will give it support and defense.
Russia would like option 2 but in case option 1 becomes the reality then Russia can live with it. Russia does not need Ukraine for Russia to succeed. Furthermore a Ukraine totally anti-Russia will become more of a basket case which Russia wouldn’t want to touch with a ten foot pole. Then good riddance. Russia’s got better things to do. Anyhow all the best talent of both Russians and Ukrainians will leave Ukraine and live in Russia. Russia will continue to inherit talented Russian-speaking people of Ukraine and will benefit greatly for it. Russia can always use more people with highly developed skills. Russia’s demographic situation will improve. Ukraine will be sucked dry of talent and good people and so the only ones left will be the bottom of the barrel. Then Russia will say to Ukraine, you can keep your country. Russia doesn’t need any more land. One way or the other large parts of Ukraine will unite with Russia either by breaking away from Ukraine or having the fascists of Ukraine forcing Russian speakers to leave Ukraine.
So how has Putin’s perennial haters interpreted his words?
Same as always. More hate and FUD.
Bill Browder hasn’t twatted (yet). But his timeline is fascinating.
Who knew he was instigating a Magnitsky Act in Australia and NZ?
After the Napoleonic Wars, The king and the Aristocracy of Britain and the City of London began to see Russia as their main strategic opponent. Thus the spreading of anti-Russian narratives in all crocks and corners througout the World. Even more so by the time the Brits decided to help The Ottoman Empire retake Krimea. Then putting up Trotzky and Stalin as the devils of The Evil Empire. And so it now continues too!
An incredibly detailed and balanced historical survey. In my six decades of life in the USA i cannot think of a single American politician at any level who could have come up with something of this calibre.
President Putin has presented a very well-argued and temperate position paper, not an attempt at objective history. Its main positive feature is likely to be restraint of China, in particular the mad threat to eliminate non-nuclear Japan by a nuclear first strike, if Japan gives military assistance to Taiwan in the event of a mainland invasion. If the Ukraine and Formosa can be linked in propaganda, then it is in everyone’s interest to give Russia what it wants in Ukraine, so that it can restrain China over Taiwan.
Apparently during the Putin family’s time in Dresden, the language in the home was German, and Putin seems to use the Hegelian idea of Volksgeist in his idea of nationality: nations are landrace peoples who have absorbed the cultural influences of their surroundings in some sort of mystical osmosis (Hegel was a vitalist). We should remember that when Putin was in high school, Soviet genetics was still under the heel of Trofim Lysenko, who supported the inheritance of acquired characteristics as compatible with the Hegelian dialectic, rather than the Darwinian idea of random mutations, followed by natural selection. Lysenko’s initial work may have been honest (“vernalisation” – the encouragement of early growth and flowering by cooling the seed over the winter – is a typical epigenetic process involving histone acetylation and other transient changes in the DNA, but not sequence. Especially in plants, epigenetic changes can indeed be transmitted for a couple of generations). However, Lysenko did not stop there, and used Stalin’s Terror to eliminate his scientific opponents.
The automation of DNA sequencing in the last few decades has made it possible to dismiss the “Volksgeist” idea, and any major connection between language and genetic origin. In Western Europe this has been half-accepted for many years, but some very important work has shown that in general, genetic differences in Europe correlate with physical distance and very little else (J. Novembre et al., Nature 456, 98-101 (2008)). In the same year, Slav DNA polymorphisms were claimed in the mummified corpse of St Istvan, the patron saint of Hungary. Particularly important politically was the discovery by Martin Carr, Martin Richards et al. that the mitochondrial (not nuclear) DNA of Ashkenazi Jews was predominantly of East-Central European origin in accord with the Novembre et al model. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited exclusively from the mother (like Judaism). Important to the study, but hidden in the experimental, was the source of the tissue from which DNA was extracted, placentas (afterbirths), genetically identical to the baby but usually discarded. There had been genetic studies of Ashkenazim previously, which were potentially compromised by sample selection: blond, blue-eyed Zionists would hardly step forward to have their DNA analysed, even if they were asked. (M. D. Costa et al, Nature Communications 2013 (ncomms 3543).
With nationality largely culturally determined, I don’t think Russia has made enough fuss about the Ukrainian school system teaching only in Ukrainian. It is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, which asserts that children should be taught in the language of their parents, and is pure viciousness.
Well put. Kiev is a vicious regime. Spite is their modus operandi… and shuffling for the massa from the west, even if so doing shoots Ukraine in the foot.
What bothers me is that nobody talks to western Ukrainians. Kiev does not represent them. Neither does the Russian east. It would be nice if somebody finally listened to the Rusins, for example. And by the by, they were forced to join the Soviets by a fraudulent election.
WHAT? There was no concentration camp at Terezin till the Nazis built one. The Sputnik web site even illustrates the article by WWII remains of the camps. This is nuts.
Maybe some uppity Galicians were imprisoned in Terezin during WWI, which was built by Joseph II as a garrison town. As likely to be imprisoned there as anywhere else in the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Reading this, I am thinking, what’s the point? Everybody nowadays spews spin and garbage. Doesn’t Putin have people to doublecheck the details?
You are incorrect,you need to read more on the subject. You can start here.
Your article does not mention Terezin or Teresienstadt once. I am not disputing that the prison in Terezin may not have had prisoners from Galicia. I am disputing there was in WWI a concentration camp there. The Sputnik website illustrates the article by a picture of Terezin camp built by the Nazis, with Arbeit Macht Frei above the gate. This is bogus.
A beautiful piece of work by a master. This man has as much soul as he has craftsmanship.
The same things return, in new clours and new names, but still the same things at base. President Putin’s article makes it abundantly clear that the Ukraine’s origins are essentially Russian. I wonder if the State Institute of International Relations’ history department helped a bit.
C’est en Anglais et pour moi,incomprehensible alors que je suis curieux de le lire
It’s in English and for me incomprehensible while I’m curious to read it
The Truth – very rare to come so profoundly accurate and proven (!) by a politician – in such case, Vladimir Putin, one of the greatest of the modern times.